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Griswold, other church leaders press Bush to call for Hezbollah-Israel ceasefire

7/21/2006
[Episcopal News Service]  Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold today called upon President Bush to “work with other world leaders to secure an immediate ceasefire in the violent conflict raging now between Hezbollah and Israel."  In a letter sent by Churches for Middle East Peace, Griswold and other Christian leaders noted that:  "This violent conflict has created a grave humanitarian crisis, and no hoped-for benefit should outweigh the cause of saving innocent lives." 

The full text of the letter follows:

July 21, 2006
 
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20500
 
 
Dear President Bush:
 
We urge you to work with other world leaders to secure an immediate cease-fire in the violent conflict raging now between Hezbollah and Israel.
 
We are deeply concerned for the innocent victims of the attacks and reprisals between non-state parties in Lebanon and the government of Israel.  This violent conflict has created a grave humanitarian crisis, and no hoped-for benefit should outweigh the cause of saving innocent lives. 
 
If this conflict continues, the current humanitarian crisis could escalate toward a catastrophe.  Already in the first days of attacks and reprisals, reports say that 34 Israelis have been killed, including 15 civilians, others injured, and thousands have been made to leave their homes, and, in Lebanon, at least 335 people, most of them civilians, are reported killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced or sought refuge in other countries.
 
In the face of such a humanitarian crisis, calls for the fighting parties to be restrained in their actions fall short of what is needed.  Your presidential leadership and the full weight of the United States, acting in concert with the international community, must be applied now to achieve an immediate cease-fire and to launch an intensive diplomatic initiative for the cessation of hostilities. This is a necessary first step toward the diplomatic resolution of this crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the way toward a comprehensive Middle East peace. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Leaders of churches and church-related organizations of Churches for Middle East Peace 
      
Churches for
Middle East Peace

Dr. Robb Davis                                                   
Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee 
 
Marie Dennis 
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Rev. Robert Edgar
General Secretary
National Council of Churches USA  
 
Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson
General Secretary
Reformed Church in America 
 
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church in America 
 
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 
 
The Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey
Executive Director
Alliance of Baptists 
 
Very Rev. Dominic Izzo, OP
President 
Roman Catholic Conference of Major  Superiors of Men's Institutes  
 
Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly 
Presbyterian Church, (USA) 
 
Rev. John L. McCullough
Executive Director & CEO
Church World Service 
 
Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba 
Archbishop of New York and
Metropolitan of North America
Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America   
 
Rev. William G. Sinkford
President
Unitarian Universalist Association of  Congregations 
 
Rev. John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ 

Joe Volk 
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation 
 
The Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins 
General Minister and President                  
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)  
 
James W. Winkler 
General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society 
United Methodist Church