Protecting Israel a Key Goal of Bipartisan Legislation
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) today announced that she is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019, partnering with lead sponsor Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-01).
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 calls upon the government of Lebanon to implement “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that… there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State.” Last December, Israel uncovered six cross-border tunnels in Southern Lebanon that were built by Hezbollah – an Iranian proxy – with the intention of harming Israeli civilians.
This bipartisan bill would strengthen Resolution 1701 by withholding 20 percent of U.S. foreign assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) until the LAF limits Hezbollah’s military influence through the appointment of key military officers. Additionally, this legislation requires an accompanying report describing the extent of Hezbollah’s influence over the LAF.
“I am proud to work with Congressman Zeldin on a bipartisan effort to combat Hezbollah’s influence,” Congresswoman Luria said. “We should continue to exert pressure on governments that partner with terrorist groups and threaten our ally Israel. Having visited the border of Israel and Lebanon, I recognize the gravity of this situation and I urge Congress to swiftly pass our bill to curb Hezbollah’s presence and impact.”
“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.”