An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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In this week’s Action Update we devote some time to a topic we’ve not discussed in a while: Lebanon. And we also return to our on again/off again effort to end on some good news. But no matter the subject, the topics this week are of significant importance to anyone who values the US-Israel relationship – regardless of how much (or how little) you might see these issues covered in the mainstream press.

A Failed State?

Lebanon is continuing its downward spiral. Throughout its troubled history, the country has been ravaged by sectarian differences, conflict, government mismanagement, and, of course, having a terrorist army – Hezbollah – controlling much of the country.

Lebanon’s economy and its government are in shambles, and that has been the case for well over a year. Fuel shortages, hyperinflation, and an exodus of many of those with the means to get out, have left Lebanon teetering on the brink of being a failed state. The last thing the country needs right now is for Hezbollah to pick a fight with Israel. But that’s exactly what the terrorist group tried to do recently when it fired 19 rockets at the Jewish state. Hezbollah hopes attacks will get the people of Lebanon to forget their sad state of affairs and rally around the militants. Hezbollah, and its patrons in Tehran are miscalculating.

Even Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch – no friend to Israel – has called for “the Lebanese army to prevent the launching of missiles.” He also called for the Lebanese army to extricate Hezbollah from the country’s south and end the terrorist group’s stranglehold over the beleaguered country. Now, don’t get too excited; he did note that his position is based on Lebanon’s interests, and not for Israel’s sake, but regardless of why, everyone – save Hezbollah and Iran – seems to agree that the terrorists need to go.

Well… Sort of….

The US has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) over the years. And many Members of Congress and the White House view the current situation in Lebanon as further evidence that more money should flow to Beirut. Trouble is, isn’t that the very definition of throwing good money after bad? The entire point of aid to the LAF should be to stop Hezbollah, yet the army has failed to do so, and in fact the LAF has become increasingly infiltrated by Hezbollah year-after-year. It shouldn’t then surprise anyone that the LAF released a Hezbollah member who was caught firing rockets in the latest attacks against Israel.

The Biden administration’s approach to the situation in Lebanon, including the ineffective LAF, is to maintain the exact same policies and release the same tired old obligatory statements that have gotten us to the present condition. Case in point, check out the State Department’s statement following the recent rocket attacks against Israel:

The United States condemns in the strongest terms Hizballah’s rocket attacks into Israel. This violence puts Israelis and Lebanese at risk and jeopardizes Lebanon’s stability and sovereignty.  The United States remains engaged with Israeli and Lebanese officials, as well as the Lebanese Armed Forces. We call upon the Lebanese government urgently to prevent such attacks and bring the area under its control. We also urge the Lebanese government to facilitate full access for UNIFIL peacekeepers in accordance with UNSCR 1701. We strongly encourage all efforts to maintain calm.

Really? “Condemns in the strongest terms… call upon the Lebanese government… remains engaged... strongly encourage…” A more vacuous, perfunctory statement could not have been written.

Would anyone like to know how Hezbollah reads this statement? Here’s a hint: They don’t. They do not care about paragraph long condemnations and calls for calm. They’re terrorists. Unless and until Washington – and frankly both sides of the aisle share blame on this one – decides to tie benchmarks for gains against Hezbollah to American taxpayer largess, nothing is going to change in Lebanon, and the people of that country, as well as their Israeli neighbors to the south, will continue to suffer. Afterall, the status quo has been US policy for close to two decades and what have we to show for it? The Lebanese people and American taxpayers certainly don’t have much.

Iron Dome to Get Replenished

The Biden administration has now on multiple occasions announced their support for replenishing the Israel’s Iron Dome interceptors following the recent war with Hamas. Iron Dome saves countless lives. And while we’d love to live in a world where Israel doesn’t need to deploy such a system because the genocidal ambitions of Hamas and Hezbollah have been relegated to the history books, that’s not the case. The ball is now in Congress’s court to fund this request and we urge Senate and House leaders to do so expeditiously.

The more effective Iron Dome is, the more innocent people survive terrorist rocket barrages and the less likely a wider conflict erupts in the region. For the Middle East, that’s good news and we welcome the Biden administration’s continued support for these funds.

As always, we’re grateful for your taking the time to stay up to date about these issues. They don’t always make it into the headlines of the mainstream press, but they are important, and by continuing to stay informed about these issues, you will be the strongest of pro-Israel advocates.


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