Reps. Zeldin, Luria Applaud Committee Passage of the Zeldin-Luria Legislation to Curb Hezbollah’s Influence on Lebanese Forces, Combat Growing Threat Towards Israel
WASHINGTON, D.C— Legislation introduced by Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D, VA-2), the Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019, was just passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, requiring the Secretary of State to outline a strategy to best utilize U.S. foreign aid to stop the smuggling of arms and related materials into Lebanon, which are used by Hezbollah to attack Israel.
More than 13 years ago, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1701 to end the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah. The resolution called for the Lebanese government to disarm all paramilitary groups in the country, including Hezbollah, so only the Lebanese state had weapons.
However, Lebanon’s work to implement this resolution has been unsuccessful as Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles – all aimed at Israel – while spending millions of dollars developing underground tunnels that also pose a lethal risk to innocent civilians.
The Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019 requires the Department of State to put together a strategy that improves Lebanon’s ability to implement Resolution 1701, encourages Lebanon’s cooperation with international peacekeeping missions on the border of Israel and Lebanon, and utilizes U.S.-Lebanon diplomatic engagement to prevent the building of cross-border tunnels into Israel and weapons factories inside Lebanon.
“Hezbollah has overwhelming political and military influence in Lebanon that presents an imminent geostrategic threat to Israel, and with Iran providing Hezbollah with hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of missiles, Hezbollah’s threat to Israel is greater than ever,” said Congressman Zeldin. “Meanwhile, the United States is pouring over $1.7 billion in foreign assistance into the LAF as it reportedly takes resources from this flagrant terrorist organization and Iranian puppet. The United States must fight against Iranian influence and stand with our nation’s greatest ally - Israel.”
“I have stood at the Israel-Lebanon border and know what is at stake for our strongest ally in the region if we permit Hezbollah—an Iranian proxy— to freely amass weapons and influence within the Lebanese Armed Forces,” said Congresswoman Luria. “I am proud to work alongside Congressman Zeldin to advance the Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act to ensure the security of Israel and our other partners in the Middle East.”