January 10, 2000
volume 11, no. 6
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


Violence against Christians Escalating

    BEIRUT, JAN 7 (ZENIT).- On the evening of January 3, the body of a 60-year-old Maronite nun was discovered on the grounds of a Beirut university. According to security guards, Sr. Antoinette Zaidan was raped and strangled by Islamic militants. This is just another in a long line of violent acts, which have been escalating in recent months.

    The same day, two Christian women were massacred in northern Lebanon by the Islamist group "Al-Takfir Wal Higra." One of the women was pregnant, and was found hacked to pieces. The New Year opened with a car-bombing in the Christian village of Kolaia. Several churches have been directly attacked, with four attacks occuring in the month of November.

    As Syrian-Israeli peace talks continue, Lebanese Christians worry about the outcome. Israel is to pull out of the security zone in July, leaving the Christians that populate the area alone to face Syria, the Hezbollah, and the pro-Syrian Beirut regime.

    Israel invaded Lebanon in March 1978 and again in June 1982, later pulling back into the so-called security zone (some 10%) of the country. Syria began its invasion from the north in 1976, entering the last free enclave in 1990. The U.N. has called for the pullout of both Syria and Israel, but only the Israelis seem ready to leave. To date, the Israeli forces in southern Lebanon have been the only protection against Syrian aggression for the beleaguered Christians, who are calling for international forces in the area to protect them after the Israeli pullout.

    Mervyn Thomas, CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, stated, "It is becoming increasingly clear that the plight of the Christian minority in Lebanon will become intolerable once Israeli troops pull out of Syria unless preventive action is taken quickly by the international community. Pressure must be put on the Syrian government to respect the conditions of UN resolution 520 and the Taif Agreement, and to withdraw their forces from Lebanon. In the meantime, the international community must look at ways in which it can assist the southern population as they seek to establish the necessary structures for local government." ZE00010721


January 10, 2000
volume 10, no. 6

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