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Vatican speaks out against US statement on ‘settlements’

The Vatican spoke out on Wednesday against the United States’ decision to no longer consider Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria illegal.

Without naming the US, the Holy See said in a statement quoted by AFP that “recent decisions … risk undermining further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the already fragile regional stability.”

“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 Vatican said.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria were “not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” breaking with UN Security Council resolutions declaring “settlements” to be illegal.

The policy shift puts the US at odds with virtually the whole of the rest of the international community, and criticism came on Tuesday from the European Union, the United Nations and the Arab League.

Egypt and Jordan, the two Arab countries to have signed peace agreements with Israel, also came out against the US decision.

The Holy See said it supported Israel’s right to live in peace and security within the borders that are recognized by the international community, and supported “the same right that belongs to the Palestinian people, which must be recognized, respected and implemented.”

Pope Francis, who arrived on Wednesday in Thailand ahead of a visit to Japan, has not himself directly addressed the issue, noted AFP.

In the past, however, the Pope has spoken out on the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict. Last year, he called for the implementation of a “two-state solution” to solve the decades old conflict.

The Vatican recognized “Palestine” as a state in 2013. In 2017, the Palestinian Authority (PA) opened an “embassy” in the Vatican. This occurred after an accord between the Holy See and the PA on the establishment of an “embassy” took effect.

Article source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/272016

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