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ALF appeals for urgent, stronger humanitarian support for Lebanon 8/09/2006

The American Lebanese Foundation (ALF) has been painfully watching and following the evolution of the catastrophic events in Lebanon since July 12, 2006 when this tragedy started. Some board members were actually in Lebanon and experienced first hand the ensuing anxieties and hopelessness of the Lebanese people. They also witnessed and participated in the evacuation of tens of thousands of dual citizens, as well as foreigners and tourists. But at this time, the bigger and more pressing problems which continue to grow and worsen are:

1.The civilians trapped in the south with the increasing number of victims fallen by the crossfire between the warring parties.

2.The continuously increasing numbers of the displaced who are running out of places to go to, and facing obstructed roads, demolished bridges and lesser options or pathways to get to anywhere.

3.The diminishing availability of fuel, electricity and medicines all over Lebanon and in some places the scarcity of food and water. Such hardships are obviously a much bigger problem in the south.

Several ALF Board members have been continuously in touch with authorities and leaders in the US and in Lebanon, searching for solutions to the impasse and discussing initiatives to limit the suffering of the Lebanese people until cessations of hostilities, an effective cease fire or permanent solutions can be found.

The ALF is vividly aware of the positions of the Lebanese government and of its disavowing any approval or knowledge of the events that started this insanity. We are also aware of the critical statements made by several leading Arab countries condemning the adventurous actions of the party that provided Israel with the excuse to start this crazy war. ALF is also aware of the US administration acknowledgement of Israel's right to self-defense and its point of view that this war could be a step towards the implementation of UNSCR 1559. We are equally aware of the fact that Hezbollah is increasing its stature and gaining popularity in many corners of the Arab and Islamic world for displaying stronger resistance and inflicting more damage on Israel than any of the large Arab armies that participated in previous Arab-Israel wars.

All that, however, does not explain or justify the incommensurate Israeli responses and excessive destructive attacks that are causing much more pain and damage to the peace loving Lebanese people, its government and infrastructure, than to Hezbollah, the self declared sole initiator and fighter of this war. We appreciate any efforts that the US, France, the United Nations and the civilized world community are doing to reach an acceptable resolution for cessations of hostilities. We also note the difficulties encountered in reaching a resolution that reassures and satisfies all concerned, particularly the Lebanese government which is heroically trying to do the right thing, while maintaining national unity or at least avoiding civil strife. We therefore wonder about the time that may be necessary to reach whatever agreement can lead to cessation of hostilities, and we are concerned about the continued displacement of refugees and exodus of the youth and intelligentsia of the country.

The ALF therefore calls urgently for immediate focus on implementing and empowering the humanitarian corridors. Yes, we know that some of that may be already in progress, but we also hear from charitable and humanitarian organizations, Lebanese leaders and ordinary citizens about the inadequacy and insufficiency of the current efforts. The ALF therefore appeals to the US Administration, the United Nations and all the friends of Lebanon to obtain firm commitments from the Israeli government to guarantee the safety of all necessary humanitarian corridors for the people in the south and all over Lebanon and ease the naval embargo to facilitate shipments of fuel, food and medicines to the civilian population. They should also ask Israel to limit its military activities, from here on to areas demonstrating hostile actions and avoid any indiscriminate destruction of Lebanese infrastructure. ALF also calls on all our Arab brothers to support and empower those corridors with their generous contributions.

The ALF sincerely hopes that the Franco-American effort at the UN succeeds in passing, without delay, a resolution, acceptable to the Lebanese government, which will lead to prompt cessation of hostilities. In the meantime ALF puts any resources it may have at the disposition of who ever in the US leadership or Media may need any explanations about the difficulties or dilemmas that decision makers in Lebanon have to deal with and how to resolve them. We also stand ready to work diligently with anybody in Lebanon or the Lebanese expatriate community to search for urgent, or permanent solutions to the ongoing violence.


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