The Bishops of the Maronite Church have voiced grave concern over the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan. Their position was expressed by the Maronite Bishops in a statement released at the end of their monthly assembly, which took place yesterday, 4 April at the patriarchal see of Bkerke, under the chairmanship of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai. The statement reads: "This decision constitutes a violation of international law and paper of the United Nations," and specifically contradicts the right of any people - including the Lebanese - to recover their territory stolen and illegally occupied by other political entities and military.
Israel conquered much of the Syrian Golan Heights (1200 sq km) during the Six-Day War in 1967, and annexed it in 1981. But such annexation was never recognised by the international community.
During their monthly meeting, the Maronite Bishops also stressed the urgency of finding regional and international political consensus to guarantee Syrian refugees hosted in Lebanon the possibility of repatriation in full safety, without binding this return to a previous political settlement of the conflicts that still trouble Syria.
Lebanon is home to more than one million Syrian refugees. Many Lebanese leaders are calling for organising the return of these refugees to Syria, claiming that the country has now returned almost entirely under the control of the forces headed by the government of Assad.
In their statement the Bishops also sound the alarm on the decision to open some areas of the country to the cultivation of hashish for therapeutic purposes: a political decision, according to the Bishops, taken too quickly, which in the name of the search of easy earnings risks increasing drug addiction among Lebanese youth.
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