Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Statement from the American Friends Service Committee


A Statement Issued by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Board of Directors, July 21, 2006

Philadelphia — We view the unfolding tragedy in the Middle East with moral and spiritual repugnance. The destruction of precious human lives must end immediately.

We mourn the loss of life in Gaza, Israel, and Lebanon and we affirm the courage of those who daily face the devastation of war. We stand with the people who will live to endure war’s physical and psychological damage. We affirm the right of all people in the region to live in peace and security.

Military action only encourages future violence as hearts are hardened and voices of conciliation are shouted down. The violence must end immediately and unconditionally.
? We call upon the United States government to act at the highest level to bring about an immediate ceasefire and to create an appropriate environment for negotiations.

? We encourage the international community, especially the European Union, the United Nations, and the Arab League, to use their good offices to secure a ceasefire, start a negotiation process, and put in place a mechanism that can help preserve peace along the Israeli-Lebanese border, in the Gaza Strip, and in the West Bank.

? We renew our call that all countries, including the United States, stop sales and transfers of arms to the region.

? We support the state of Lebanon in gaining control of its own territory and sovereignty.

? We ask the leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas to end their missile bombardments of Israeli civilians.

? We ask the Government of Israel to cease immediately its attacks on Lebanon and to pull its forces out of Gaza. We further call on the government of Israel to re-open points of entry to the Gaza Strip and to allow the free flow of desperately needed food, medicines, and other humanitarian supplies.

Israel’s sustained air and threatened ground attacks against civilian populations and infrastructure have caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the displacement of hundreds of thousands. Neither Israel’s sustained attacks against civilian populations in Gaza and Lebanon, nor Hezbollah’s rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel, can be justified on the grounds of self-defense.

As a Quaker organization working to promote peace and allay suffering in the region since 1948, AFSC knows that peace does not come from war. A real and enduring peace for all people of the region will come only from a rejection of violence and a framework for regional and shared security.

— Approved by the American Friends Service Committee Board of Directors, Friday, July 21, 2006.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.

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