In an unusual move, the Vatican summoned both American and Israeli envoys to express the Holy See’s concern about Israel’s plans to extend its sovereignty to large swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Vatican said that meetings between the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, US Ambassador Callista Gingrich, and Israeli Ambassador Oren David took place Tuesday.
Reuters news agency reported, citing senior diplomatic sources in the Vatican, that Parolin met the two diplomats separately.
In the meetings, Parolin conveyed “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”.
In its statement, the Vatican reiterated its support for a two-state solution. “Israel and the State of Palestine have the right to exist and to live in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders,” the statement read in part.
The Israeli government has announced its readiness to annex nearly 30% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and the Jordan Valley, a move that is deemed illegal under international law.
The Israeli government’s decision was largely formulated following the official release of the Donald Trump Administration’s so-called Deal of the Century last January, which allows Israel to seize parts of the occupied Palestinian territories, and grants Palestinians a ‘state’ on the disjointed parts of whatever remains of the West Bank.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle