ROME (CNS): Israel’s massive bombardment of southern Lebanon left many people in the region with the suspicion that Israel’s military operation had been planned well in advance of the July provocation by the Hezbollah militia, said a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC).
“We heard this from many, many people during our trip, especially in Lebanon, but also in Israel,” said Archbishop Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin of Tours, France, a member of the delegation.
“I do not know if it is true, but that is what we heard,” the archbishop said during an August 17 phone interview.
Archbishop Aubertin visited the Middle East from August 10-15 with the Rev Jean-Arnold de Clermont, who is president of the European Council of Churches, and with Marilia Alves-Schuller of the World Council of Churches.
In an August 16 statement, members of the delegation said the Lebanese they met all said they believed that Israel’s massive attacks on neighbourhoods, homes, bridges and roads were “both deliberate and planned”.
During an August 16 press conference at the WCC headquarters in Geneva, Rev de Clermont said: “We came back from Lebanon sharing the impression that this destruction was planned. And if the action by the Hezbollah was the trigger, this was a planned operation all ready to go”.
Israel has said its military action was retaliation against the Hezbollah militia for kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and killing several others.