of Beirut Beirut, 5 August 1947
Mr. Justice Sandstrom,
Chairman, UNSCOP Geneva, Switzerland.
I regret that my absence in Europe coincided with the
visit of the Special Committee on Palestine to the Lebanon, otherwise I
should have had an opportunity to speak and to express my opinion - which
is, moreover, that of the majority of the Lebanese people - with regard to
This is not the first time I have voiced my opinion on
this matter. A lot of ink has already been used and after each of my
complaints the world press has seized upon my words and made ample comment
on everything I said.
Here in the Middle East, which is for the most part
Moslem, if the present Lebanese Government is recognized as having an
official right to speak on behalf of the Lebanese nation, we should feel
disposed to answer and prove that the present rulers represent only
th6mselves and that their so-called official statements are dictated only
by the needs of the moment and by the imposed solidarity binding this
preeminently Christian country to the other Islamic countries which
surround it on all sides and enclose it, volens nolens, in their
By reason of its geographical position, history,
culture and traditions, the nature of its inhabitants and their attachment
to their faith and ideals, the Lebanon has always, even under the Ottoman
yoke, kept itself out of the clutches of the other nations surrounding it
and has succeeded in maintaining its tradition intact.
Palestine, on the other hand, the ideological centre of
all old and Now Testament propaganda, has always been the victim of all
the troubles and persecutions. From time immemorial, anything with any
historical significance has always been ransacked, plundered and
mutilated. Temples and churches have been turned into mosques and the role
of that eastern part of the Mediterranean has, not without reason, been
reduced to nothing.
It is an incontestable historical fact that Palestine
was the home of the Jew and of the first Christians. None of them was of
Arab origin. By the brutal force of conquest they were forced to become
converts to the Moslem religion, That is the origin of the Arabs in that
country. Can one deduce from that that Palestine is Arab or that it ever
Historical vestiges, monuments and sacred mementos of
the two religions remain alive there as evidence of the fact that this
country was not involved in the internal war between the princes and
monarchs of Iraq and Arabia. The Holy Places, the temples, the Wailing
Wall, the churches and the tombs of the prophets and saints, in short, all
the relics of the two religions, are living symbols, which alone
invalidate the statements now made by those who have ogle interest in
making Palestine an Arab country. To include Palestine and the Lebanon
within the group of Arab countries is to deny history and to destroy the
social balance in the Near East.
These two countries, these two homelands, have proved
up till now that it is both useful and necessary for them to exist as
separate and independent entities,
The Lebanon, first of all, has always been and will
remain a sanctuary for all the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.
It was there that the Armenians who escaped extermination in Turkey found
refuge. It was there that the Chaldeans of Iraq found a place of safety
when driven from their country. It was there that the Poles, in plight
from a blazing Europe, took refuge. it was there that the French, forced
out of Syria, found protection. It was there that the British families of
Palestine, fleeing from terrorism, found refuge and protection.
The Lebanon and Palestine must continue to be the
permanent home of minorities.
What has the role of the Jews been in Palestine?
Considered from this angle, the Palestine of 1918 appears to us a barren
country, poor, denuded of all resources, the least developed of all the
Turkish vilayets. The Moslem-Arab colony there lived an the borderline of
poverty. Jewish immigration began, colonies were formed and established,
and in less than twenty years the country was transformed: agriculture
flourished, large industries were established, wealth came to the country.
The presence of such a well-developed and industrious nation, next to the
Lebanon could not but contribute to the welfare of all - the Jew is a man
of practical executive ability, the Lebanese is highly adaptable and, for
that reason, their proximity could only servo to better the living
conditions of the inhabitants.
From the cultural point of view these two nations may
boast that they have as many cultured and intellectual people as all the
other countries of the Near East put -, together. It is not fair that the
LAW should be imposed by an ignorant majority desirous of imposing its
It would not be fair to allow a million advanced and
educated human being to be the plaything of a few interested persons who
happen to be at -the head of affairs, who lead several million backward
and unprogressive people and dictate the LAW as they please. There is an
order in the world, an order which establishes the proper balance. if the
United Nations are really desirous of maintaining this order, it must do
everything possible to consolidate it.
Major reasons of a social, humanitarian and religious
nature require the creation, in these two countries, of two homelands for
minorities: a Christian home in the Lebanon, as there has always been~ a
Jewish home in Palestine. These two centres connected with each other
geographically, and supporting and assisting each other economically, will
form the necessary bridge between West and East, from the viewpoint of
Culture and Civilization. The neighborly relations between these two
nations will contribute to the maintenance of peace in the Near East,
which is so divided by rivalries, and will lessen the persecution of
minorities, which will always find refuge it these two countries.,
That is the opinion of the Lebanese whom I represent;
it is the opinion of this people whom your Committee of Enquiry was unable
Behind the closed doors of the Sofar Hotel you were
able to listen only to the words dictated to our so-called legal
representatives by the lords and masters of the neighboring Arab
countries. The real voice of the Lebanese was smothered by the group who
falsified the elections of 25 May.
THE LEBANON DEMANDS FREEDOM FOR THE JEWS IN PALESTINE -
AS IT DESIRES ITS OWN FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE.
I have the honour to be, etc.,
(Signed) Ignace Mobarat (Mubarak)
Maronite Archbishop of Beirut.