Hezbollah members march in a funeral of five fallen colleagues in the ongoing battles in the Syrian province of Idlib on 1 March 2020 (Photo Credit: Marwan Naamani via Getty Images)
In November, Switzerland concluded its two-year-long investigation into the Lebanese resistance group, Hezbollah, and decided against banning the group’s activities or treating it as a terrorist organization.
In a report published by Swiss Info TV, it was concluded that Hezbollah is not taking advantage of the country’s financial sector for fundraising activities, nor is it laundering illegal funds that would be used to support its military wing.
The report indicates that despite the existence of few individuals that could be considered close, either politically or through family ties, to Hezbollah, no evidence was found of any activity done on behalf of the group.
Additionally, the investigation concludes that the religious centers affiliated ideologically with Hezbollah are very few and their fundraising activities are limited to keep those centers running. No recruitment of members is taking place, limiting the sermons to anti-Israeli rhetoric.
Regarding the security situation, the investigation concluded that the threat posed by Hezbollah to Switzerland is very low, both politically and security-wise. It adds that Switzerland is unlikely to be Hezbollah’s first pick to carry out such operations.
The report goes on to express how a ban on the group would impair the country’s humanitarian engagement in Lebanon and could damage Switzerland’s credibility as a neutral country.
According to the Lebanese daily newspaper Al-Akhbar, the report includes a general overview of the history of Hezbollah, its social and economic activities to assist the Shia Muslim community in Lebanon, and an insight into its ideological growth to adapt to the changes in the world.
The newspaper adds that the Swiss investigation almost justified Hezbollah’s reasons for resistance in south Lebanon, understanding it better than many Lebanese.
Earlier in 2020, in the wake of the German decision to label Hezbollah in its entirety a terrorist organization, following immense pressure from Israel, Switzerland launched an investigation to assess its standpoint on the matter.
The initiative was launched in June 2020 by Marianne Binder from the Christian Democratic People’s Party of Switzerland and was submitted to the Federal Council of Switzerland.
“On 30 April 2020, Germany banned all activities of Hezbollah. Germany justified the decision with the fact that Hezbollah is calling for armed struggle and rejecting Israel’s right to exist,” the initiative reads.
Binder’s application, titled ‘Report on the activities of the Shia Islamist Hezbollah in Switzerland,’ intended to launch a nationwide investigation into the activities of the group in the country, both public and secret, and assess the level of threat it presents to Europe.
Based on the outcome, the application would have turned into a law that would ban Hezbollah from the country, label its political wing as a terrorist organization, and forfeit any property, wealth, or bank accounts affiliated with the organization.
“The EU previously banned the armed wing that engaged in terrorist activities. It is not known which activities Hezbollah is developing in Switzerland,” added the initiative.