Arab MKs condemn Gulf ‘terror’ labeling of Hezbollah

Israeli Arab parties Balad and Hadash, who are part of the Joint Arab List, slammed Monday the decision of the Gulf Cooperation Council to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

“Hezbollah fights against Israeli attacks on Lebanon, and this decision only serves the interests of Israel and the US,” a Balad spokesperson said.


Balad officials explained that they view the decision by the interior ministers of the GCC as dangerous because they are fueling the Sunni-Shia conflict, and, as they put it, adding fuel to the fire of this bloody conflict. Furthermore, the Balad officials claimed, the decision serves to widen the sectarian divisions in Lebanon, Syria, and the wider Arab world.

They also said that “the party doesn’t believe that it is correct to tag Hezbollah – an organization which represents a large part of the Lebanese nation – as a terrorist organization, despite criticism over its participation in the fighting in Syria.”

The GCC officially decided to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization last Wednesday.

“This is a militia. The incitement and terror which Hezbollah perpetrates in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq go against moral and human values,” said GCC Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani

The gulf countries have warned in the past of their intentions to brand Hezbollah a terror organization, but the decision to do so now will give them more freedom of operation vis-à-vis Hezbollah, and they will be able to operate against them more aggressively than before.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by asking how they would respond when Hezbollah fires rockets at their communities.

Avigdor Liberman, Yisrael Beytenu Chairman, attacked Balad and Hadash’s statement. “This is more than absurd, and only proves again that with every day that passes in which this group of terrorists continues to sit in the Knesset, it is a disgrace to Israeli democracy. It is now clear that the Joint Arab List not only represents the most extreme fringes of Israeli-Arab society, but also the most extreme fringes of Arab society in general.”


Liberman went on to say that “instead of (Prime Minister) Netanyahu dealing with the suspension bill, which has no real value, he should support the laws which Yisrael Beytenu put forth, thereby getting rid of these traitors, and making them sit in jail where they belong, as opposed to sitting in the Knesset.”

Transportation Minister Yisral Katz (Likud) requested the Knesset Ethics Committee to examine Balad and Hadash’s statement. “It is simply unbelievable that these members of the Israeli Knesset are sabotaging the interests of Israel. I call on Ayman Odeh and Jamal Zahalka to join Azmi Bishara in Qatar or Syria. Those are the places for these traitors,” Katz said.

Chairman of the Knesset House Committee, David Bitan (Likud), also attacked the condemnation. “There’s nothing left to do but regret the fact that the High Court of Justice did not disqualify Balad from being able to stand in the elections,” Bitan said, and added that he will consider asking the Attorney General to examine whether or not the statements support terror.