Netanyahu praises GCC blacklisting of Hezbollah

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised a decision by Persian Gulf Arab states to blacklist Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement.

Netanyahu said on Monday the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s designation was an “important” and “even amazing” development.

Last week, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates branded Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization.”

Netanyahu said measures as such by the group “have great potential to change the diplomatic reality in the region.”

However, he lashed out at Hadash and Balad, two Arab parties in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), for criticizing the blacklisting of Hezbollah.

A Balad source had earlier slammed the GCC move against Hezbollah, saying the movement “represents a large part of the Lebanese people” and the listing was “dangerous” as it would fuel crises in the region.

Hadash also said the GCC move served the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and was a proof that the Persian Gulf states were “siding with colonialism and Zionism against the interests of Arab nations.”

“What is equally amazing is that two parties in the Knesset criticized” Hezbollah’s terror tag, said Netanyahu, adding, “Have you gone crazy?”

The GCC decision has been harshly criticized by senior Lebanese officials and regional nations.

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on Monday praised Hezbollah as “an essential political component in the country” which “resisted in the face of the Israeli enemy.”

The resistance movement is credited with driving Israeli troops out of southern Lebanon and defeating them in subsequent wars. 

Tunisia and Algeria have also renounced the GCC blacklisting of Hezbollah while Iran, Syria, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement as well as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement have repudiated it. 

The listing came in the wake of recent Saudi pressures on Yemen. 

Last month, Saudi Arabia said it had suspended $4 billion in aid to Lebanese armed forces. It also banned its citizens from traveling to Lebanon and imposed sanctions on the country.

The decision followed recent victories by the Syrian army, which is backed by Hezbollah in its battle against Takfiri militants fighting to topple the Syrian government.

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