From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 04 May 1996 16:05:53


    by Jerry L. Van Marter 
WASHINGTON--The Rev. Elenora Giddings Ivory, director of the Presbyterian 
Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office, has issued a statement expressing the 
church's concern about the renewed violence in Lebanon.  The text of the 
statement, dated April 19, 1996: 
    "On behalf of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 
I wish to express the deepest sorrow and concern for families on both sides 
of the Lebanon-Israel border who have lost loved ones in the enduring 
hostilities of years and the rising violence of recent days. 
    "Particularly do we lament that the people of all Lebanon have again 
been plunged into a period of anguish and suffering by the spill-over of 
this unresolved conflict.  The loss of life in Israel as a result of rocket 
attacks by Hezbollah is tragic and reprehensible, but the scale of Israel's 
response to the situation is morally unacceptable.  A plea of self-defense 
is incredible when the numbers of dead and wounded fall so 
disproportionately on Lebanon.  Frustrations in facing the resistance and 
attacks of Hezbollah are not a justification for bombing villages and 
cities where innocent civilians are bound to be the primary victims.  It is 
unconscionable that the Israeli bombings have created 400,000 refugees. 
Targeting the infrastructure of a country still recovering from years of 
internal strife is a form of collective punishment that must be condemned. 
    "We do not believe that the use of violence by either side in this 
conflict is justifiable or effective in the pursuit of justice and peace. 
And certainly escalating the level of violence will not make a durable 
peace more likely. 
    "We urge both Hezbollah and Israel immediately to end attacks on or 
affecting civilian populations.  And we urge Israel to abide by United 
Nations Resolution 425 which calls for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanese 
territory.  That seems an inescapable step in creating a situation in which 
full control over groups that would do Israel harm can and will be 
    "In this tragic situation, we urge the United States government to call 
upon all parties to respect and observe recognized international 
humanitarian standards in their policies and actions.  The harm being 
inflicted upon innocent people is wrong and unacceptable." 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
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