Palestine: Violating Vatican Vows

December 28, 2012 by David Singer
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Diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican are set to considerably cool following the Pope granting a private audience to Mahmoud Abbas on 17 December…writes David Singer.

Their meeting came at a time of growing political crisis engendered by the passage of the UN General Assembly resolution on 29 November that reaffirmed

“the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967”

The Pope seemingly overlooked any discussion of the implications of this integral part of the resolution that also recognised the State of Palestine as a non-member observer state in the General Assembly – a view confirmed by the following communique issued by the Vatican

“The cordial discussions made reference to the recent Resolution approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations by which Palestine was recognised as a Non-member Observer State of the aforementioned Organisation. It is hoped that this initiative 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 the negotiations between the Parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both.”

The Pope was apparently unaware that the only matter left  to be negotiated between the parties as a result of “this initiative ” was the timing of the eviction of 600000 Jews currently living in this ” State of Palestine” as defined by the General Assembly.

Abbas had made this racist view very clear on 28 July 2010 when Wafa – the official Palestinian news agency – reported the following remark by Abbas in Cairo:

“I’m willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the agreement, such as Nato forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the Nato forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land.”

Could the Pope have failed to understand that the Resolution also left no room for negotiating the boundaries of this  “State of Palestine” – that the General Assembly had preemptively  determined that it should comprise 100% of the territory won from Jordan by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War?

Would cordial discussions have occurred had the Pope taken the opportunity to urge Abbas to recognise Israel as the Jewish National Home and offer Palestinian citizenship to those Jews who did not want to leave their current homes?

Resumption of negotiations by “the Parties in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both” in such circumstances is a pure pipe dream.

The Abbas audience was a papal faux pas for several reasons.

Firstly  – the Pope should not have blessed the audience with overt political significance by accepting from Abbas the gift of a mosaic of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem bearing the inscription that it was presented to him by “the President of the State of Palestine” – a farcical nomenclature that had only been sanctioned that very day by the Chief of Protocol at the UN – Yeocheol Yoon.

Secondly – the Pope was clearly violating clause 11(2)  of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement Between The Holy See And The State Of Israel which provides:

“The Holy See, while maintaining in every case the right to exercise its moral and spiritual teaching-office, deems it opportune to recall that owing to its own character, it is solemnly committed to remaining a stranger to all merely temporal conflicts, which principle applies specifically to disputed territories and unsettled borders.”

Remaining a stranger to this temporal conflict would have allowed the Pope to escape any criticism as a result of this inappropriate audience.

Thirdly – Article 2.2 of the Fundamental Agreement further avers:

“The Holy See takes this occasion to reiterate its condemnation of hatred, persecution and all other manifestations of antisemitism directed against the Jewish people and individual Jews anywhere, at any time and by anyone”

Failing to condemn the “President of the State of Palestine” during the audience for his known manifestations of anti-semitism makes a mockery of the Fundamental Agreement.

Fourthly – The Pope’s political foray no doubt inspired his own appointed nominee as the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land – the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal – to also make a political statement in his annual pre-Christmas homily.

Archbishop Twal told his followers at his headquarters in Jerusalem’s Old City that this year’s festivities were doubly joyful, celebrating:

“the birth of Christ our Lord and the birth of the state of Palestine. The path (to statehood) remains long, and will require a united effort,”

Archbishop Twal – who was born in Jordan – had told Vatican Radio on 21 June 2008:

“The majority of our priests, nuns, schools families are in Jordan. We need a link to Jordan…,”

That link will certainly not come from the State of Palestine designated by the UN General Assembly – since its realisation is simply not going to eventuate.

Archbishop Twal also told in an interview on 22 June 2008:

“If you want to touch Jews, Muslims, Christians, Jordanians, Palestinians, Cypriots, Europeans all together ..then you have to consider every comma”

The Archbishop would have done well to have remembered this sage advice before uttering his Christmas Eve message – understanding that what he said would not touch at least 600000 Jews – but cause them immeasurable hurt.

Indeed those who are playing charades with the newly crowned President of the State of Palestine are engaging in a world of make believe – where the words and commas in the Mandate for Palestine, the Montevideo Convention, Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, Security Council Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – are apparently no longer worth the paper they are written on.

One can now add the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel to these discarded international agreements.

This does not bode well for any possible peaceful resolution of the long running conflict between Jews and Arabs.

The last Pope to bear Pope Benedict’s name – Benedict XV – enthusiastically endorsed the Jews’ right to reconstitute their national home in what was then Palestine when he told Zionist leader Nahum Sokolov at an audience in 1917 :

“Nineteen hundred years ago Rome destroyed your homeland and when you seek to rebuild it, you seek a path which leads via Rome…Yes this is the will of Divine Providence, this is what the Almighty desires.”

Violating Vatican vows this time round is certainly not going to entice Israel to beat a path to Rome as it continues to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in its ancient, biblical and internationally sanctioned homeland

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network




6 Responses to “Palestine: Violating Vatican Vows”
  1. Leon says:

    Why are we wasting our breath on any of this rubbish. It is simple. Recognise the safe borders and legitimacy of the State of Israel and you can have Palastine. Simple , easy , and logical.Otherwise get lost.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    A very well researched and clear article; congratulations David.

