File - PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt arrives at the presidential palace in Baabda, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt Monday defended Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai's recent visit to occupied Jerusalem and Israel, saying regional developments affecting Christians required such a trip.Rai's trip last month to the Holy Land sparked controversy in Lebanon even before the patriarch embarked on it, with some describing it as a "historical mistake".Hezbollah has been particularly critical of Rai's meeting during the visit with former South Lebanon Army members who fought alongside Israel in south Lebanon and fled to the Jewish state in 2000 after the Israeli army withdrew from the area.Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea also defended the trip, saying attacks against Rai were cruel and assaulted national coexistence.Change and Reform bloc MP Nabil Nicolas also expressed support for Rai's visit to the occupied lands, saying it was expected of the patriarch, according to a statement released by his office.
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