Shift in Policy – Arab League Ceases Labeling Hezbollah ‘Terrorist Organization’

Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League. (Photo: Hennemuth / MSC, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Member states have now agreed to refrain from using this classification, allowing for renewed dialogue with Hezbollah.

Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League, announced a significant policy shift regarding Hezbollah during a televised statement to Cairo News Channel after his recent visit to Beirut, Lebanon.

Zaki clarified that the Arab League had previously classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which led to severed communications with the group. However, member states have now agreed to refrain from using this classification, allowing for renewed dialogue with Hezbollah.

He emphasized that the Arab League does not maintain official terrorist lists and does not engage in categorizing entities as terrorist organizations.

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The League’s decision to label Hezbollah as a terrorist group in March 2016 had been met with objections from Lebanon and Iraq. 

At that time, the League had called on Hezbollah to cease promoting extremism and sectarianism, refrain from interfering in domestic affairs of other countries, and stop supporting terrorism in the region.

In a related development, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on Zaki’s visit to Beirut, where he met with Muhammad Raad, head of Hezbollah’s ‘Loyalty to the Resistance’ bloc. This meeting marked the first of its kind in over a decade.

During his visit, Zaki also held discussions with key Lebanese officials including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Army Commander Brigadier General Joseph Aoun, as outlined in the Arab League’s statement.

The discussions primarily focused on de-escalating tensions with Israel in southern Lebanon. They also addressed efforts to resolve the presidential vacancy in Lebanon, which has persisted for over 19 months.

These developments unfold amid heightened hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel since the onset of the Gaza war. 

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Heightened Tensions

Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, on October 7, the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has engaged directly, but relatively in a limited way in the war against the Israeli occupation.

According to Hezbollah sources, the movement has carried out 1,194 military operations in the first 250 days of war, killing and wounding over 2,000 Israeli soldiers.

Israel has occupied parts of Lebanon for decades and has only left the country in 2000, following stiff Lebanese resistance under Hezbollah’s leadership. 

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It attempted to re-occupy Lebanon in 2006 but failed in what Lebanon considers a major victory against Israel. 

Israel, however, continues to occupy parts of Lebanon, namely the Sheeba Farms region.

Hezbollah has vowed to recover every inch of Lebanon that has been occupied by Israel contrary to international law.


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1 Comment

  1. Well, it’s a start. Next would be to stop calling Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and similar organizations – such as the one Ahmed Zaoui of Algeria represented in a parliamentary election – terrorists. That would free up a lot of things.

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