Official Statement of the YDA Jewish Caucus on the Lebanon War

August 13, 2006 at 1:30 pm | Posted in Announcements + Events, Israel | Leave a comment

Approved August 6, 2006
Posted August 13, 2006

The Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus joins with the organized Jewish and Democratic communities to offer support for the State of Israel. We encourage Americans, especially young Americans, to stand by Israel, our democratic ally in the Middle East. The Democratic Party has a long history of supporting Israel, we count on our Democratic members of Congress to continue this important long-standing relationship. At times of crisis, support for Israel should not be a partisan issue.

The news and images from Lebanon have been trying to us all. No one can condone the humanitarian crisis that has emerged as a result of the current conflict. Nonetheless, we believe that it is important both to look to the root of the problems between Lebanon and Israel and to work toward a stable relationship where non-state actors do not have the capability to carry out attacks directed at civilians or to instigate an international crisis. Every day that Iran and Syria were allowed to support Hezbollah and Hezbollah was permitted to continue recruiting militiamen in southern Lebanon presented a challenge to the legitimate Lebanese government and raised the specter of a regional crisis.

We have been avidly watching the news over the past few weeks and have been disturbed by the images coming from Lebanon. We realize that the horrific images being shown of Lebanese people make it difficult for some to acknowledge Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to defend itself.

While Israel takes precautions to protect civilians and only targets military outposts, Hezbollah launches its rocket-fire indiscriminately, with civilian casualties as the primary objective.

Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups intentionally operate in civilian population centers, and use innocent civilians as human shields. After the destruction over the weekend in Kana, Israel has been accused of targeting civilians and not caring about the safety of the Lebanese people. As the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel values the lives of all its citizens-Jews, Muslims, Druze, and Christians-and the lives of its Arab neighbors.

Israel realizes that civilians are suffering in Lebanon and Gaza, just as Israelis are suffering in Northern Israel. Israelis have been spared excessive casualties because they are required to have bomb shelters in their homes, an awful reality of living with the daily threat of terror. Despite Israeli literature drops before raids on Lebanon, Lebanese citizens were not adequately prepared and did not find safer refuge.

Though any civilian casualties are unacceptable, it is the unfortunate truth of war that they are often unavoidable. As with all Americans and Israelis, the Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus hopes that a cease-fire will emerge shortly with a minimal loss of life. If that eventual cease-fire does not ensure the dismantling of Hezbollah, however, this crisis may be the first of many. A long-term peace in the Middle East is one which non-state actors do not have the ability to undermine.

Finally, we encourage both Israel and the United States to expedite the humanitarian aid they have committed for the end of the conflict. This will help the Lebanese government to rein in extremist groups like Hezbollah and ensure that this year’s violence will not be repeated.

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