Hezbollah clashes with Patriarch Rai over repatriation of Lebanese exiles

hezbollah parade
A parade by the Iranian backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia.

hezbollah paradeHezbollah MP Ali al-Moqdad rejected Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai’s call for reconciliation with Lebanese who fled to Israel

“Some people went to occupied Palestine to convince some agents who withdrew with the enemy’s army in May 2000 to return to Lebanon,” Moqdad said Saturday in criticizing Rai’s meeting with the Lebanese exiled to Israel.

The Hezbollah lawmaker also said that those exiled people “do not take pride in their Lebanese identity, and we do not take pride in them being called Lebanese either.”

On Friay, the patriarch highlighted the plight of exiled Lebanese living in Israel, called for a reconciliation process, and said that “treating Lebanese in Israel as enemy agents is unacceptable.”

In an interview with LBCI TV, the patriarch said that it is time for “reconciliation” with this part of the population, since they are neither “criminals” nor “traitors”. ” Had they fought against Lebanon? Had they fought against the Lebanese state? Had they fought against Lebanese institutions?” Rai asked rhetorically ” They – he added – are Lebanese like others, in fact maybe more so” because they are not the ones who have “impeded the presidential election”, have not created refugees and poverty, nor have they “created an economic and social crisis in Lebanon”. A possible reference to Hezbollah which has impeded the presidential election and created an economic crisis by driving away the tourists and replacing them with refugees from neighboring Syria