BEIRUT: The conspiracy to divide the Middle East into sectarian states is still alive, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai warned Saturday, saying it was being used to justify Israel’s presence as a Jewish state.
“The project of the new Middle East is not dead, but it is in play in light of what we saw of the Arab Spring, which did away with popular movements and replaced them with radical organizations,” Rai said during his meeting with a Christian-Muslim delegation from the Bekaa Valley, Wadi Khaled and the Hermel-Baalbek district.
“The goal is to divide the Middle East and create sectarian states so that Israel can live in peace and give itself the justification to be a Jewish state.”
The delegation handed Rai a “national document to strengthen coexistence and civil peace,” covering 12 points to build a better country that embraces all of its citizens and to confront the takfiri movement and Israeli threats.
Rai said Lebanon was confronting the conspiracy to serve a blow to coexistence, saying Israel succeeded in inciting Sunni-Shiite strife “but we are still betting on the wisdom of many that promotes nationalism instead of sectarian thinking.”
The prelate also repeated his criticism of lawmakers for their inability to elect a new president to replace former President Michel Sleiman, whose term ended on May 25.
“A republic without a president is similar to a body without a head,” he said. “We will not allow [the lawmakers] to cut off Lebanon’s head and deny us the right to have a president.”