Lebanon

The Church in Lebanon defends normalization in the name of religion

Recently, the GSS stopped the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territory of Maronite Archbishop Musa al-Haj while he was returning to Lebanon from a pastoral visit to the occupied territories churches.

Maronite bishop Musa Al hajj
Maronite bishop Musa Al hajj in church

A substantial amount of $460,000, as well as 4000 euros and several medicines, led to Hajj’s arrest.

There was a list of money donors, which, after an audit, included several agents in the “Southern Lebanon Army” militias fleeing to the occupied territories.

They sent money to their relatives in Lebanon, while the remaining names are being verified.

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Clear normalization

The law considers that the transfer of funds from the occupied territories constitutes an offense.

 In the past, the Bishop received a warning from the judiciary against the transfer of funds and medicines by wanted persons living in the occupied territories.

money and medicine
money and medicine

He noted that the funds he typically transferred were contributions to the church after promising not to transfer funds from requesting destinations.

The media linked the arrest of the Bishop to the “pressure” on the Maronite Patriarch to change his positions on “the situation in Lebanon the liberation of the legitimacy decision, and the election of a president”.

Maronite Patriarch Mar bechara boutros Al rahi
Maronite Patriarch Mar bechara boutros Al rahi

 Several informed sources confirmed that military justice and army command were under pressure not to keep the Bishop in custody, as this would be an abuse of his position. Therefore, the judge decided to leave him under investigation.

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Recruiting agents for the Mossad

It has been found through investigations and follow-up that Archbishop El Haj had received money from a Lebanese agent fleeing to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

occupied Palestine territories
occupied Palestine territories

The agent had recruited him to work for Mossad and was referred to the military court and punished.

Several sources confirmed that the agencies periodically handed over follow-up models to the judiciary.

In the past year and a half, Bishop El Haj transferred large amounts of funds at a rate of one and a half months, and the “payload” was often more than half a million dollars.

He received repeated warnings from the security services that the money he carried belonged to Lebanese on labor charges.

Some of which carried sentences of more than 15 years in prison, that their sources were questionable and illegal, and that the confiscation provisions applied to them because they came from a “hostile classified State,” but he disregarded all of this and continued to transfer the funds under the pretense that they were “contributions the benefit of the Church”.

Between church normalization and total rejection

Political players, whether near or distant from the church, utilized the incident to portray it as a plot to assassinate Christians and the Maronite Patriarchate.

Christian Right Party Lebanese Forces
Christian Right Party Lebanese Forces

Bishop El Haj, told the judicial and security agencies that he carried monies not only for his subjects but also for the children of other communities.

The setting of the political campaign makes it evident that there is a faction in Lebanon that wants to view normalization with the enemy as normal and consistent with current normalization efforts with some Arab nations.

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To invest the atmosphere in the context of the rationalization of the presidential contest, he also aimed to raise political stimulants against a sectarian backdrop.

Anyone who wishes to fan the flames of unrest by siding with the Maronite Church only serves to increase the church’s influence in the presidential campaign after the parliamentary elections revealed that the forces seeking the presidency lacked sufficient power, neither Christian nor national, to realize their goals.

Conflicting viewpoints teased social media. Some people totally rejected the idea of dealing with the enemy in any way.

While Iran had never interfered in Lebanese affairs, the opposing side remained persuaded that Christians had been targeted and Iran had taken control of the country.

Rachelle Kayrouz
Lebanese writer, interested and focused on Palestine-Syrian affairs and feminism. I wrote in big Lebanese newspapers and websites, I speak English, Arabic, and French fluently