LEBANON: Archbishop calls for end to Gaza war to prevent wider conflict

Maronite Archbishop Youssef Souei of Tripoli Diocese in Lebanon.
Maronite Archbishop Youssef Souei of Tripoli Diocese in Lebanon.

With the war escalating in Gaza, a Lebanese archbishop has called on the international community to urgently intervene to end the devastating conflict.

Maronite Archbishop Youssef Soueif, of Tripoli Diocese in Lebanon, urged a just and lasting solution to bring peace to Israel and Palestine during his visit to the international headquarters of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

He warmed that, without a swift and peaceful resolution, the war could drag on for many years to come, threatening to stir up wider conflict in the region.

Calling for an immediate end to the fighting, Archbishop Soueif said: “Let it stop, let this war stop.”

“The international community has an obligation to implement the two-state solution.

“If not, it will be an open conflict for decades, or centuries – with pauses, but an open war – because no one wants to leave their country and their land.”

He added: “We need the intervention of key actors with influence on both sides to stop the violence in Israel and Gaza. People are suffering terribly.”

The archbishop highlighted the war’s catastrophic psychological impact on the Lebanese people – as many fear the conflict will engulf Lebanon and the entire Middle East.

He said: “People are afraid, very afraid. At this moment, in Lebanon, there is no will for a war.

“We had 17 years of war, and people in my country know that violence is not a solution.

“So we hope there is no war. We hope for a diplomatic solution.”

He added: “We know that, in the end, in this geopolitical game, others will make the decisions.”

Archbishop Soueif said that all Catholic parishes and schools in his diocese are praying for peace.

He stressed that he maintains a good relationship with Muslim leaders in his region and has been promoting interfaith initiatives.

The prelate concluded by calling on the international community to support Lebanon and help “restore order and international confidence” in the country that is facing an unprecedented economic and political crisis.

ACN funded more than 200 projects in Lebanon in 2022, including emergency aid, construction, Mass stipends for priests and the formation of seminarians.

The charity has also been providing support for Christian families in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.