Vatican Will Not Recognize Israeli Occupation
13 Jun 2012 by Cindy Wooden
ROME (CNS) — An eventual agreement between
Israel and the Vatican over property taxes and property
rights in no way will imply that the Vatican recognizes
Israels claims over East Jerusalem and the West Bank, a top Vatican official said.
Vatican and Israeli representatives are continuing
their long-running negotiations over the legal and
financial status of Catholic Church property in Israel, but
the Vatican has excluded from the discussion property
located in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, said Msgr.
Ettore Balestrero, the Vatican undersecretary for relations
Prior to the Vatican-Israeli commissions
negotiating session June 12 at the Vatican, news reports
from Israel and the Palestinian territories suggested that
the Vatican would indirectly recognize Israeli control over
the disputed territories by negotiating how Israel would
tax church property, including in East Jerusalem and the
West Bank, which Israel annexed in 1967.
Msgr. Balestrero told Vatican Radio June 12 that
while some of the church properties facing heavy tax
burdens under Israeli law are in the disputed areas, the
Vatican-Israeli agreement would concern only property
located in the territory internationally recognized as
belonging to Israel.
He said the confusion was caused by an improper
use of a working document, which already had been
While the Vatican-Israeli commission said June
12 that significant progress was made toward the
conclusion of an agreement, members said they would
meet again in December in Israel.
The meeting marked a continuation of
negotiations on legal and fiscal issues that remained
unresolved after the two launched full diplomatic relations
in 1993. The Fundamental Agreement between Israel and
the Vatican stipulated that an agreement was to be reached
within two years, but a bilateral permanent working
commission had been trying since 1999 to resolve the
Issues discussed in the talks over the past 13 years
include the extent of tax exemptions for church property,
including church-owned properties not used for worship;
the protection of church properties, especially holy places, from government appropriation; the restitution of some properties that had been confiscated by the government; and church institutions access to the Israeli court system in cases of property disputes.
Tags: Vatican Holy Land Israel Holy See East Jerusalem