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South Lebanon laughs off EU decision to blacklist Hezbollah

Published: Updated:

The EU’s decision to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization has failed to ruffle the feathers of the residents of south Lebanon, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported on Wednesday.

“All the roosters want to rule the barnyard,” Hajj Ahmad Saleh, a resident of Ramya, a town in south Lebanon, told the newspaper.

“The whole world had already said their piece about Hezbollah, so the European Union had to chime in.”

South Lebanon has traditionally been a Hezbollah stronghold. On the road from Khiam to Marjayoun, which is patrolled by soldiers from United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] as part of its monitoring of the border with Israel, Hezbollah flags and images of Nasrallah are hard to ignore.

A farmer from the south, Hajj Jamil Hamdan, mocked the announcement.

“Poor European Union,” he said.

“Hezbollah is a resistance movement. What is resistance in the eyes of the French? Is defending your land terrorism? If it weren’t for Hezbollah, we wouldn’t be farming here; we’d be in our graves,” he told The Daily Star.

Fatima Sheet, a villager from the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kilan, said that the EU should “soak their decision in water and drink it.”

This reflected the sentiment of Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah, who used a common Arabic phrase for describing something pointless, saying the EU ‘might as well tile the sea’, The Daily Star reported.

“The leader of the resistance said it and I’ll say it again: This decision is meaningless. Is it wise to issue this decision when most of the UNIFIL soldiers are European? Do they want us to throw them out? We would not do so because we are generous and they protect us,” Sheet added.

Mohammad Awada, a young man from Khiam, told The Daily Star that jokes had circulated through text messages and social media that members of Hezbollah had run away from their villages in fear after the European Union’s statement.

“It’s a joke – a stupid one,” he told the newspaper. “There is no such thing as the military wing of Hezbollah. There is Hezbollah and there is the resistance, but everyone works under the name of Hezbollah.”

Others saw the decision as a sign of desperation, or even an “Israeli-American” move, The Daily Star reported.