Pope tells Abbas of hope for Mideast solution

VATICAN CITY Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:02pm EST

Pope Benedict XVI (C) waves during his pastoral visit to St. Patrick Church on the outskirts of Rome December 16, 2012. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Pope Benedict XVI (C) waves during his pastoral visit to St. Patrick Church on the outskirts of Rome December 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Related Topics

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday the Vatican hoped the recent de facto recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations would spur the international community to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Abbas, who is on a tour of Europe to thank countries that supported the November 29 resolution by the U.N. General Assembly recognizing Palestine, held private talks with the pope for about 25 minutes in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

"It is hoped that (the resolution) will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both," a Vatican statement said.

The 193-nation General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the United Nations from "entity" to "non-member state," the same status as the Vatican.

The Vatican welcomed the resolution, which amounted to an implicit recognition of a Palestinian state.

But at the time the Holy See also renewed its call for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem, something which Israel rejects.

Israel captured East Jerusalem - along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip - in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Jewish state now regards Jerusalem as its "united and eternal" capital.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza and agree with the Vatican that the city needs international guarantees.

Israel has always maintained that it already guarantees Jerusalem's special nature as sacred to the three great monotheistic religions - Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but is steadily expanding settlement in the larger West Bank.

The Vatican said the pope and Abbas also discussed the "situation in the region, troubled by numerous conflicts," which was seen as a clear reference to the civil war in Syria.

Abbas later met Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who expressed the Italian government's support for the construction of a Palestinian state, his office said in a statement.

Abbas was also due to meet Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of the Democratic Party, which is widely expected to win national elections early next year.

Italy's centre-left has traditionally supported Palestinians while the centre-right has been closer to Israel.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Stephen Powell)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
Reuters1945 wrote:
“It is hoped that (the resolution) will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both,” a Vatican statement said.”
____________________________________________________________________

The Vatican has always been skilled at averting its eyes from situations from which the Vatican would prefer to maintain a comfortable distance – as the Vatican famously did throughout the Holocaust while my relatives and Six Million other Jews burned.

Are we really to imagine and expected to believe that the Vatican is not absolutely aware that on 28 November 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations overwhelmingly passed a previous Resolution that gave fully one half of then British Mandate Palestine to the Arab Palestinians with the remaining half going to the Jewish Palestinians, for each to build a nation as they thought fit.

But the entire Arab world vigorously rejected the idea of sharing even one square inch of Palestine with the Jews and attacked that small country from every direction with the combined military might of half a dozen well equipped Arab armies.

Now after a long series of subsequent wars launched by the Arab nations to “push the Jews into the Sea”, everyone, including the Vatican wants to pretend the UN never offered the Arabs fully one half of all the land in Palestine on 28 November 1947.

As always, when one does not like history, the easiest solution is to pretend it never happened or better yet, simply rewrite history to fit one’s own agenda.

Unfortunately and indeed most foolishly and certainly most tragically, when the Arabs were offered the chance by all the Members of the UN, on 28 November 1947, to control one half of Palestine, forever, the Arabs rejected that offer.

But apparently the Vatican, despite all its many scholars and expert historians, was never informed of that historical fact.

And no doubt, before the Vatican ever concedes that perhaps it was a grave and rather shortsighted mistake for the Arabs to reject the UN Resolution of 1947, that gave them one half of Palestine without firing a shot, we will see flying pigs passing over Saint Peters Square in Rome.

Dec 17, 2012 2:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures