Vatican Calls Jerusalem Holy After Pope Francis Met Palestinian president Abbas

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Pope Francis (R) is shown with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican
Pope Francis (R) is shown with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican

The Vatican stressed the sacred nature of Jerusalem on Saturday as the Palestinian leader warned that prospects for peace could suffer if the incoming Trump administration goes ahead with plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The developments came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis and inaugurated the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

Abbas said he had only heard through news reports of the proposal by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

The Palestinians strongly oppose the embassy move, saying it would kill any hopes for negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and rile the region by undercutting Muslim and Christian claims to the holy city.

“We hope that this news is not true, because it is not encouraging and will disrupt and hinder the peace process,” he said. He urged Trump to open a dialogue with both Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump hasn’t yet laid out a clear Mideast policy, but has signaled he will be more sympathetic to Israel’s hard-line right than previous administrations.

In Paris on Sunday, the French government is hosting a Mideast peace conference attended by dozens of foreign ministers to show Trump’s administration that most of the world wants a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians and is fed up with decades of conflict.

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character. In its communique after the Abbas meeting, the Holy See didn’t refer to Jerusalem by name but said during the talks “emphasis was placed on the importance of safeguarding the sanctity of the holy places for believers of all three of the Abrahamic religions.”

During the meeting, Abbas presented Francis with gifts recalling Christianity’s birthplace in the Holy Land, including a stone from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and documentation about the ongoing restoration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

After the papal meeting, Abbas formally inaugurated the new Palestinian embassy across the street from one of the main gates of Vatican City. He pulled back a curtain revealing a plaque and extended the Palestinian flag from a flagpole outside a window.

The embassy, located in the same building as the embassies of Peru, Ecuador and Burkina Faso, comes after recent accords in which the Vatican formally recognized the “State of Palestine.”

“This embassy is a place of pride for us and we hope all of the countries of the world will recognize the state of Palestine, because this recognition will bring us closer to the peace process,” he said.

Abbas had initially accepted an invitation to be in Paris on Sunday, but French officials say that visit has been postponed.

NY TIMES

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6 responses to “Vatican Calls Jerusalem Holy After Pope Francis Met Palestinian president Abbas”

  1. PA Welcomes Paris Summit Concluding Statement, Calls on France to Recognize Palestine
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/LIVE-1.764993

  2. No dedicated article on the opening of the Palestinian Embassy at the Vatican Ya-Zionist-Wahhabi?

    1. Je ne pense pas.. pas de Chrétiens ..ah ne m’en parles pas quel Bordel..

  3. 1. Jerusalem has been the capital city of the Jewish people (but no one else) for 3,000 years, including both ancient Israel and current Israel.  There were caliphates based in Medina, Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo–never in Jerusalem.

    2. Jews lived in Jerusalem for 1,700 years before the Arab conquests in the Seventh century.

    3. Jerusalem is mentioned 641 times in the bible and 0 times in the Koran.

    4. Jewish legal rights to Jerusalem (and even all of Judea/Samaria) were “irrevocably” recognized in the San Remo conference of 1920 by unanimous agreement of the 51 members of the League of Nations.  Moreover, for the past 150 years, Jews have been the majority population in Jerusalem.

    5. Jews were ethnically cleansed from eastern Jerusalem when they were attacked by 5 Arab armies in 1948.

    6. Without Israeli security control that exists today, Jerusalem would descend into chaos, with rival militias battling each other like in the Gaza Strip.  This would make life intolerable to residents and tourists alike.  In 1949, 25% of Jerusalem Jews fled when exposed to random sniper fire from the Arab Legion.

    7. Unified Israeli control of Jerusalem is crucial for the IDF, as it requires a secure route during wartime to move soldiers/equipment to the eastern border, along Jordan River.

    8. Israeli Arab residents in Eastern Jerusalem enjoy social security and health insurance benefits valued at about $10,000 per annum. Removing such benefits and moving this population over to a tyrannical regime (PA or Hamas) is both unethical and immoral.  It also violates the wishes of the majority of Arabs in eastern Jerusalem

    9. If Israel were to irrationally allow the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state, the PA would not protect the Christian population or religious sites, as witnessed by the PA’s persecution of Christian Arabs in Bethlehem.  The Jewish sites would also not be protected, as seen in Joseph’s tomb in Nablus (Shechem) and the synagogue in Jericho.  Between 1948-1967, fifty nine Jewish religious sites were destroyed by the occupying Jordanians.

    10. PA control over eastern Jerusalem would create a “magnet” for Sunni terror organizations (Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda/Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Shiite or Shiite-funded terror organizations (Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas) to undermine and then take over, as in Lebanon, Gaza, and now Egypt.  In fact, Jerusalem would become the focus of the rivalry by these two worldwide terror organizations.  Hamas is now formally a partner for the second time of Fatah in the PA.  Hamas actually hosted al-Qaeda groups in Gaza since 2006.

    11. The increased hostilities, guaranteed to be created by the inevitable war, would lead to unnecessary tensions worldwide between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

    12. The division of Jerusalem is not in the interests of Israel, US, EU, PA, or local Arab residents.  It is only in the interests of Iran, thereby aiding its goal of world domination.

  4. Christians in Bethlehem have been cursed and spat upon by Muslims. They have been beaten for eating in restaurants in violation of Ramadan, the Muslim month of day-time fasting. Islamic sharia law has been imposed in the curriculum for Christian children in public schools. Christian women have shunned modern Western garb to avoid being attacked for immodesty. Christian men have grown beards so they will be mistaken for Muslims.

    There is widespread bias against Christians in the Palestinian Authority’s civil service hiring and promotion, as well as in the private sector. Church lands have been expropriated and mosques erected on them. Christians have been forced to sell historic family lands to Muslims at ridiculously low prices. Palestinian Authority officials have been exposed for taking bribes to record forged land deeds naming Muslims as property owners.

    Arafat did his best to project a gracious ‘fatherly’ image to his people, while concealing his central role in stirring street violence and terrorism against Israel. It was this violence and terror which began to discourage pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Even before the second intifada erupted, young Muslim thugs had begun preying upon, harassing, intimidating, and sometimes mugging tourists. Year by year, fewer tourists and worshippers took the trouble to visit Bethlehem. Israeli security checks were also slow and tedious, dissuading pilgrims even more. The nadir for Bethlehem came around 2003, when Hamas elements decorated Christmas trees in Manger Square with the images of Palestinian “martyrs” who had carried out suicide bombings.

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