Pope appeals for end to "unjustifiable" violence in Israel and Lebanon

 Pope Benedict yesterday condemned "terrorist" acts and reprisals in Lebanon and Israel, saying the violence was unjustifiable. In his first public comments on the escalating crisis, the Holy Father said that violations "of law and justice" at the root of the conflict could not be used to sanction bloodshed. Speaking from his holiday retreat in the Aosta valley, he appealed to both sides to resume dialogue. "The causes of such fierce confrontation are unfortunately objective situations of violation of law and justice. But neither the terrorist acts nor the reprisals, above all when there are tragic consequences for the civilian population, can be justified." The Pope said he was deeply concerned about violence in Lebanon, which has been pounded by Israeli air strikes. But he also cited the Hizbollah guerrillas' attack on Sunday on the Israeli city of Haifa, which killed eight people. "History has shown no good will come of such conflict," he said. "I pray that the responsible politicians are brought along the path of reason and open new possibilities for dialogue and understanding."

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