Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi returned to Beirut on Saturday afternoon after his controversial visit to Jerusalem, but rejected to make any statement upon his arrival at the Rafic Hariri International Airport. "Al-Rahi returned to Beirut at 4:30pm on board a private jet coming from the Jordanian capital Amman,” the state-run National News Agency reported.


He was accompanied by his envoy Boulos Sayyah and Bkirki spokesman Walid Ghayyad, the NNA noted. But the same source remarked that the patriarch headed directly to Bkirki without making any statement at the airport, which is contrary to his rituals each time he leaves or returns to the country. However, his latest trip to the occupied Palestinian territories was surrounded with lots of controversy, with many politicians and prominent figures openly announcing criticizing it.


On Friday morning, the Bkirki media office announced also that al-Rahi will not head a mass on Sunday, June 1. The patriarch has repeatedly defended his visit to the Holy Land. [Link]