Switzerland could move to ban the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, following a similar decision taken by its neighbor, Germany, The Jerusalem Post reported Saturday.
The Federal Council of Switzerland, the collective head of state in the country, has agreed to review a new application entitled ‘Report on the activities of the Shi’ite Islamist Hezbollah in Switzerland.’ The new law could lead to the organization being banned from Switzerland, with its access to bank accounts and assets seized and frozen within the country.
“On April 30, 2020, Germany banned all activities of the Shi'ite Islamist Hezbollah. Germany justified the decision with the fact that Hezbollah is calling for armed struggle and rejecting Israel's right to exist,” the initiative read, the Post reported.
Hezbollah has said its role in southern Lebanon is that of resistance against the state of Israel, and the militant group and Israel often engage in cross-border disputes.
On Saturday, Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone in Lebanese airspace. The last war fought between the entities was in 2006.
Marianne Binder, a politician of the Christian Democratic People’s Party of Switzerland, launched the initiative in June.
While the European Union has previously banned the military arm of Hezbollah in 2013, the initiative is calling for an outright ban on the entire organization. Hezbollah’s political arm remains active in some European countries.
“The EU previously banned the [military] arm that engaged in terrorist activities. It is not known which activities Hezbollah is developing in Switzerland. In view of the neutrality of Switzerland, however, the activities of Hezbollah cannot be legitimized and a report is also advisable for reasons of security policy,” the document continued, according to the Post.
The UK, Lithuania and the Netherlands have all already banned the entire organization, joined by Germany earlier this year. The US, the Arab League and other countries also designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
The terrorist group cum political party is also a proxy group of Iran, and while it was initially created as a bulwark against Israel in the early 1980s, it has sown chaos across the region from Lebanon to Iraq and Syria.