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Parties say Israel-Vatican accord accepts occupation

June 11, 2012 3:43 P.M. (Updated: June 13, 2012 10:42 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian political factions on Sunday condemned a draft economic agreement between Israel and the Vatican, saying it entails the Holy See recognizing Israeli legislation in East Jerusalem and occupied Palestinian territory.

The document outlining an agreement between Israel and the Vatican on legal and fiscal issues has been circulating in different circles, the PLO said in a statement.

By failing to distinguish between Israel and annexed East Jerusalem and Palestinian territory under occupation, the text would see the Vatican indirectly recognize Israel's "exercise of powers and authorities in the occupied Palestinian territories," the PLO said.

The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission of Israel and the Vatican will meet on Monday and Tuesday in Rome on the draft, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

"We trust that the Holy See will clarify the situation and affirm that it will uphold its legal and moral responsibility as a High Contracting Party to the Fourth Geneva Convention," Fatah official Nabil Shaath said in a statement.

Kayed al-Ghoul, a member of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that if the draft is signed it would represent a serious shift in the Vatican's position towards the Palestinians.

Palestinian Liberation Front delegate Adnan al-Ghareeb called on the Vatican to maintain its position towards the Israeli occupation, a statement said.

The Vatican is part of the international consensus which recognizes the Palestinian territories as being under Israeli military occupation, Fatah official Shaath said.

"As such, any agreement with Israel must not jeopardize or undermine this legal fact nor contribute to Israel’s systematic and illegal policies of undermining the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination," he added.
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