Rome- Lebanese media reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas phoned Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai – currently in Rome – to express solidarity after the fire vandalism damaged a part of the monastery of Mar Charbel, in Bethlehem. During the telephone conversation, which took place on Wednesday, September 30, President Abbas said he was on the side of the Maronite Church and confirmed that investigations are underway to identify the author – or authors – of such an act of intimidation.
Patriarch Rai thanked Mahmud Abbas for the funds allocated by the Palestinian government in favor of the restoration of the convent. Early findings of the investigation initiated by the Palestinian police force on the arson attack – according to what was reported to Fides by Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem – confirm the theory of criminal retaliation for reasons of interest, and not that of intimidation with religious reasons. The monastery was set on fire for vindictive revenge in some way connected with the use of the financing arranged for the restoration.
Source: Fides News