Last updated on: 5/29/2012 12:56:44 PM PST

Is Hezbollah a Terrorist Organization?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Augustus Richard Norton, PhD, Professor of International Relations and Anthropology at Boston University, wrote in his 2009 book Hezbollah: A Short History:

"...Hezbollah promotes activities and performs services in Lebanon that have nothing to do with terrorism, such as running hospitals... The organization has engaged in forms of violence that fall outside the rubric of terrorism as it is generally understood. Most notably, so long as Israel was occupying a significant area of Lebanon, there is no doubt that Hezbollah and other Lebanese groups were fully within their rights to resist the occupation forces and to do so with deadly violence...

...[However], there is no question that Hezbollah has engaged in acts that do, indeed, constitute terrorism in its more precise and generally understood sense. One such clear instance was the 1985 skyjacking, by two Hezbollah operatives, of TWA flight 847, en route from Athens to Rome. Robert Stethem, a U.S. sailor on leave and traveling on the flight, was mercilessly beaten and shot in the head. The hijackers... disgracefully dumped his body on the tarmac of Beirut airport."

2009 - Augustus Richard Norton, PhD 

PRO (yes)

The Congressional Research Service, in its Oct. 8, 2010 paper titled "Hezbollah: Background and Issues for Congress" (available at, wrote:

"Lebanon’s Hezbollah ('Party of God') is a... US State Department-designated terrorist organization. Its armed element (referred to by many in Lebanon as ('the resistance') receives support from Iran and Syria and possesses significant paramilitary and unconventional warfare capabilities that rival and in some cases exceed those of Lebanon’s armed forces and police. The United States government holds Hezbollah responsible for a number of kidnappings and high-profile terrorist attacks against US, European, and Israeli interests since the early 1980s...

Hezbollah has been designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department since 1995 and remains on Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Terrorist lists."

Oct. 8, 2010 - Congressional Research Service (CRS) 

The Parliament of the European Union, in a Mar. 10, 2005 resolution available on its website titled "European Parliament Resolution on the Situation in Lebanon," stated:

"The European Parliament... calls on Syria not to tolerate any form of terrorism, including support for the operations of Hezbollah and other armed groups; Considers that clear evidence exists of terrorist activities on the part of Hezbollah and that the Council should take all necessary steps to curtail them."

Mar. 10, 2005 - European Union (EU) 

Daniel Byman, PhD, Professor of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, wrote in his Nov./Dec. 2003 article "Should Hezbollah Be Next" in Foreign Affairs:

"Few terrorist organizations meet this [terrorist group of global reach] standard, but Hezbollah is definitely one of them. The Lebanon-based group has cells on every continent, and its highly skilled operatives have committed horrifying attacks as far away as Argentina. Before September 11, 2001, it was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. Hassan Nasrallah, the group's secretary-general, recently proclaimed, 'Death to America was, is, and will stay our slogan.'"

Nov./Dec. 2003 - Daniel Byman, PhD 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom stated in its May 10, 2012 updated list of "Proscribed Terror Groups or Organisations" (available at

"Hizballah is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel, and aims to seize all Palestinian territories and Jerusalem from Israel. Its military wing supports terrorism in Iraq and the Palestinian territories."

May 10, 2012 - Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), United Kingdom 

The Council on Foreign Relations wrote in its 2004 backgrounder "Hezbollah (a.k.a. Hizbollah, Hizbu'llah)" on

"Is Hezbollah a terrorist group? Yes. Hezbollah and its affiliates have planned or been linked to a lengthy series of terrorist attacks against America, Israel, and other Western targets."

2004 - Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) 

CON (no)

Franklin Lamb, PhD, LLM, MPhil, Director of Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, wrote in his Apr. 6, 2007 article "Why Is Hezbollah on the Terrorism List?" in Counterpunch:

"Another area that would benefit from discarding the 'terrorist label' is the... ongoing campaign against Hezbollah. There is considerable doubt among international lawyers whether Hezbollah should ever have been classified as a terrorist organization... [U]nlike al Qaeda, their enemy, Hezbollah [is a] complex social and political movement. It uses different types of force, including guerrilla tactics which are legitimate under international law. It is also different from al Qaeda in that its alleged terrorist activity aims to liberate Lebanon, as opposed to being part of a ‘global struggle’ against the United States with undefined objectives...

It is time to... prove what terrorism Hezbollah has actually used against the American people... in light of US government admissions that since 1999 there is no evidence that Hezbollah has engaged in ‘Terrorism.'"

Apr. 6, 2007 - Franklin Lamb, PhD, LLM, MPhil 

Ali Fayyad, Hezbollah Member of Lebanese Parliament, said in a May 12, 2004 article titled "Resistance Lives On" in Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt):

"The problem with the Americans, and within some political circles in Europe, is that resistance is confused with terrorism. Whether or not this is done to serve some agenda is another story, but we consider ourselves a resistance movement and not a terrorist organisation."

May 12, 2004 - Ali Fayyad 

George Galloway, British Member of Parliament, said in a Sky News interview on Aug. 6, 2006 (available on

"...[Hezbollah] is not a terrorist organization... They are not a terrorist organization. It is Israel that is a terrorist state... You are totally wrong in saying that in most people’s eyes Hezbollah are terrorist. In most people’s eyes Israel is a terrorist state."

Aug. 6, 2006 - George Galloway 

Marc Sirois, Canadian journalist and Managing Editor of The Daily Star (Lebanon), wrote in an Oct. 24, 2002 Yellow article titled "The History of Hizbullah":

"Hizbullah was not hatched as an evil plot to destroy Israel but rather as an almost begrudging attempt to defend a community whose patience for oppression -- be it foreign or domestic -- had finally run out... Israel has every right to fear its long-time tormentors, but none to call them terrorists."

Oct. 24, 2002 - Marc Sirois 

Ran HaCohen, PhD, Professor of Comparative Literature at Tel-Aviv University, in an Aug. 13, 2003 editorial titled "A Case for Hizbollah?" wrote:

"This is the aim of Israeli propaganda: to portray the Hizbollah as a terrorist group that violates the rules of the game. The facts, however, are that the Hizbollah pretty much follows the rules of good neighbourliness; it is Israel that breaches them."

Aug. 13, 2003 - Ran HaCohen, PhD