Vatican Appears to Rebuke New US Policy on West Bank Settlement

This March 25, 2019, file photo shows houses in the Israeli settlement of Ariel, in the central West Bank. Israel’s government went on a spending binge in its West Bank settlements after the election of President Donald Trump, according to official data obtained by The Associated Press. Both supporters and detractors of the settlement movement have previously referred to a “Trump effect,” claiming the president’s more lenient approach to the settlements would result in additional West Bank construction. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP)

In what appears to be a rare public rebuke of U.S. foreign policy, the Vatican issued a statement Wednesday (Nov. 20) reaffirming its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling on Israel to reside “within the borders recognized by the international community.”

The communique follows this week’s controversial announcement that the U.S. government is reversing its decades-old position that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are “inconsistent with international law.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that he instead preferred to refer to such settlements as “ill-advised,” as former President Ronald Reagan once did.

The Vatican statement referred to “recent decisions that risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

“The Holy See reiterates its position of a two-state solution for two peoples, as the only way to reach a complete solution to this age-old conflict.”

The statement then makes a pointed reference to Israel’s borders.

“The Holy See supports the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security within the borders recognized by the international community,” reads the statement, first reported by National Catholic Reporter.

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Source: Religion News Service