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 acceptance?.
Source: Catholicosate of Cilicia
Newsletter issue Number # 86, 07 August 2006