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On the escalation of conflict between Israel and Lebanon

13 July 2006

Statement by WCC General Secretary, 13 July, 2006



One day of new violence in northern Israel and in Lebanon, added to three weeks
of on-going attacks in the Gaza Strip, gives cause for increasing alarm around the
world. The use of force and the harsh rhetoric of war are driving the new government
of Israel and its neighbouring states deeper into a chasm of killings and
destruction, and farther away from the prospect of peace.

The World Council of Churches strongly urges all parties to immediately stop
and reverse the escalation of the conflict and all use of the rhetoric of war.
We insist fully and firmly on the need for all parties to protect civilians - Lebanese,
Israeli and Palestinian - in accordance with international law. We call for an end
to violent actions, condemning these actions including the destruction of roads,
bridges and airport runways and the blockade by sea of Lebanon as is already the
case in Gaza.

Implementation of international law including international humanitarian law
and of UN resolutions concerning Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and
Lebanon, is the essential alternative to the cycle of incursions, occupations, violent
counter-attacks and international inaction that now looms over the Middle
East again.

The WCC called two weeks ago for the international community to take new
action to uphold law and end violence over Gaza, releasing those detained by both
sides, and two months ago for Israel to base its security on equitable negotiations
with neighbouring peoples within the framework of international laws and related
guarantees. Events in Lebanon show the high costs of inaction by the international
community.

This new word of warning comes with our urgent prayers for action by all parties
committed to achieving peace with justice.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia
General Secretary