Abbas Telephones al-Rahi: Your Visit Strengthens Jerusalem's Resistance, Isn't Normalization

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Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas praised on Wednesday evening the Maronite Patriarch's anticipated visit to Jerusalem, considering that it contributes to “strengthening Muslim-Christian coexistence as well as the Arabic identity” of the occupied Palestinian territories.

"We highly appreciate, respect and welcome Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi's visit to the Holy Land and meeting with the city's people,” Abbas said in a telephone call with Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, according to a statement published on the state-run National News Agency.

"This visit contributes to preserving the Arab identity and the resistance of Jerusalem and Palestine,” he expressed.

He continued: “We welcome Palestine's great visitor, the head of the Maronite Church which has a history of preserving Arabic language and culture.”

Addressing al-Rahi, the Palestinian leader said: "We welcome you in your second country. Your visit is not a normalization (with Israel) as those with personal agendas are claiming. They seem to be surrendering to reality by rejecting your visit to Palestine and Jerusalem, explaining that these territories are under occupation.”

"This is your city and that of besieged Palestinians. Our hearts and homes are open to welcome you, hoping that we pay the Lebanese back some of their favors in hosting hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, and in supporting the sacrifices of our people.”

Al-Rahi is expected to travel to the Holy Land to welcome the pontiff during his brief May 24-26 visit.

He would be the first patriarch to do so since the creation in 1948 of Israel, with which Lebanon is technically at war.

Lebanese citizens are banned from entering Israel, but Maronite clergy may to travel to the Holy Land to minister to the estimated 10,000 faithful there.

While some considered the visit a “historical mistake that opens the door for normalization with Israel,” Church authorities have repeatedly assured that it has a strictly religious character.

Al-Rahi declared that it is "his duty" to welcome Pope Francis in Jerusalem.

"I am the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of regions expanding from Turkey to Mauritania, Saudi Arabia and to Iran,” he stated upon his arrival at Rafik Hariri International Airport coming from France on Tuesday afternoon.

"It is my duty to welcome the Pope in any country in these regions,” he explained.

And to those against his visit, the patriarch said they don't have "to accept it."

"Those bothered by my visit, I ask them not to come to Bkirki," he said.


Comments 21
Thumb cedre 07 May 2014, 23:12

first time I agree with Abass... The primate of the Maronite Church is also resposible for the palestinian eparchies.

Thumb cedre 08 May 2014, 01:39

google is ur friend, use it ft...

Thumb cedre 08 May 2014, 01:46

' the Maronite Patriarchs of Antioch, the primate of the Maronite Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches.'

Missing parissa 08 May 2014, 10:59

For god's sake stop arguing with each other and start working together, who need an enemy when we're tearing each other apart?

Missing cedars 08 May 2014, 14:11

Everyone is allowed to visit now because Abbas made peace with Hamas. This is like m8 and m14 making peace. Before Abbas was a bad guy because he did not agree to extremism-Hamas, now he is a cool dude.

Thumb Tony.Farris 07 May 2014, 23:31

I was hoping he does more than that. lol

Thumb cedre 07 May 2014, 23:57

he would do more than that, he would tell HizbIran to get lost, to mind its business and not use the palestinian cause for its interests.
But palestinians in Syria and lebanon are too vulnerable...

Thumb Chupachups 08 May 2014, 00:04

Syrians out Syrians out

Palestinians out Palestinians out

Hezbollah and Aoun better behave or they
Will be out too

Missing VINCENT 08 May 2014, 01:10

From time to time, one needs to learn when to keep his/her mouth shut.

Thumb Chupachups 08 May 2014, 01:12

Well I see ur point.

But in lebanon everybody enters as they please. With or without blessings. We are a carpet mat

Missing coolmec 08 May 2014, 01:52

Hey Vincent
when Lebanon is stuck with 2 million Syrian refugees, plus 1 million bangla desh, srilankns soudanese etc.. this is not the time to keep our mouth shut. On the contrary this is the time to open our mouth and tell everyone enough is enough it is time we take our country back and open our mouth tell these refugees go home. we cannot be a center for 3rd world refugees while we have 12 million Lebanese living abroad

Missing VINCENT 09 May 2014, 03:04

Coolmack: My comment about knowing when not to speak narrowly relates to underlying issue in this post in connection with the Maronite Patriarch's visit to Holly Land. Since some skeptics want to paint the visit political in nature (whether in fact it is or not I am not making a judgment) and undermine whatever good that potentially may come out of the visit, it is better if Palestinian political leaders keep their mouths shut and manage their affairs behind the scenes so not to jeopardize the desired result of the visit. Other than that, I agree with you 100% in above.

Missing coolmec 08 May 2014, 01:54

I saw many bangla deshi, srilankans pregnant our society due to 3rd world influx is a ticking bomb ready to explode
that is not yet mentioning the amount of cash or remittances these refugees are sending back home and taken away from our economy\
so do the math see how much cash outflow is actually taking place then tell me if we should remain silent

Thumb cedre 08 May 2014, 02:51

lol, a lebanese guy against remittances and refugees...

Missing coolmec 08 May 2014, 01:56

I live in Badaro on sami el solh blvd\
well guess what I have several Syrian families and bunch of sri lankans as neighbors half of them are pregnant
no thanks

Thumb cedre 08 May 2014, 15:26


Default-user-icon ROBERTO (Guest) 08 May 2014, 04:42

resistance bla bla bla .........When these people are going to grow up?

Missing national.pact 08 May 2014, 04:51

no body has the right to stop the patriarch from doing such trip especially that he made it clear that he will not hold any meetings with politicians and such move will be more of a Fnger to Israel by Lebanon as our most powerful Religious figure will be stepping in Palestine and blessing its Arab Christian Citizens thus declaring Israel illegitimate! Thumbs up to RAHI and if any politician wana comment they rather comment their illegitimate Parliament which has been extended and the repercussions of their corruption that is leading the country to great Chaos...

Missing phillipo 08 May 2014, 09:13

"he made it clear that he will not hold any meetings with politicians"
Nice to know that even he knows that Abbas is not a politician.

Missing cedars 08 May 2014, 14:07

Stainless get over the rent dude.
And pay up.

Thumb kanaanljdid 08 May 2014, 15:48

According to Israel, ALL MARONITES can visit Israel easily, but not according to Lebanon which forbids its citizen to travel there.