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  • Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu acclaimed Paraguay’s decision.

    Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu acclaimed Paraguay’s decision. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 August 2019

Both groups continue to be condemned to ostracism by Israel, the U.S., and Europe.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Paraguay’s decision Monday to label Palestinian organization Hamas and Lebanese militant group and political party Hezbollah, as “international terrorist organizations,” a move that comes shortly after Argentina first blacklisted Hezbollah.

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"I welcome the decision of Paraguayan President Mario Abdo to define Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations," Netanyahu said in a statement  before he added that Israel is "working so that more countries will also take this important step."

Paraguay announced its decision on Monday to designate the Lebanese group, along with the political faction of Hamas that governs Gaza in Palestine, as terrorist groups. The South American country’s presidency detailed that Hamas and Hezbollah will be ranked "international terrorist organizations" and al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group "global terrorist organizations". The difference between the labels was not made clear.

 President of the Republic [of Paraguay] Mario Abdo resolved to recognize ISIS and Al Qaeda as global terrorist organizations and Hamas and Hezbollah as international terrorist organizations.
 

With this resolution, the country "recognizes and reaffirms its commitment to redouble efforts to prevent and combat violent extremism", the presidency stated.

Several states have already listed both groups as terrorists, among them Israel, the United States, and Canada. Washington designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997. However, the U.S. has been recently leading a fierce campaign in the backdrop of its warmongering against Iran and has been pushing more and more countries to designate the Hezbollah (which is backed by Iran) as a terrorist group.

Argentina was the first Latin American country to take the step, gaining recognition from Washington's neoconservatives,  including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Following Argentina’s move, a group of Republican lawmakers called on Pompeo to pressure Brazil and Paraguay to act the same and to designate Hezbollah.

“Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay are in a unique position to take meaningful strides in the fight against terrorism at the hands of Hezbollah," said Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn in a statement at the time.

"We must recommit to ensuring that Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies are denied the resources they need to escalate their campaign of global terrorism," added Ted Cruz, another Republican senator and co-signatory of the letter to Pompeo.

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Hezbollah and Hamas leaders say their movements are resistance movements. The Palestine Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) was created out of the military occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza, while the Lebanese Party of God (Hezbollah) rose to oppose the presence of Israel in the south of Lebanon.

The pressure exercised on Israel to leave the south of Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005) produced massive popular support which resulted in victories in both municipal and national elections. Both armed groups shifted since then towards increasingly passive policies, though at the same time they continue to be condemned to ostracism by Israel, the U.S. and Europe.

Last month, Trump's administration imposed sanctions on Hezbollah political officials, including members of the Lebanese parliament, accusing the group of threatening the "economic stability and security of Lebanon and the wider region."

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