Hezbollah says Canada was duped into calling them terrorists
OTTAWA - CBC - 12 Dec- Hezbollah says it has been the victim of a propaganda campaign and Canada made a mistake in listing it as a terrorist organization.
Until Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham had resisted
adding the organization to a list of terrorist groups, saying the
social arm of Hezbollah was a legitimate charity.
He said he changed his mind after hearing media reports of the group's
leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, urging Palestinians to expand their
suicide bombings worldwide.
But those reports have not been confirmed. CBC TV reported
Wednesday that a pro-Israeli freelance journalist based in London*
likely invented the remarks.
Hezbollah said Canada has fallen for a disinformation campaign run out
of Israel, and the decision to list the organization as a terrorist
group may hurt Canada's image in the Arab world.
Solicitor-General Wayne Easter said the decision to ban donations to
Hezbollah was based only partly on Sheik Nasrallah's alleged comments.
"The decision we made, and why it takes so long to make it, is that we
base that decision on criminal, security intelligence reports that we
can back up factually," Easter said.
Hezbollah portrayed differently in West, Middle East
Within Lebanon, Hezbollah is a heroic resistance movement. To the Bush
administration, it is the "A-team of terror."
Lebanese newspaper columnist Ibrahim al-Mousawi said the group was
born out of Israel's 1982 invasion, which killed nearly 20,000**
"Hizbollah started resisting this invasion just like any people that
defend their country and their people. This resistance is depicted as
terrorism by the Americans and the Israelis, and I would be very sorry
to hear the Canadians using the same language," he said.
The group fought the Israelis until they left Lebanon two years ago.
Today Hezbollah is a political party that holds 12 seats in Lebanon's
parliament. It also runs schools, hospitals and social services.
Senior Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Izz el-Dine said the organization
has no quarrel with the West.
Hezbollah works inside Lebanon to resist the Israeli occupation to
get them out of the country. Hizbollah defends its land, its people,
its independence, and Hizbollah does not have any branches outside
Lebanon," he said.
Sheikh Izz el-Dine said the spin campaign against Hezbollah is
designed to provide Israel with an excuse for another invasion of
He said the invasion would coincide with an American attack on Iraq.