Lebanon summons German envoy to protest blacklisting of Hezbollah

Press TV – Lebanon has summoned German ambassador to protest Berlin’s recent decision to blacklist the Hezbollah resistance movement, a highly popular political and defense force in the Arab country.

Berlin on Thursday designated Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization,” banned all its activities in the European country and ordered raids on sites police claimed were linked to the movement.

Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti summoned Georg Birgelen on Tuesday, demanding clarification over Germany’s new decision regarding Hezbollah, according to Lebanese news website al-Ahed.

The German diplomat claimed that Germany had not designated Hezbollah as a “terror” organization, but had merely banned its activities on the European country’s soil.

He said Germany had made the decision a while ago, “but it has only recently come into force.”

“Germany did not classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, but rather prohibited its activities on German territories,” Birgelen claimed.

Hitti highlighted Hezbollah’s key role in the country’s political arena, saying the group represents “a wide segment of the Lebanese people and parliament.”

In a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Monday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, roundly denounced Germany’s decision to ban the movement, saying the move had been taken under pressure from Israel and the United States.

He added that Berlin follows what Washington and Tel Aviv dictate to it in their radical rhetoric against Hezbollah, adding that the German government’s accusations of Hezbollah “promoting armed struggle through terrorist means” are totally baseless.

Nasrallah then called upon the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants to protect the resistance movement against the ban.

Citing unnamed Israeli officials, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported Saturday that Mossad spy agency had provided the Germans with information on Hezbollah’s activities on its soil.

The report said that Mossad had carried out a months-long delicate operation to assess the movement’s operations in Germany and presented its findings to German intelligence and law agencies.

On Thursday, Israel praised Germany’s “very important” decision.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also welcomed the decision, calling on “all peace-loving” countries’ to follow suit.

Iran, Syria, Yemen, Palestinians and Iraqis, however, condemned the blacklisting, saying it had been the result of pressure by the US and Israel.

Israel and the United States had been pushing Berlin for long to ban the resistance movement, which is credited with helping defeat the most violent Takfiri and other terrorist groups in Syria and driving out Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.

The resistance movement’s popularity for shattering Israel’s myth of invincibility in the Arab public opinion has worried Israel and the West.

Its military engagement in the Syria war has also turned it into a seasoned force, with many Western observers describing Hezbollah as the most powerful Arab army.