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Australian Government should help Lebanese people, but not Hezbollah

Aug 10, 2020

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The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) applauds Australia’s commitment to helping the people of Lebanon rebuild after last week’s devastating explosion.

AIJAC executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said: “With Lebanon already experiencing significant economic challenges, and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Australia’s $5 million contribution to the World Food Program, UNICEF and the Red Cross will alleviate some of the suffering of Beirut residents.”

However, AIJAC urges the Australian Government to emphasise, in all its conversations on Lebanon, the importance of political reform.

“Lebanon’s challenges are complex, but at their root is the oversized influence of Iran-sponsored Hezbollah, and the corrupt, ineffective governance that this influence helps foster,” Dr Rubenstein said.

“Reports have suggested that Australia may provide additional financial aid to Lebanon in coming weeks. Once the initial humanitarian crisis is addressed, further aid must be contingent on political reform in Lebanon.”

“These reforms must exclude Hezbollah from mainstream Lebanese politics until the group renounces terrorism, demilitarises, and its leader Hassan Nasrallah renounces the group’s public plans to bomb Israel into non-existence.

“Hezbollah is recognised by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, among numerous other nations, as a terrorist organisation. The Morrison Government has recently been urged to follow its Five Eyes partners and extend Australia’s terrorist listing of one sub-sector of the group to include Hezbollah in its entirety.”

“The victims of the Beirut blast deserve Australia’s support, but Hezbollah does not ,” Dr Rubenstein added.

Hezbollah, which holds enough seats to be kingmaker in Lebanon’s current parliament, maintains a dangerous militia that is not only responsible for a great deal of international terrorism, but is powerful enough to dominate Lebanon through intimidation. That militia is required, by a series of binding UN Security Council resolutions, to be dismantled.

Hezbollah admits to perpetrating deadly terrorist attacks around the world that have killed scores of innocent people from Argentina to Bulgaria, and has an estimated 150,000 missiles currently directed at Israeli towns and cities.

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