By His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP
Primate, Antochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, July 31, 2006
Cana (modern spelling is “Qana”) is a little village in South Lebanon which was blessed by the presence of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, his Holy Mother and his disciples. Cana is the village where Christ performed his first miracle by changing the water into wine at the marriage feast. ( John 2: 1-11). Thus, Cana is deeply rooted in our Christian history.
Unfortunately, in modern times and due to the conflict between Israel and Arab nations, including Lebanon, Cana has been the victim of Israeli aggression twice: once in April 1996, when an Israeli rocket killed 105 Lebanese men, women and children. And second, on Sunday morning, July 30, 2006, when an Israeli rocket killed 60 people, including 37 children. This indiscriminate killing is against the Geneva Convention, the United Nations Charter and all laws of civilized nations.
This savage war is between Israel and Hezbollah. Lebanon has no air force, no navy and no large military force.
As a matter of fact, the Lebanese army is not involved in this war at all. This war, then, is between Israel and Hezbollah. Why is Israel bombing Lebanese cities, villages, bridges, roads and killing innocent men, women and children – in the south and north, east and west of Lebanon? According to UN statistics, more than 800 civilians have been killed, many of them children, and more than 800,000 Lebanese have been made refugees in their own country. Israel knows very well where Hezbollah is. Why doesn’t Israel fight Hezbollah on its own turf? Why is Israel bombing civilian cars, motorcycles and pickup trucks carrying food for hungry people and medical supplies for the wounded? Lebanon is a poor country; the devastated infrastructure will cost billions of dollars to rebuild.
We deplore the killing and destruction on both sides. We know that Hezbollah has some weapons which are causing some unfortunate killing and destruction in Israel. But Hezbollah does not have American weapons such F-16s, F-15s, Apaches and smart bombs, etc…
When I saw the Lebanese Red Cross retrieving the tender dead bodies of little children from underneath the rubble and I looked at their innocent faces and iconic eyes, I wept. I was indeed ashamed to see the extent of the cruelty and barbarism of our world. This morning, when the Lebanese Broadcasting Company showed pictures of the city of B’int-Jbeil which was completely leveled by the Israeli air force, I was reminded of the destruction of Stalingrad and Berlin during the Second World War. We and the whole world, with the exception of the United States, Great Britain, and Israel, are calling for an immediate cease fire. If we allow the law of the jungle to prevail, and if we allow our moral principles to be trodden on by barbarian feet, what will be left of our civilization?
The behavior of Mr. Ehud Olmert in this war reminds me of the behavior of his ancestor of old, Joshua, recorded in the Book of Joshua 6:21. “And they (Joshua’s army) destroyed all that was in the city (Jericho) both man and woman, both young and old, and ox, and sheep and ass with the edge of the sword.” Thanks to Mr. Olmert, nothing is left in B’int- Jbeil except some starving dogs feeding on corpses.