Israel-Vatican relations hit rocky ground

Relations between Israel and the Vatican have hit yet another bump in the road, with officials pessimistic about the outcome of today's meeting to finalise legal and financial status of the Church in Israel.

AsiaNews reports the meeting between the Holy See and the Israeli government, which is to take place today, was supposed to have the accord finalised by tomorrow.

Signed in 1993, the accord must be complemented by juridical and economic agreements to come into effect.

Since then, there have been delays in finalising the agreement which as led to frustration and loss of faith in Israel’s promises.

Msgr Pietro Sambi, nuncio in Washington and former nuncio in Israel and and Msgr
Antonio Franco, the current nuncio to Israel, have expressed their irritation to the international media at the unjustified delays.

This agreement should apply in three areas: Church properties unfairly expropriated or under unfair easements; the services the Church provides to Israeli Jews and Arabs; and the confirmation of tax exemptions which the Church enjoyed before the establishment of the State of Israel and which the United Nations said had to be honoured by the Jewish state when it was created.

Palestinians seek Vatican aid in peace talks
Director of the office of representation to the Holy See of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Shawqi Jabriel Armali has appealed for Pope Benedict to be an "active" Vatican presence in Middle East peace talks.

Zenit reports the Vatican press office confirmed that the Pope received the Palestinian diplomat yesterday, but did not offer any details of the meeting.

The Palestinian diplomat recognised "the important role of the Vatican in the question of Jerusalem's status."

New plenary meeting (and little hope) in Holy See-Israel negotiations (Asia News, 11/102/07)
Palestinian Leader Requests Vatican Presence in Peace Talks (Zenit, 11/102/07)

Holy See optimistic after Annapolis talks (CathNews 05/12/07)
Pope prays wisdom will fuel mid-east peace (CathNews 26/11/07)
International Church Action for Peace in Palestine & Israel (CathNews 12/03/06)
Vatican official has high hopes for Middle East Peace Summit (CathNews 0/06/03)
Bethlehem faces darkest hour, mayor says in Christmas message (CathNews 13/12/06)
Pope spells out Mideast peace wish list (CathNews 03/06/03)
Vatican asks Israel to get serious about peace efforts (CathNews 15/07/03)

12 Dec 2007

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