Originally issued July 2006.

Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, calls for an immediate ceasefire to the conflict that undermines the efforts at true peace for the people of Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. Pax Christi USA strongly condemns the Hezbollah attacks targeting Israeli civilians and the illegal, unjustified and disproportionate use of force by Israel against the people of Lebanon and Gaza. The intentional targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is unconscionable and a flagrant violation by Israel of the Geneva Conventions. We urge the Israeli government to immediately cease military action against the people of Lebanon and Gaza and to commit to finding a diplomatic solution which leads to peace. We urge Hezbollah to immediately cease its cross-border attacks and to release captured Israeli soldiers.

Our prayers are with the people of Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel as they suffer through the violence and uncertainty of air strikes and rocket fire. We pray in a special way for the Palestinian victims whose long suffering has too often been ignored by both the U.S. government and media. We mourn for the hundreds of people who have died in Lebanon, almost all of whom were civilians, and the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced from their homes. The directed attacks by the Israeli military on residential areas, power stations, and water facilities amount to collective punishment on the entire Lebanese population. Collective punishment has been consistently condemned by every major faith tradition as well as the Geneva Conventions. Furthermore, the actions of the Israeli government risk recent advances to free Lebanon from outside domination and threaten the fragile democracy of a nation healing from years of sectarian divisions.

We urge the international community, through the proper authority of the United Nations, to negotiate an immediate cease-fire and to pressure all parties for a just and lasting resolution to the longstanding violence and injustice in the region. We call on the UN to hold Israel accountable for the purposeful destruction of necessary civilian infrastructure in Lebanon and Gaza, a clear violation of international law. We urge the international community to immediately ascertain the resources necessary to ensure that all civilians who have suffered from the recent attacks have access to food, water and medical supplies.

Finally, Pax Christi USA condemns the Bush Administration’s support of the Israeli response to the Hezbollah attacks. The Administration’s obstructionist postures at both the United Nations and the G-8 summit led to a delay in the international community’s response to the situation and an unequivocal call for a cease-fire. Pax Christi USA calls on the Bush Administration to immediately stop the military support which is being used by Israel in its attacks on civilians in Lebanon and Gaza. As U.S. citizens, we cannot stand idly by while weapons made on U.S. soil are used by the Israeli military to target civilians and destroy the infrastructure which underpins the stability of their society.

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