Posted on July 14, 2006 in Press Releases

WASHINGTON – The Arab American Institute (AAI) continues its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for the State Department to immediately evacuate the estimated 25,000 American citizens trapped in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s bombing campaign.

AAI is receiving a growing number of calls and e-mails from Arab Americans in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip as well as those who have relatives trapped in the region. Reports indicate a large number of American citizens are trapped amidst the fighting, unable to exit the area because of Israel’s systematic bombardment of bridges, roads, and other civilian infrastructure. Additionally, Israeli warships are blockading Lebanon by sea, and Israeli troops on the ground have severely hampered movement in the Gaza Strip.

“Israel’s continued bombing of Lebanon has put American lives at risk,” said AAI President James Zogby. “Americans are trapped in the very villages that Israel is now shelling because the IDF destroyed the bridges and roads civilians would use to evacuate. The absence of American leadership to secure a ceasefire and protect its own citizens is appalling.”

This is the traditional season when many Arab Americans travel to the Middle East to visit family and friends. The State Department estimates there are about 25,000 American citizens currently in Lebanon. The State Department has set up numbers and a website for American citizens to register, but has so far taken no action to plan an orderly evacuation process.

To view pictures of profiles of Americans trapped in Lebanon and Gaza, click here. For the contact information of those trapped, please contact Natasha Tynes at the Arab American Institute, (202) 429-9210 ext. 26 or