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Letter to members of UN Security Council

21 July 2006

Geneva, 21 July 2006

Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière, Permanent Representative of France
Ambassador Wang Guanga, Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation
Sir Jones Parry, KCMG, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Ambassador John R. Bolton, Permanent Representative of the United Sates of America to the United Nations Security Council

Your Excellencies,

This letter concerns the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East and the critical opportunity it presents.

Member churches of the World Council of Churches around the globe have watched the vast and intentional destruction of recent days with sorrow and alarm. The people of Lebanon are suffering violence whose scale defies comprehension; half a million people have fled their homes. Citizens of Israel fear death from the sky; residents of Gaza mourn new losses day after day.

Responsibility for this chaos is shared. Solutions must be shared, as well. Precious days have been lost in disagreements at the highest level, while the battleground spreads and casualties mount on all sides. It is time to demonstrate the unique potential of the Security Council to bring peace. Joint and conclusive action is necessary.

The Security Council has already identified goals necessary for Lebanon's fragile recovery. The implementation of Resolution 1559 that was proposed on the margins of the G8 summit deserves urgent action including the deployment of an international force.

However, we fear that the pathology of violence will re-appear along the Lebanon-Israel border—and continue in Gaza and the West Bank—unless Security Council resolutions in both conflicts are implemented. As the current crisis makes clear, the fault lines of instability now run right through the region.

Fortunately, and to the Security Council's credit, a key political remedy for instability in Lebanon is available in resolutions concerning Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The political challenge in implementing these resolutions is enormous, of course, but it is no longer credible to act as if segmented or unilateral plans will work in isolation. Nor will they ever satisfy the legitimate claims on all sides.

Accordingly, the World Council of Churches urges your governments as the permanent member of the UN Security Council to exercise much-needed co-operation among you and with the Secretary General in order to implement a series of linked, multilateral actions. These should include:

  • immediate cease-fires in Lebanon and Gaza; deployment of a multinational force capable of keeping peace where and as needed; protection of civilians as prescribed by international humanitarian law;
  • release of all those in detention, or trial under due process of law and according to international norms;
  • multilateral implementation of long-delayed UN Security Council resolutions for peace in Lebanon, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including 1559, 1515, 1397, 338, and 242.

Over the past month, the violence in Lebanon and Gaza has reached unprecedented levels. Its roots are thick and deep. We urge you to find sufficient unity and political will to contain, to reverse, and to begin to resolve these crises. To a considerable extent, the prospects of the Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian peoples are in your hands.

May God bless you in exercising the responsibility that your governments share on behalf of the entire United Nations.

Sincerely yours, 

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary 

Cc: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan