Washington, DC- In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East and Africa, applauds the courage of the Lebanese people, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), and the Maronite Catholic Patriarch for confronting and exposing terrorism, and fighting for peace.
On August 6, Hezbollah fired 19 rockets into Israel from a civilian-populated village in southern Lebanon. In a display of valiance, Lebanese civilians actively challenged and thwarted Hezbollah’s practice of using human shields.
On August 8, Maronite Patriarch al-Rai strongly condemned Hezbollah’s provocation, and called on the LAF and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to take control of the Hezbollah’ stronghold in southern Lebanon, for strict enforcement of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The Patriarch declared that he “could not accept that a party (Hezbollah) could decide between peace and war outside the legitimate, national framework.” Patriarch al-Rai further asserted that Hezbollah engaged in attacks to divert attention from the sanctity of the one-year commemoration of the August 2020 Port of Beirut explosion.
In a display of concern for the welfare of the Lebanese people, Patriarch al-Rai stated “[the Lebanese people] are tired—as they should be—of war, killing, displacement and
destruction.” “We do not want to involve Lebanon in military operations that provoke
devastating reactions,” he added.
Hezbollah and its supporters responded with threats to the Patriarch’s life, including public effigies of the Patriarch with a noose around his neck, and innuendos of imminent violence.
“In Defense of Christians stands in solidarity with His Beatitude Patriarch al-Rai, the Lebanese Armed Forces, and courageous Lebanese civilians willing to take a stand for peace in Lebanon,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini.
“Offensive provocation which leaves Lebanese civilians vulnerable, many of whom are Christians, should not be tolerated,” he added.