Lebanon, Palestinian groups rap Arab League for labeling Hezbollah
The Lebanese government and Palestinian resistance forces have strongly condemned a decision by the Arab League to designate the Hezbollah resistance movement as a terrorist organization.
Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in a statement that he had refused to list Hezbollah as a terror group as it was a “fundamental component of the Lebanese state.”
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit announced at a media conference in Cairo on Sunday that Arab states agreed to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, adding that he would not “rule out going to the United Nations Security Council as a next step.”
Lebanon’s representative to the Arab League, Antoine Azzam, rejected the statement, saying Hezbollah represents a large part of the Lebanese people. He said the resistance group has representatives in the Lebanese parliament.
Lebanon abstained from Sunday’s communiqué that labeled Hezbollah as a terror group. Iraq also expressed reservations about the designation.
The details of the resolution were not made public. However, media reports said the only concrete measure from the meeting was for Arab telecommunications satellites to ban Iranian-financed stations for allegedly posing a threat to Arab security.
Palestinian resistance groups also denounced the Arab League’s decision, saying it serves the interests of Israel and the US and aims to satisfy the Saudi regime.
The alliance of the Palestinian resistance forces described the decision as “dangerous”, stressing that “Hezbollah represents the most important resistance force against Israel and terrorism.”
The decision was issued during an emergency Arab League summit, which Saudi Arabia called to discuss “confronting” Iran and Hezbollah.
Riyadh associates Hezbollah with Iran, and has been trying to weaken the resistance movement which is Lebanon’s de facto deterrent force against any Israeli aggression.
Hezbollah, both a military force and a political movement, is part of a Lebanese government made up of rival factions.
The Saudi request for the Arab League meeting “was based on a missile it says its air defenses intercepted near Riyadh after being fired from Yemen on November 4,” according to a document seen by AFP last week.
Saudi Arabia has claimed that the missile had been manufactured in Iran but Tehran has vehemently rejected the allegation.