BEIRUT — In his homily on Sunday, Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai denounced the failure of the truce between Israel and Hamas and the resumption of hostilities in Gaza, asserting that "no one in Lebanon wants the war to spread to the south [of Lebanon]."
"If the war spreads to Lebanon, no one can predict when it will stop, or what it will bring in terms of destruction and death," Rai stressed, calling on Hezbollah "to be wiser."
"They [Hezbollah] cannot force the Lebanese into a war that does not concern them," Rai said.
Since Oct. 8, a day after war broke out between Hamas and Israel following a Hamas attack that left 1,200 people dead in Israel, according to Israeli authorities, Hezbollah has been engaged in cross-border exchanges of fire with Israel from south Lebanon. So far, more than 100 people have been killed on the Lebanese side of the border, most of them Hezbollah fighters.
The head of the Maronite Church also urged the Lebanese Parliament to elect a president in accordance with Article 49 of the constitution.
"To the deputies, go to Parliament and elect a president in accordance with Article 49 of the constitution, so that the institutions come back to life," he said, inviting MPs to concern themselves with the fate of the state and the people rather than their personal interests.
"Not electing a president and sealing off the presidential palace for almost a year and two months is a crime. It is also proof of the disintegration of constitutional institutions and public administrations, and of the chaos and corruption that are distorting Lebanon's image," Rai said.
Lebanon has been without a president since Michel Aoun's term in office ended on Oct. 31, 2022. Repeated attempts by Parliament to elect Aoun's successor have ended in failure.