They survived the bombings near Tripoli. They braved an escape from Lebanon through the Syrian border.

But those weren’t the most traumatic moments for Laguna Niguel residents Kanan and Hanan Hamzeh, who Tuesday described their six-day ordeal fleeing the raging battle between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The worst moment, the couple said, occurred last week when they clustered around a TV set watching the news with family and friends in Tripoli, Lebanon. The group of middle-class, mostly college-educated Lebanese, who support the disarmament of Hezbollah and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, all were convinced that the U.S. would broker an immediate cease-fire to stop their homeland’s destruction, the Hamzehs said.

Instead, the United States blocked U.N. plans for a Middle East cease-fire resolution.

“All of my family looked at me and said, ‘Look what your country has done. How could this be possible?'” said Hanan Hamzeh, 50. “I just said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ I was in shock.

“I felt embarrassed” to be American, she said.

“Betrayed,” her husband added.

While the Israeli bombing has demolished much of Lebanon’s infrastructure, the American failure to stop the fighting destroyed something far deeper in the Hamzehs’ hearts. It has, they said, shattered their pride as Americans, altered their politics and left them with hard questions for their president.


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