US says Hezbollah works for the Iranian regime, not the Lebanese people

The European Union should follow the German parliament’s lead and recognize Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, said Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany. (File/AP)
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Updated 23 January 2020

US says Hezbollah works for the Iranian regime, not the Lebanese people

  • The EU lists Hezbollah’s military wing as a banned terrorist group
  • Pompeo last week called on ‘all nations’ to classify Hezbollah as

LONDON: Hezbollah works for the Iranian regime and not the Lebanese people, a senior US diplomat said as he urged European countries to impose an outright ban on the group.
Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany, made the plea as Lebanon formed a new government made up of ministers nominated by the militant, Iran-backed organization and its allies
The European Union lists Hezbollah’s military wing as a banned terrorist group, but not its political wing, which has been part of Lebanese governments in recent years.
“The EU thus maintains an artificial distinction between Hezbollah’s ‘political wing’ and ‘military wing,’ a division the terror group itself does not recognize,” Grenell said in an opinion article published by Politico.
“The EU’s stated intent for creating this false distinction is to preserve an open channel with Hezbollah and its representatives in the Lebanese government,” he added.
“An EU-wide designation of Hezbollah is necessary to deny it the vast European recruiting and fundraising networks it needs to survive.”

Grenell said the German parliament last month called on the government to ban the activities of Hezbollah and for the group to be put on the EU’s terrorist list.
The entire Hezbollah organization is designated as a terrorist group by the US, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Gulf states among others.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week called on “all nations” to classify Hezbollah as 
terrorist after the UK said it had added the entire movement to its terrorism blacklist and frozen all its assets.
“Designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization does no harm to US-Lebanese relations, but it does empower the US to disrupt the international criminal networks that help fund Hezbollah’s support for the (Syrian President Bashar) Assad regime and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” he said.
Hezbollah’s large role in the formation of Lebanon’s new government under Prime Minister Hassan Diab is expected to raise concerns over the scale of the group’s hold over the country. The cabinet formed under Prime Minister Hassan Diab is facing mass protests and a dire economic crisis.
Grenell said EU states struggle to reach a consensus on “Hezbollah’s legitimacy due to its political role in Lebanon.”
Washington is “resolute in its efforts to stop the spread of Hezbollah’s terror, but we cannot contain the threat on our own,” he said.

Palestinian couple to wed after groom’s 18-year Israeli jail term

Updated 15 min 8 sec ago

Palestinian couple to wed after groom’s 18-year Israeli jail term

  • I never lost hope that our love would triumph in the end ... My story is one of thousands like it of women who suffer from the oppression of the occupation: Palestinian bride Jinan Samara

WEST BANK: When Palestinian bride Jinan Samara dons her wedding dress on Friday to marry Abdel Karim Mukhader, it will mark a ceremony of mixed emotions that has been forcibly put on hold for 18 years.

For on Sunday, her groom was finally released from a prison sentence imposed under the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Mukhader, 49, was aged just 31 when he was jailed, but his love for Samara has only grown stronger during his long years behind bars.

And his new wife-to-be was waiting at the Jalamah Israeli military checkpoint to greet him with a bouquet of flowers and a fond embrace after his release from the Majiddo detention center in the occupied West Bank.

“I never lost hope that our love would triumph in the end. I did not hesitate for a moment in deciding to be patient and wait for him, and my family did not interfere in my decision, but encouraged and supported me,” Samara told Arab News.

“My story is one of thousands like it of women who suffer from the oppression of the occupation. In many homes, there is a wife or mother of a martyr or a prisoner,” she added.

Throughout her fiance’s imprisonment, Samara, an educational supervisor at Ministry of Education schools in the central West Bank city of Salfit, visited him whenever Israeli authorities allowed and helped him with university studies.

Thanks to her encouragement, Mukhader gained a master’s degree in Israeli studies, through Al-Quds University.

On his first night of freedom in 18 years, the couple stayed awake planning their wedding. “We want to use every minute to be together in our house after years of distancing and deprivation,” Samara said.

Mukhader said he would never forget his fiancee’s years of devotion and sacrifice. “If I offered her the world with what it contained, I would not fulfill her right. Palestinian women are always side by side with men paying the tax of occupation and injustice.

“But despite my joy in freedom and meeting Jinan and my loved ones, my heart is still with thousands of prisoners, my colleagues, who suffer oppression and injustice in the prisons of the occupation,” he added.

There are reportedly around 5,000 Palestinian detainees currently being held in Israeli jails, among them women and children, and Mukhader noted that conditions for inmates had worsened since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

“The embrace of freedom again and liberation from the occupation prisons represents a new birth certificate for any prisoner,” he said. “Prisons are like graves, and time inside is slow and heavy. With the passage of years, the prisoner loses the ability to perceive the value of minutes and hours.”

He said his worst moment in jail was when he received news of his mother’s death. “I felt that the prison bars were being applied roughly to my heart.”

Once married, Mukhader plans to complete his higher studies and obtain a doctorate in political economy, before fighting for the freedom of former prison colleagues.