Vatican Officially Recognizes ‘State of Palestine’; Israel Says It Is ‘Disappointed’

An Arab Israeli protester waves a Palestinian flag during a march for the right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled their homes or were expelled during the 1948 war that followed the creation of the state of Israel, near Tiberias in northern Israel, on April 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI
An Arab Israeli protester waves a Palestinian flag during a march for the right of return for Palestinian refugees who fled their homes or were expelled during the 1948 war that followed the creation of the state of Israel, near Tiberias in northern Israel, on April 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

The Vatican has officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty.

The treaty, which was finalized Wednesday but still has to be signed, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.

The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes an official recognition.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to see Pope Francis on Saturday before the canonization of two new saints from the Holy Land a day later.

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Israel says it is “disappointed” that the Vatican has recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty.

In a statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry says the move doesn’t help the peace process and “distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations.”

It says it will study the treaty agreement and will “consider its steps accordingly.”

The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday concerning the Catholic Church’s activities in the region.

SOURCE: Nicole Winfield
AP