ASIA/LEBANON - Maronite Patriarch Raï: Lebanon must not get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian military conflict

Monday, 17 May 2021 middle east   oriental churches   armed conflicts   weapons   refugees  

Bkerké (Agenzia Fides) - The violence suffered by the Palestinians "makes hearts tighten", and only an authentic and definitive solution to the Palestinian question can stop violence and murders, "after 73 years of wars, devastation and Israeli oppression". But Lebanon must find "peaceful ways" to show its solidarity with the Palestinian people, maintaining its neutrality with respect to the armed conflict and avoiding any kind of military involvement. The appeal to safeguard Lebanese neutrality in the face of the spiral of violence that envelops the Holy Land was launched on Sunday, May 16 by the Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï, during the homily of the Eucharistic liturgy he celebrated at the Patriarchal See of Bkerké. The Patriarch invited the Lebanese authorities to keep the Israeli-Lebanese border under strict control, preventing the Lebanese territory from becoming a platform for "launching missiles" into Israeli territory. "Some - added the Primate of the Maronite Church, alluding to the Shiite Hezbollah Party, without mentioning it explicitly - are involved directly or through auxiliary parties in what is happening and exposing Lebanon to new wars", but the Lebanese people "are not ready to destroy their country again any more than it already is", also considering that "the Lebanese have paid enough due to these uncontrolled conflicts". During the homily, Patriarch Raï also reiterated that the only possibility of putting an end to the Arab-Israeli conflicts is through the real recognition of the Palestinian state, independent and sovereign, by Israel. The flight to Lebanon of Palestinian refugees began in 1948, the year of the birth of the State of Israel. According to data provided by the UN, 300,000 Palestinian refugees reside in the Land of Cedars, gathered in 12 refugee camps, where they often live in conditions of extreme poverty. On Thursday, the Israeli military reported that three rockets were launched from south Lebanon towards Israel. Several pro-Palestinian demonstrations were held in recent days at the heavily militarised Lebanese-Israeli border, with protesters attempting to climb the border wall and throwing Molotov cocktails into Israel. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and warning shots, causing the death of a 21-year-old Lebanese protester on Friday 14 May. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 17/5/2021)