His Holiness Aram I stated on the 7th August 2006 in the context of an
interview that: "The military escalation in the Middle East has not only
deepened the conflict, but has also given a new dimension to it. In Iraq,
Palestine and Lebanon one can discern the emerging signs of
inter-confessional and sectarian tensions".
His Holiness strongly criticized Israel's continuing war against Lebanon. He
said: Children, women and elderly becoming wounded, orphaned, homeless and
displaced, innocent people are killed and international community is still
discussing whether a "cease-fire" or "cessation of hostilities" must be
declared. Aram I pointed out that "peaceful negotiations and not
indiscriminate use of force is the way for resolving conflict".
His Holiness questioned "face-value judgments, one-sided approaches and
biased attitudes" that have been put forth as political solutions to the
problems in the Middle East. He asked: "Will the creation of a security zone
in the South of Lebanon solve the conflict in Lebanon? Will Iraq find peace
and unity through its democratically elected government? If the Hamas
government were to recognize the existence of Isreal, would the peace
process regain its momentum?" He suggested that these political solutions
alone would not bring sustainable peace to the region.
Criticizing any short-sighted policy towards the Middle East, Catholicos
Aram I went on to say that he believes that religion could help establish a
permanent and comprehensive peace in the region. He said: "If we read the
signs of the time, we see that the conflicts in the different parts of the
Middle East are deeply rooted in religious, ethnic and idiological
perceptions and convictions".
According to His Holiness, religions must speak out and together act firmly.
He spelled out how the three monotheistic religions, namely Judaism,
Christianity and Islam, can and should play a major role by "1) stopping
violence in all its forms and expressions, 2) promoting mutual understanding
and mutual trust among peoples and communities; 3) working for peace with
justice for all; 4) and challenging and leading communities and peoples of
the region towards reconciliation, through mutual forgiveness and
Source: Catholicosate of Cilicia
Newsletter issue Number # 86, 07 August 2006
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