Arab Americans Condemn Israeli Re-Annexation of Arnoun
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) strongly condemns the re-seizure of the Lebanese town of Arnoun by Israel on April 15, and demands that the United Nations and the United States take steps to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 425.
Arnoun was initially seized by Israeli occupation troops on Feb. 17, but was liberated on Feb. 26 by a group of 2,000 unarmed Lebanese university students who walked across Israeli minefields, broke through Israeli barricades, and reunited the residents of Arnoun with their compatriots. After only a few weeks of freedom, however, the villagers of Arnoun once again had to flee their homes in terror. Israeli troops surrounded the village with barbed wire fences and earth embankments. Journalists attempting to cover the event were attacked by the Israeli forces and one journalist was shot in the back. Israeli troops used numerous Lebanese civilians, dragged from their vehicles, as human shields in the attack. Lebanese Prime Minister Dr. Salim al-Hoss noted that the “re-occupation of Arnoun is a terrorist operation par excellence aimed at the innocent residents of this peaceful town.”
Israeli spokesman Uri Lubrani threatened violence against Lebanese civilians if they were to again attempt to liberate Arnoun, stating that this would “provoke a situation for which only the Lebanese government, guarantor of [civilian’s] security, would be responsible.”
Israel has occupied southern Lebanon since 1978, when UNSCR 425 demanded Israel unconditionally “withdraw forthwith its forces from all Lebanese territory.” The United States voted for this resolution, which was passed unanimously by the Security Council. Where other UN security council resolutions have been enforced by war, sanctions, bombings and embargos, Israel’s obligations under Resolution 425 have been ignored with impunity. The re-seizure of Arnoun is yet another demonstration of the utter disregard of the Israeli government for international law and the rights of the Lebanese people. The U.N. and U.S. need to apply a single, consistent standard on the implementation of Security Council resolutions in the Middle East and throughout the world.
This recent outrage in Arnoun is all the more poignant as it coincides with the third anniversary of the infamous Qana massacre, in which over 100 Lebanese civilians were killed by Israel while seeking shelter in a U.N. camp. ADC President Hala Maksoud said that “It is high time that the international community and the United Nations enforce UNSCR 425 and end the intolerable Israeli occupation of Lebanon once and for all.”