Israel 'disappointed' Vatican reached agreement recognizing Palestinian state

Vatican officials stress that although agreement was significant, it certainly did not constitute the Holy See's first recognition of the 'State of Palestine.'

By
May 13, 2015 19:55
2 minute read.
pope abbas

Pope Francis (R) meets PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem May 25, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Israel expressed disappointment Wednesday at the Vatican’s announcement that it reached the outline of an agreement with the Palestinians and at the Holy See’s use of the term “State of Palestine” for the first time in an official document.

The agreement, according to a Vatican statement, “deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Both parties, according to the statement, “agreed that the work of the Commission on the text of the Agreement has been concluded, and that the agreement will be submitted to the respective authorities for approval ahead of setting a date in the near future for the signing.”

This agreement between the Vatican and “Palestine,” according to a source in the Foreign Ministry, does not move the peace process forward “and moves the Palestinian leadership further away from returning to direct bilateral relations.”

Israel, the source said, will study the agreement and then decide on its steps accordingly.

Israel and the Vatican have themselves been unable, after some 16 years of glacial negotiations, to sign an agreement that would deal with matters such as the status of the Catholic Church in Israel, the issue of sovereignty over some 21 sites in the country, and taxation and expropriation issues.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet Pope Francis a day before the canonization of two Arab nuns who lived in Ottoman-ruled Palestine in the 19th century.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


While this may have been the first time that the Vatican used “State of Palestine” in an official document, it is not the first time it has referred to the PA as such in press releases and statements.

“We have recognized the State of Palestine ever since it was given recognition by the United Nations and it is already listed as the State of Palestine in our official yearbook,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said.

The Vatican welcomed the UN General Assembly’s resolution in 2012 recognizing Palestine as an observer nonmember state, a move that gave the Palestinians the same status at the UN as the Vatican.

Francis used the term “State of Palestine” during his visit last year.

In a related development, one senior diplomat dismissed as “nothing new” a letter a group of prominent former European officials sent European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urging a significant change in EU Mideast policy.

The group, which calls itself the European Eminent Persons Group, has sent a similar letter each of the past two years as well. The group includes one of Mogherini’s predecessors, Javier Solana, as well as former Spanish foreign minister and Mideast envoy Miguel Moratinos.

The letter asserted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “little intention of negotiating seriously for a two-state solution within the term of this incoming Israeli government,” and that tougher steps should be taken to hold Israel accountable for settlement construction.

One ministry official, who refrained from commenting on the content of the letter, said nonetheless that “it was surprising to see this letter published before the government of Israel was officially established.”

If the Europeans really want to assist the peace process, he said, “they should press the Palestinian leadership to return to the negotiations.”

Jerusalem Post staff and Reuters contributed to this report

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

An old military vehicle can be seen positioned on the Israeli side of the border with Syria, near th
November 16, 2018
Haley: U.S. to oppose UNGA call for Israel to return Golan Heights to Syria

By TOVAH LAZAROFF