Benedict condemns Middle East reprisals

Benedict XVI has called for a resumption of dialogue as violence escalates in the Middle East while the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has condemned the UN's "do nothing policy."

Reuters reports that Pope Benedict yesterday condemned "terrorist" acts and reprisals in Lebanon and Israel, saying the violence was unjustifiable.

Benedict, in his first public comments on the escalating crisis, said that violations "of law and justice" at the root of the conflict could not be used to sanction bloodshed. He called on both sides to resume dialogue.

"The causes of such fierce confrontation are unfortunately objective situations of violation of law and justice," Benedict said, speaking from his holiday retreat in the Aosta valley.

"But neither the terrorist acts nor the reprisals, above all when there are tragic consequences for the civilian population, can be justified."

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano singled out Israel on Friday, calling its strikes on Lebanon an attack on a sovereign and free nation. He also expressed his closeness to the Lebanese people.

Benedict said yesterday he was deeply concerned about violence in Lebanon, which has been pounded by Israeli air strikes. But he also cited the Hezbollah guerrillas' attack on Sunday on the Israeli city of Haifa, which killed eight people.

It was Hezbollah's deadliest rocket strike on Israel in at least 10 years.

The German-born Pontiff said history had shown no good would come of such conflict. He prayed that "the responsible politicians are brought along the path of reason and open new possibilities for dialogue and understanding."

Meanwhile, L'Osservatore Romano has denounced at the weekend the UN's "do-nothing policy" about the Middle East crisis due to the "crossed vetoes" in the Security Council, and lamented "the death of human law."

"The UN, reduced to the do-nothing policy while Lebanon burns," titles the newspaper, and assures that "the dynamics of the crossed vetoes that is used in the Security Council prevents the adoption of concrete support measures for international legality."

Pope condemns Israel-Lebanon attacks (Reuters 16/7/06)
The Vatican denounces the UN "do-nothing policy" before the Middle East crisis (Dominican Today 16/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
L'Osservatore Romano

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17 Jul 2006