Today on Vatican Radio, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano made a declaration regarding the views of the Holy See on the escalating situation in the Holy Land.
"The news we are receiving from the Middle East is certainly worrying,” Sodano said.
"The Holy Father Benedict XVI and all his collaborators are following with great attention the latest dramatic episodes, which risk degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions.”
The conflict has arisen between Islamic fundamentalist group Hezbollah and the state of Israel. However, the attacks by Israel have come against targets in Lebanon. The fledgling democratic government of Lebanon has been unable to control Syria-backed Hezbollah, and is pleading for a ceasefire to end the conflict. The attacks, according to the Associated Press, have killed nearly 50 Lebanese and wounded at least 130, in addition to destroying Lebanon’s primary airport, bridges, and roads.
Hezbollah, who functions mainly in the south of Lebanon- along the border with Israel - began the conflict when they crossed the border on Wednesday and captured two Israeli soldiers. As part of its attempt to defeat Hezbollah, Israel conducted today a second set of bombing missions against Lebanon’s infrastructure.
Cardinal Sodano said that while the Holy See condemns the actions of Hezbollah, attacks on Lebanon are equally wrong. "As in the past, the Holy See condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other. Indeed, a State's right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations.”
"In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and gives assurances of its closeness to those people who have suffered so much in the defense of their own independence.”
"Once again,” Sodano concluded, “it appears obvious that the only path worthy of our civilization is that of sincere dialogue between the contending parties."