Bishops and church groups welcome Middle East ceasefire

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference President Archbishop Philip Wilson and Caritas Australia director Jack de Groot were among many church figures and groups to welcome the ceasefire that has come into force in Lebanon.

Archbishop Wilson expressed the hope that the ceasefire in the Middle East would hold and allow all parties to work towards a lasting peace in the region.

He said he was encouraged by the fact that the Israeli Government, the Lebanese Government and Hezbollah had agreed to a United Nations Security Council resolution on a ceasefire.

"This is an important breakthrough in this terrible conflict, which has taken so many lives and wreaked so much destruction on communities," Archbishop Wilson said.

"We pray that this ceasefire will provide the space needed to allow work to begin on finding solutions for a just and lasting peace.

"It will also allow much-needed humanitarian assistance to reach those who are suffering so immensely because of this conflict."

Caritas Australia has also welcomed the "long overdue" ceasefire which "allows for urgent humanitarian assistance reach the millions of people that have been affected by the conflict."

Jack de Groot, CEO of Caritas Australia, called on the international community to do all it can to ensure that the ceasefire holds.

"Almost one month of fighting has left a dramatic humanitarian emergency with hundreds of thousands of people needing urgent assistance across Lebanon, Gaza and Israel.

"It is disappointing the international community could not hasten the path to a ceasefire but now that we have one, it is crucial that the international community does all in its power to ensure the ceasefire is maintained," said Mr de Groot.

He says the ceasefire enables humanitarian agencies to safely access many civilians who have been unable to seek assistance because of the fierce nature of the conflict.

Whilst the delivery of immediate assistance to those who have been cut off due to the fighting is urgent, Caritas Australia is also committed to the longer term goal of rebuilding infrastructure and supporting affected communities, he said.

Archbishop Philip Wilson expresses hope that ceasefire will be the start of a lasting peace in the Middle East (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Media Release, 14/8/06)
Caritas Australia welcomes ceasefire in Lebanon, Gaza and Israel (Caritas Australia, Media Release, 14/8/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia

Middle East war crimes trials unlikely, says international law expert (CathNews, 14/8/06)
Neither retaliation or provocation can justify slaughter: Australian Maronite nun (CathNews, 11/8/06)
Aid agencies call on PM to push for Middle East ceasefire (CathNews, 7/8/06)
Unity and hope amid chaos in Lebanon (CathNews, 2/8/06)
Canberra Christian leaders slam Govt over "cowardly" silence on Middle East (CathNews, 1/8/06)
Benedict calls for miracle as Qana toll reaches 54 (CathNews 31/7/06)
Asian and African migrants "abandoned" in Lebanon, Vatican says (CathNews 27/7/06)
Students taking lead for Middle East peace (CathNews 26/7/06)
Lebanese Maronite bishops plea for UN help (CathNews 25/7/06)
Caritas Lebanon slams milk factory attack (CathNews 21/7/06)
Advertise Lebanon evacuation plans, stranded priest tells Govt (CathNews 20/7/06)

Catholic and Anglican bishops of NZ plead for peace in Middle East (Catholic Communications, New Zealand, 13/8/06)

15 Aug 2006