04/04/2019, 12.12
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Maronite Church condemns US supporting Israeli claim to sovereignty of Golan Heights

by Fady Noun

According to Maronite bishops, gathered yesterday with Patriarch Rai, Donald Trump's decision violates international law and also endangers Lebanon. Pressure for the return of Syrian refugees to their country, even without a political solution to the crisis. Caution for the cultivation of hashish for therapeutic purposes. Safeguarding Lebanese nature from pollution.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - The Maronite Church has clearly condemned the March 27 decision of the US president, Donald Trump to support Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

Yesterday the monthly meeting of the Assembly of Maronite bishops, under the chairmanship of Patriarch Bechara Rai, in the patriarchal see of Bkerké, ended with a statement that "this decision constitutes a violation of international law and paper of the United Nations, and the right of every people to recover their stripped and occupied territory ". This principle - the bishops add - also applies to the right of Lebanon to recover what is still occupied on its soil”.

Israel conquered much of the Syrian Golan Heights (1220 sq km) during the Six-Day War in 1967, and annexed it in 1981. But such annexation was never recognized by the international community.

In his speech to the 30th Rally of the Arab League in Tunis, on April 2 last, the president of the republic Michel Aoun denounced the decision of Washington, stating that it threatened "the sovereignty of a brother country, and likewise that of the Lebanese state ".

Syrian refugees

In light of the recent visit by the head of state to Russia, and the statement released at the end of his meeting with President Vladimir Putin, the Assembly of Bishops once again affirmed that "the resolution of the Syrian refugee crisis in a compliant sense to the constitution is a superior interest of Lebanon ”. "We hope there will be a local and international political consensus to preserve the human dignity of Syrian refugees, which implies their right to find their land and their homeland, without this return being tied to a political resolution in Syria."

Lebanon hosts more than one million Syrian refugees and the question of their return creates controversy on the Lebanese political scene. Some leaders push to organize the return of these refugees to Syria, estimating that the country, almost completely regained by the regime's forces, is now "safe". Others are more inclined to agree with the international community and demand a political regulation of the conflict before ensuring the refugee’s return.

The legalization of hashish

Internally, the Assembly of Maronite bishops has warned against any law that legalizes the cultivation of hashish for therapeutic purposes, which would be taken too quickly, "before competent bodies are able to over-view this culture, apply the law and suppress violations ”. "It would be excessively unpleasant - the statement says - that for considerations of gain ... we destroy our society, in particular our young people".

In the name of "transparency", the Assembly then warned against a fight against corruption that would be selective, and would hit "the small targets", sparing the others.

Finally, it called for "an exhaustive plan to safeguard Lebanese natural heritage and its threatened resources", citing the danger of a degradation of the environment that would make "the country unlivable" and classify it in the number of the most polluted countries on the planet. "Environmental security - the Assembly said - is an integral part of national security".

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