Vatican Signs Treaty with 'State of Palestine'
For the first time, the Vatican on Friday signed a treaty with the Palestinians, naming the entity the "State of Palestine" rather than the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Israel strongly criticized the action.
The document governs the activities of the Catholic Church in areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The Vatican officially recognized a Palestinian state two years ago.
Israel's Foreign Ministry called the text of the treaty "one-sided" and expressed regret.
"This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the PA (Palestinian Authority) to return to direct negotiations with Israel," the ministry said in a statement.
"We also regret the one-sided texts in the agreement which ignore the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Jerusalem," it continued. "Israel cannot accept the unilateral determinations in the agreement which do not take into account Israel's essential interests and the special historic status of the Jewish people in Jerusalem."
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotevely warned, "Any attempt by the Palestinians, or any other actor to undermine our historic right to Jerusalem and our country will be met by staunch opposition by us."
Meeting with his Palestinian counterpart in a ceremony in Rome, Vatican Foreign Minister Paul Gallegher signed and sealed the treaty.
Vatican officials say the document signed Friday reflect's the church's support of a "two-state solution" to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
No mention was made about Hamas, the terror group which entered into a unity government with the Palestinian Authority and calls in its charter for Israel's destruction.