DECLARATION on the Developments in the Middle East

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation has been following the developments of the last three weeks in the Middle East with grave concern, and condemns the Israeli bombing of Lebanon’s vital infrastructures and people, the most heinous of which was the bombing of a shelter in Qana. The ARF also is disappointed in the international community, especially the leading world powers and the UN Security Council for their inability to establish an immediate and complete cease-fire. The international community cannot allow the current bloody violence to continue against Lebanon, all the while abusing all international norms and depriving the people of Lebanon of their fundamental right to life and property.

The continuous Israeli bombing campaign already has dealt a severe blow to the country’s vital infrastructure and has turned significant portions of the population into refugees, a large number of whom have already left the country. Others have sought refuge in governmental and non-governmental institutions. The intensifying and immediate need for relief for refugees is far beyond Lebanon’s means and requires the immediate and complete rallying of the international community.

The Lebanese-Armenian community — although away from the epicenter of military activities — once again is withstanding the worst of this bitter crisis. Yet again and despite its modest means, our community in Lebanon, which has come together around its political parties, has extended a helping hand to tend to the tremendous needs of the refugee population. A special committee comprised of representatives from Armenian organizations has taken on the immediate care and needs of the thousands of refugees who have sought shelter in Armenian-populated areas. On a daily basis, the committee is immersed in this effort, thus helping governmental and organizational relief projects.

The situation resulting from this military campaign has created new challenges for our people. It is imperative for our community in Lebanon to be able to tackle successfully future issues related to the economic stability of Armenian-populated areas, as well as the security and safety of educational and other institutions. All Armenian institutions and factions have a decisive role to play in this effort.

A movement to assist the victims of Lebanon has already begun in the Diaspora, and the government of Armenia has already sent the first phase of its relief shipment to that country. We call on all Armenians, especially our affiliate organizations, to support Lebanese relief efforts in all countries. Lebanon has served as one of the vital sanctuaries for the Armenian people. Today, the people of Lebanon need our moral and financial assistance.

31 July 2006