The Vatican has officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty that tackles essential aspects of the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestine. While the Vatican has long referred to Palestine as a state, the treaty is the first legal document to be signed by the Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine.
The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine
The Holy See has announced that a plenary session among Vatican and Palestinian officials was held on May 13. The session discussed progress made by the committee tasked to design the text of the said treaty.
“The Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the State of Palestine” has held a Plenary Session in the Vatican, the Holy See said in its announcement. The session was chaired by Mgr Antoine Camilleri, the Under-Secretary of the Holy See’s Relations with States, and by Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Multilateral Affairs of the State of Palestine.
“Taking up the issues already examined at an informal level, the Commission noted with great satisfaction the progress achieved in formulating the text of the Agreement, which deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine,” the statement reads.
The date for the final signing of the treaty is yet to be announced.
State of Palestine exists
The treaty is a recognition that the State of Palestine exists, Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi told The Associated Press.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the recognition from the Vatican is highly significant.
“This is a very important recognition as the Vatican has a very important political status that stems from its spiritual status. We expect more EU countries to follow,” Mr Abbas’ senior aide, Nabil Shaath, told AP.
The United States and Israel have both refused to recognize Palestine as a state. Both nations argue that recognizing Palestine as a state would make it impossible for Israel and Palestine to achieve peace.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry told AP that Israel is disappointed with Vatican’s decision.
“This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations,” the ministry told AP.
The American Jewish Committee has also expressed the same objection, saying that the Vatican’s recognition was “counterproductive to all who seek true peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” The Anti-Defamation League or ADL described the recognition as “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,” ADL’s Abraham Foxman told AP.
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