    It is a sad fact that the Vatican is playing politics. Again. Clearly Benedict has a number of agendas, even if one puts the notion of reverting to the Vatican’s role during WW2 out of one’s mind: by turning on Israel, Benedict hopes to safeguard the Christians he know full well are threatened by islamofascits; by sucking up to a President in name only of a clearly observable non-state, his church might recruit more souls from among the third world; by allying the Catholic church with the fake folk of “Palestine”, the Catholic church can have better penetration of third world countries outside mohammedan realms where apostacy results in greatly reduced life expectancy; talking to abu Mazen shows that under this German’s papacy, the Catholic church has lost its shame to be hostile to Jews.

  3. Meqdad says:

    We all want peace, and yet, after more than a century of conflict, the struggle between these two related nations remains more intractable than ever. Why?

    Because each side is entrenched in its own narrative, to the exclusion of the other’s.

    Its faults notwithstanding, one must admit that Israel has taken some steps since the Oslo Accords toward acknowledging the Palestinian suffering. These steps are reflected in school books, in the media, and through other informational outlets. The Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, for instance, are now referred to as “Palestinians,” and most Israelis would like to see a Palestinian state emerge. The fact that Israeli voters don’t reflect these wishes has to do with fears of surface-to-air missiles two miles from Ben-Gurion International Airport, and scarred memories of blown-up buses and pizzerias.

    The Palestinians, unfortunately, have done little to allay Israeli fears. While Palestinians clamor for the removal of onerous checkpoints and barriers, militant attempts to penetrate these barriers and attack Israeli civilians have not ceased at all since the second Intifada. Similarly, school books and speeches, in Arabic, have grown radical, to the point of portraying Israel’s very existence as a crime. Little has been done to acknowledge the Jewish roots in Palestine.

    The fact is that the Jewish presence in Palestine goes much farther back than most Palestinians, as well as Arabs and Muslims in general, would be willing to admit.

    Before 1948, Palestine was ruled by a series of empires. Before that Palestine was Judaea—a Jewish country. Jews have lived in Palestine continuously for more than 3,300 years. “Palestine” was the name given to the Jewish homeland in the second century by the Romans, in an attempt to break the Jewish adherence to the land. This was a century after the Jewish temple was destroyed and more than a million Jews were massacred.

    The Jews stopped fighting the Romans only after they had no more fighting men standing. As Evangelist William Eugene Blackstone put it in 1891, “The Jews never gave up their title to Palestine… They never abandoned the land. They made no treaty, they did not even surrender. They simply succumbed, after the most desperate conflict, to the overwhelming power of the Romans.”

    The Jews persisted through the centuries under the various empires, after the Arab invasion of 635AD (which they fought alongside the Byzantines), and after the Crusade massacres of the 11th Century, which decimated much of their population.

    Few Palestinians realize that Jewish customs, religion, prayers, poetry, holidays, and virtually every walk of life, documented for thousands of years—all revolve around Judaea/Palestine/Israel. For thousands of years Jews have been praying for Jerusalem in every prayer, after every meal, in every holiday, at every wedding, in every celebration. The whole Jewish religion is about Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. Western expressions such as “The Promised Land,” and “The Holy Land,” did not pop out of void. They have been part of Western knowledge and tradition dating back to the beginning of Christianity and earlier.

    After the Crusades, the Jews—including many who have returned over the centuries—lived peacefully with Arabs, often in the very same villages, as in Pki’in, in the Galilee, until the Zionist immigration of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Article 6 of the PLO Charter specifically calls for the acceptance of all Jews present in Palestine prior to the Zionist immigration. These Jews were simply another ethnic group in a region composed of Sunnis, Shiites, Jews, Druz, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Circassians, Samarians, and more. Some of these groups, like the Druz, Circassians, Samarians, and an increasing number of Christians, are actually loyal to the Jewish State.

    Incidentally, genetic studies consistently show that Zionist immigrants (a.k.a., Ashkenazi Jews) are closely related to groups that predate the Arab conquest, like the Samarians, who have lived in Palestine for thousands of year.

    Palestinian denial of these facts may lead to events such as the ones brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” in which actual history and predicted events are thinly veiled as fiction.

    If, as the current Palestinian narrative goes, the Jews are not a people indigenous to Palestine but rather an invading foreign colonialist body, then they must be fought until they are removed from this land. Anything short of that, by any standard, would be injustice.

    Thus, war and bloodshed will continue until the Palestinians start acknowledging the Jewish narrative, and the fact that Jewish roots in Palestine date back thousands of years, long before the Arab invasion.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      Now that’s what I would call history.
      A pity ret. bishop Pat Power wasn’t around to read it, more pressing things on his mind now called to account for his double standards.

  4. Rita says:

    As a Bavarian-born, catholic educated person, I have always defended this Pope against what I thought UNFAIR accusations with regard to his supposedly involuntary Hitler Jugend membership.

    Not any more!

    Herr Ratzinger: your fraternisation with those who want to destroy Israel and annihilate the Jewish people is shameful.

    So many dark shadows of the Nazi past are being conjured up again here: the Goebbels style propaganda, the vilification of the Jewish people, the escalating murderous anti Semitism, the daily physical attacks on Jews in Europe, let alone in muslim countries, the daily rockets aimed at Jewish kindergartens and school buses in Israel, and now even the Vatican is participating in these dirty game???

    Not in my name!

    Shame on the Vatican and shame on you Mr. Ratzinger, I expected better from you.

  5. Lynne Newington says:

    Poor David, the Pope is surrounded by his advisers, and these day’s everyone has to first get past his new right hand man, that means screening who has private audiences.
    The Catholic site The Tablet will give you an insight.
    Besides, the Vatican is well accustomed to dealing with illegitimate situations and legitimizing them with a stroke of his pen, at will.

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