American Task Force on Lebanon Calls For Cessation Of Hostilities
Washington, DC, October 17th, 2023,
The American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL) condemns Hamas’ horrendous attack on Israel on October 7th, including the mass killing and abduction of Israeli citizens. Israel’s subsequent imposition of a siege on Gaza, in response to the terrorist attack, must now stop: it endangers the lives of innocent civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival and compounds an already dire humanitarian situation. We urge both parties to deescalate the situation by, among other measures, ceasing hostilities and releasing hostages and prisoners. We call on all parties to respect international law.
Instead of the continuation of this war, US leadership needs to chart more forcefully a path towards Palestinian statehood, and press for more lasting peace between Israel and Palestine within a two-state solution framework. It is now time for the US to lead with a sense of determination and equity.
ATFL’s mission is to enhance the US-Lebanon bilateral relationship. It is in this regard that we call on Hezbollah to refrain from any further aggression that would escalate the conflict with Israel. Any such action risks the longstanding relationship between the US and Lebanon. Lebanese authorities must demand that Hezbollah and others avoid inflaming the situation and not subject Lebanon any further to regional conflicts. Hezbollah should also understand that they will be held responsible by the Lebanese people and international community for any resulting physical destruction and innocent Lebanese casualties if they instigate hostile action on the Lebanon-Israel border.
Finally, we applaud the appointment of Ambassador David Satterfield as Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues. We hope that his leadership will prompt a renewed focus on Lebanon, which has faced a massive influx of Syrian refugees due to the ongoing civil war in Syria. Lebanon currently hosts the largest number of refugees on a per capita basis of any country in the world and, as such, is experiencing additional economic distress. Ambassador Satterfield’s responsibilities should include helping alleviate the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon, in addition to his responsibilities with regard to the Gaza humanitarian crisis.
ATFL stands ready to facilitate a common understanding between the US and Lebanon that both protects Lebanon’s sovereignty and stability, and leads to a cessation of hostilities in the region.
The American Task Force on Lebanon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of prominent Americans of Lebanese heritage, who educate policymakers and the public about the importance of a robust US-Lebanon bilateral relationship. The mission and objectives of ATFL shall always be in the best interest of the United States and will promote the national unity, independence, and prosperity of a democratic and pluralistic Lebanon.