Syriac Maronite Patriarch urges neutrality and mediation amid conflict in Gaza

BETH KERKE, Lebanon — In a sermon delivered at the Church of Our Lady in the Patriarchal Edifice in Beth Kerke (Bkerke), Lebanon, Syriac Maronite Patriarch Mor Bechara Boutros al-Rai expressed grave concern over the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, denouncing Israel’s use of the conflict as a means of exterminating the Palestinian people and their cause.

Patriarch al-Rai reiterated his condemnation of Israel’s aggressive actions and urged both Israeli and Lebanese authorities to uphold UN Security Council Resolution No. 1701, emphasizing the need to protect southern border towns from further violence, displacement, and devastation.

Emphasizing Lebanon’s commitment to seeking a lasting ceasefire and advocating for diplomatic solutions, the Patriarch stressed the importance of pursuing a two-state solution to achieve peace in the region. He underscored Lebanon’s potential role as a mediator in political and diplomatic negotiations, a duty hindered by the ongoing absence of a president.

Highlighting concerns over Lebanon’s loss of neutrality and increasing sectarian tensions, Patriarch al-Rai warned against the erosion of constitutional principles and the encroachment of political interference in judicial affairs. He urged those in positions of power to respect the independence of the judiciary and refrain from undermining the rule of law.

In a powerful admonition, the Patriarch called for the restoration of justice and the preservation of Lebanon’s secular foundations, urging authorities to refrain from politicizing the judiciary and to uphold the principles of fairness and impartiality.