Vatican recognizes state of Palestine in new treaty

Pope Francis welcomes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, as he arrives at the Vatican, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca, Pool)

Pope Francis welcomes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, as he arrives at the Vatican, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca, Pool)

Jerusalem says move not conducive to peace, will consider ‘next steps’ after Holy See announcement ahead of weekend meeting between pope, Abbas

(SOURCE)   The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty Wednesday, drawing criticism from Jerusalem.

The treaty, which was finalized Wednesday but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.

The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state.

But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition.

“Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Israeli officials criticized the Vatican announcement.

“We’re disappointed by the decision taken by the Holy See. We believe that such a decision is not conducive to bringing the Palestinians back to the negotiating table,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel.

“Israel will study the agreement and consider its next steps accordingly,” a brief statement from the ministry said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is due to see Pope Francis on Saturday before the canonization of two new saints from the Holy Land a day later.

The text of the treaty “deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine,” a Vatican statement said Wednesday.

“Both Parties 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.”

The Vatican has been referring unofficially to the state of Palestine for at least a year.

During Pope Francis’ 2014 visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican’s official program referred to Abbas as the president of the “state of Palestine.” In the Vatican’s latest yearbook, the Palestinian ambassador to the Holy See is listed as representing “Palestine (state of).”

The Vatican’s foreign minister, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, acknowledged the change in status, given that the treaty was initially inked with the PLO and is now being finalized with the “state of Palestine.” But he said the shift was simply in line with the Holy See’s position.

The Holy See clearly tried to underplay the development, suggesting that its 2012 press statement welcoming the UN vote constituted its first official recognition. Nowhere in that statement does the Vatican say it recognizes the state of Palestine, and the Holy See couldn’t vote for the UN resolution because it doesn’t have voting rights at the General Assembly.

The Vatican’s efforts to downplay the move seemed justified given the swift condemnation of the development by Israeli groups: The American Jewish Committee said it was “counterproductive to all who seek true peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” The Anti-Defamation League said it was “premature.”

“We appreciate that the Vatican’s basic intention is to promote Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, but believe that this diplomatic recognition will be unhelpful to that end,” the ADL’s Abraham Foxman said.

The 2012 UN vote recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state, made up of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

The Palestinians celebrated the vote as a milestone in their quest for international recognition. Most countries in Africa, Asia and South America have individually recognized Palestine. In Western Europe, Sweden took the step last year, while several parliaments have approved non-binding motions urging recognition.

This isn’t the first time that the Vatican under Francis has taken diplomatic moves knowing that it would please some quarters and ruffle feathers elsewhere: Just last month, he referred to the slaughter of Armenians by Turkish Ottomans a century ago as a “genocide,” prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

5 thoughts on “Vatican recognizes state of Palestine in new treaty

  1. Pingback: Vatican recognizes state of Palestine in new treaty | End Times News

  2. Our God of the Universe is the ONLY One that can divide, separate or give His land to anyone. No mortal representative can take it upon himself to do so.
    ? has he read the Holy Scriptures which states in Ezekiel 37:21-22 – “Then say to them, “Thus says the Lord God: Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; (22)”and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again”. Woe, woe to anyone tampering with the will of God.
    May Our Lord continue to bless Israel and all its people, including spiritual Israel. God bless.

  3. It’s amazing SweetJava, absolutely amazing! The Vatican is surely not supporting the God of the bible, the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, the Great “I AM”. The rapture of the church just may be much closer than we think! God bless!

  4. This is very disturbing. This pope is very radical and most of his stances are not supported by how God has commanded us to live. I truly hope he is not being used by satan to usher in a peace treaty and the tribulation. His false teachings are confusing to many Catholics I know as they go against years of what they have been taught. I pray this will shake up the catholic church and instead of being deceived they will find the truth.

  5. It is disturbing Rebecca, yet for me it is exciting. This is another sign that Jesus Christ is returning soon! This Pope has shown some of his true colors and I think this is only the beginning. How about his uniting the major religions of the world to pray together at the Vatican! Sounds like a “One World Religion” forming to me!

    As I see it, the Catholic church does many things already which go against biblical teachings. Such as praying to the saints to access our Father in heaven. The bible clearly tells us that there is only one mediator between man and God, and that is Jesus Christ, not saints or Mary! The Catholic church also declares who is a saint and who is not, yet the bible tells us that once we are born again then we all become saints, priests, and kings of God Almighty! Where did they ever come up with praying to saints? Even angels in the bible say do not worship me for you should only worship God, then why do Catholics worship saints? And if they are not worshiping saints, then why do they pray to them? If they pray to them then they are making them “god-like”, Omniscient and Omnipresent!

    As I see it, Catholics have been deceived for thousands of years. There are many more things the Catholic church does that I do not agree, and this Pope is adding to the list! Sadly most of them will continue to believe whatever the Pope says and does! The way I see it, the world treats him as if he is a god.

    God bless Rebecca!

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