The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has recommended that the Australian government consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.
In a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s Review of the Re-listing of Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation, AIJAC’s Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM pointed out that Australia views Hezbollah’s ‘External Security Organisation’ a terrorist group, but does not view the internal wing of Hezbollah in the same way. Dr. Rubenstein urged the Joint Committee to remedy this.
Three reasons were given as the basis of Dr. Rubenstein’s suggestions. These were:
• The Hezbollah leadership makes no distinction between its political and military wings (indeed, it has explicitly said on numerous occasions that there is no difference);
• Even if there were such a distinction, the political leadership of Hezbollah has undertaken numerous actions and made numerous statements that fit the Australian legal definition of a terrorist organisation and an organisation that advocates terrorism; and
• Since it is already illegal under Australian law to fund any part of Hezbollah, because of the likelihood those funds will go towards terrorism, Australia already de facto considers the entire Hezbollah organisation a terrorist organisation, and should list it as such.
AIJAC’s eight-page submission provided extensive evidence supporting these claims.
The Joint Committee tabled its recommendation on Thursday, June 25. Its sole recommendation was that the External Security Organisation remains listed as a terrorist organisation. The Joint Committee’s report can be viewed on the Australian Parliament House website, www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/pjcis/hizballah_eso/report.htm
Dr. Rubenstein said in reaction, “Hezbollah is a terrorist group that has undertaken terrorist activities in Lebanon and beyond. The organisation’s leadership has explicitly ruled out any distinction between its external and internal wings, and between its political and military wings. Australian law already prevents funding any part of Hezbollah, because of this knowledge. As such, Australia already de facto considers the entire Hezbollah apparatus a terrorist organisation. This should be remedied. While I’m disappointed the Joint Committee made no such recommendation, I call on the Attorney-General to begin the process of correcting this illogical loophole in Australian law.”
In comments to Parliament on Thursday, June 25, former Attorney-General Philip Ruddock praised AIJAC’s submission to the Joint Committee and said although the Committee had “at this time” decided not to accept all of AIJAC’s recommendations, he encouraged the submission to the government of further evidence to support the recommendations in AIJAC’s submission.
AIJAC’s submission to the Joint Committee is available on the Australian Parliament House website, www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/pjcis/hizballah_eso/subs/sub6.pdf, or by contacting AIJAC on 03-9861-6660. Dr. Rubenstein can be contacted for further comment on the same phone number, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.