Caritas says Middle East violence illegal and immoral

Calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon, Caritas International has said that "indiscriminate bombings and hostage taking are against all moral and humanitarian laws and principles."

ReliefWeb reports that as the violence escalates in Lebanon and in the Gaza strip, Caritas International is calling on all sides to end the carnage, hold an immediate ceasefire and come to the negotiating table.

The Israeli attacks on Lebanon was triggered by Hezbollah's kidnapping of two of its soldiers last Wednesday. In response, Lebanon reeled yesterday under a sixth day of air and sea strikes that have pounded the country's infrastructure and killed over 200 civilians.

Caritas says that its staff in Gaza and Lebanon are risking their lives to cater to the needs of the wounded, supply goods for civilians to survive and bring food for the children.

"Guided by the social teaching of the Catholic Church, and in line with International Humanitarian Law, we are calling today for an immediate ceasefire, an end to all violence, and the beginning of constructive negotiations geared towards long-term solutions," a Caritas International statement says.

"International humanitarian law decrees that states and authorities must protect civilians caught up in conflict, allow free access by humanitarian agencies to provide assistance to those affected and ensure attacks are not aimed at civilian targets. Any state or authority which ignores these rules is in breach of the very conventions that they have signed up to and which help keep our world civilised.

"Caritas believes that a just peace is possible in the Middle East, and urges the international community and political leaders to uphold international law and help the people of Israel, of Palestine and of Lebanon to step back from the brink of full-scale war."

Benedict XVI, in his first public comments on the escalating crisis, said at the weekend that violations "of law and justice" at the root of the conflict could not be used to sanction bloodshed.

"Neither the terrorist acts nor the reprisals," he said, "can be justified."

Middle East: Caritas calls for a ceasefire (ReliefWeb 17/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas International

Benedict condemns Middle East reprisals (CathNews, 17/7/06)
Pax Christi raps profiteers in Palestinian occupation (CathNews, 12/7/06)

Catholic aid agencies call for ceasefire in Middle East (Independent Catholic News, 17/7/06)
UN calls for ceasefire and international peace force (Asia News, 17/7/06)

18 Jul 2006