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Austria has become the latest country to ban Lebanon‘s Iran-backed Hezbollah in its entirety, rather than just its military wing.
“This is a very clear signal. This step reflects reality: The group itself makes no distinction between the military and political arm,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
Schallenberg went on to say that Hezbollah “is a serious threat to the stability in the region and to the security of Israel,” adding that “Israel‘s right to exist must not be questioned.”
Currently, the European Union (EU) has designated Hezbollah‘s military wing, not its political wing, which countries argue are inseparable.
Austria joins other European countries that have designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization with stricter designations than those issued by the EU such as Estonia, Germany, and The Netherlands.
The decision comes at a time when conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians have intensified into violence after Israeli settlers forcibly expelled Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
Australia has also decided this week to reconsider its stance on Hezbollah, after the United States sanctioned 7 Lebanese for links to Hezbollah and its financial institution Al-Qard Al-Hassan.