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Bechara Boutros al-Rahi: 'We do not have a culture of death’

1 min

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi spoke out against the escalation of tensions between Hezbollah and Israel on Sunday.

Bechara Boutros al-Rahi 

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi spoke out against the escalation of tensions between Hezbollah and Israel on Sunday, saying that residents of southern Lebanon had told the Maronite Church that they refuse to be "sacrificial lambs" for a "culture of death" in an apparent criticism of Hezbollah's escalation along the border.

"The people of the border villages in the south express to us their pain at the state’s abandonment of them and of its duties and responsibilities towards them," said Rahi in his Sunday sermon. "They, both old and young, are living through the brunt of the war imposed on them and rejected by them, as they consider that Lebanon and the Lebanese have nothing to do with it."

The patriarch stressed that the residents of southern Lebanon told him that they are, "experiencing the psychological pressures of war" and that children in the area are unable to go to school due to the conflict.

"[Southern residents] continue: 'You can imagine the extent of failure, chaos, and anxiety resulting from this bitter reality, and its repercussions on the educational and psychological future of our children,'" added Rahi.

"They add: Allow me to say it loud and clear - not as an abandonment of national or Arab issues, but rather out of my honesty with myself - I refuse to make myself and my family members hostages, human shields, and sacrificial lambs for failed Lebanese policies, and for the culture of death that has brought nothing but imaginary victories and shameful defeats to our country.”

Rahi has been a vocal opponent of Hezbollah and the escalation of violence between Israel and Hezbollah.

At the end of December, Rahi rejected the extension of the war between Israel and Hamas to southern Lebanon, saying, "It must be stopped, and the Lebanese people, their homes, and their livelihoods must be protected, as they have not yet emerged from the disastrous results of the Lebanese war. We demand the removal of any rocket launcher planted between homes in southern towns that would require a devastating Israeli response."

The patriarch called on everyone to "respect Security Council Resolution 1701 with all its provisions for the good of Lebanon."

In the past, Rahi has called for the Lebanese Army to disarm Hezbollah and take back control of southern Lebanon.

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