Germany labeled the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah a terrorist organization today in a move that Israel hopes will cause Europe to follow suit.
The top German diplomat said that Hezbollah’s violent activity and threats to Israel were the reasons behind the declaration.
“Hezbollah denies Israel’s right to exist, threatens with violence and terror, and massively upgrades its rocket arsenal,” said Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas in a statement. “It is important that Germany exhausts the means of the rule of law to take action against criminal and terrorist activities of Hezbollah,” he said.
The decision means that all Hezbollah activity is now banned in Germany and comes after years of pressure from the United States and Israel. German authorities raided mosques on Thursday believed to be connected to the group. Hezbollah symbols are henceforth banned at gatherings, in published materials and in the media, and its assets in Germany can be confiscated, according to The New York Times.
Israel rejoiced at the move and declared its desire for other European Union (EU) states to join Germany.