Arab Americans Celebrate Liberation of Southern Lebanon
Washington D.C., May 24 — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation‘s largest Arab-American membership organization, welcomes the long-overdue liberation of south Lebanon from more than two decades of brutal Israeli occupation, and congratulates the Lebanese people and resistance on their victory. Unfortunately, Israel‘s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in the face of steadfast and valiant resistence by the Lebanese people was as murderous as its occupation had been. At least 6 Lebanese civilians were killed during the chaotic Israeli retreat.
Israel had occupied southern Lebanon since 1978, when the UN Security Council, including the United States, unanimously demanded in Resolution 425 that Israel withdraw its troops from Lebanon “forthwith” and without condition. Israel continues to violate Resolution 425, given that it still occupies the Shebaa Farms in south Lebanon. ADC notes that Israel‘s withdrawal cannot be considered complete until it removes its soldiers from every inch of Lebanese territory. Israel also continues to hold a large number of Lebanese civilians hostage inside Israel, which is an unacceptable violation of human rights, and international law and norms of conduct.
The Israeli retreat from southern Lebanon has freed the Lebanese, especially the people of the south, of the intolerable burden of one of the most vicious contemporary military occupations. The Israeli occupation and numerous aggressions in Lebanon were marked by continuous attacks on civilians and several of the most notorious massacres in recent history, including those at Sabra and Shatila, and Qana. This historic victory over the occupation has come at a terrible cost, with many thousands of Lebanese fighters and civilians giving their lives for the freedom of their country. With the occupation finally at an end, hundreds of Lebanese have been returning to villages and homes from which they were expelled by Israel over the past two decades.
ADC Chair Naila Asali said “we congratulate the Lebanese people and resistance on their marvelous victory in forcing Israel to retreat from south Lebanon. We call on the international community and the the US government to ensure that Israel complete its withdrawal by leaving the Shebaa Farms and releasing all the Lebanese hostages. Israel must never again be allowed to violate the territorial integrity of Lebanon or bomb the Lebanese people. The international community should have enforced UN Resolution 425 with far more vigor, and must now act to ensure that Israel does not continue its pattern of bombing Lebanese civilian targets.”