Vatican meets with Israeli, US ambassadors, urges against annexation

Pope Francis greets Israeli Ambassador to the Holy See David on the occasion of the presentation of letters of credentials at the Vatican, Oct. 27, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/ANSA via AP)

In an unprecedented move, the Holy See met with Israeli and U.S. ambassadors to express concerns over annexation.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Vatican revealed on Wednesday that it had called upon Israeli and U.S. ambassadors to meet with the Holy See’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin regarding concerns over Israel’s planned extension of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and swathes of Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously announced that annexation would begin July 1st but appears to have been delayed for the time being.

U.S. Ambassador Callista Gingrich met with Parolin on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador Oren David met with the Vatican secretary of state.

Reuters reported that the two meetings took place separately, which wasn’t clear from the Vatican’s statement.

A senior diplomatic source speaking to Reuters said that Parolin vocalized “the concern of the Holy See regarding possible unilateral actions that may further jeopardize the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the delicate situation in the Middle East.”

The Vatican clearly expressed its support for a two-state solution, saying in a statement that “Israel and the State of Palestine have the right to exist and to live in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.”

Parolin reportedly pleaded with Gingrich and David to reopen negotiations with Palestinian officials.

Quoting a 2014 speech from Pope Francis, the Vatican statement asked Israelis and Palestinians “to have the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity.”

The Catholic sovereign city state generally adheres to a policy of neutrality, rarely making overt political statements.

Israel and the Vatican officially established in 1993, with the Vatican opening an embassy in Jaffa.

In February 2013, the Vatican formally recognized the “state of Palestine.”

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