The Vatican formally entered into its first treaty in history with the “State of Palestine” today. The new treaty deals with properties belonging to the Catholic Church which are located in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
The treaty, which recognizes Palestine as a nation, was agreed to in May. At the time, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi stated, “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists.”
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Vatican officials said at today’s signing that they hope the new treaty and recognition of Palestine will hope to further the Middle East peace process.
Israel is obviously not happy with the move. Its Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, “This hasty step damages the chances of reaching a peace agreement and harms the international effort to convince the Palestinians to return to the negotiations table for direct talks with Israel.”