The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly criticized the Vatican’s announcement yesterday that a Bilateral Commission of the Holy See and the “State of Palestine” has reached an agreement, to be signed soon. The Vatican is apparently recognizing the racist terrorist Hamas-Fatah Arab Palestinian regime as a state. Vatican recognition of such a “Palestinian State” will strengthen the Palestinian Arab leaders’ intransigent refusal to negotiate with Israel; refusal to end hostilities and recognize Israel as the Jewish State; refusal to remove Hamas and other designated terrorist organizations from their unity government; refusal to end their promotion of hatred and violence against Jews and Israel in their media, schools and speeches; and refusal to live in peace with Israel.
The agreement will also harm, rather than help, remaining Christians in PA-controlled territories.
Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein stated:
“The Palestinian Arab State that the Vatican is recognizing will be committed to the Jewish State’s destruction and the murder of Jews, as both the Hamas and Fatah charters proclaim. PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders of the Palestinian Authority have declared that no Jew will be allowed to live in their “state.””
“The PA’s Muslim leaders have also made life so miserable for Christians that eighty percent (80%) of them have left the areas under Palestinian Authority control. The Vatican has made a serious mistake believing that its immoral appeasement of racist radical Muslims who control the Palestinian Authority will make life better for Christians in the Middle East. Radical Muslims are massacring thousands of Christians in the Middle East and Africa. As the great Yale historian Professor Donald Kagan wrote in his classic book On The Origins of Peace and the Prevention of War, throughout 3,000 years of history, we have learned that appeasement always fails.”
“In an era when the greatest danger to the world is the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism, why is the Pope promoting the establishment of a Hamas aligned radical Islamic State? Sovereignty will only provide them with more power and resources to promote their ugly and dangerous anti-Christian and anti-Jewish agenda.”
“This short-sighted and mistaken agreement also painfully indicates a reawakening of historical Catholic enmity towards Jews, which Pope John XXIII sought to end in the early 1960s.”
The Vatican’s action is also in stark contrast to the Vatican’s delay in formally recognizing the State of Israel until 1993, over four decades after the State of Israel’s rebirth and recognition by the United States and countries throughout the world.
Only under Israeli sovereignty have people of all faiths – including Jews, Christians and Muslims –enjoyed access to and protection of their holy places in Jerusalem. Nonetheless, the Vatican has tried to oppose Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem a number of times, and one must wonder whether the Vatican agreement with the “State of Palestine” is another such effort. If it is, it is sorely misguided – because Hamas-Fatah control of Jerusalem would bring an end to all faiths’ freedom of religion in Jerusalem.
Questions also arise as to whether the Vatican’s agreement with the “State of Palestine” will violate the Dec. 30, 1993 Fundamental Agreement Between The Holy See and The State of Israel. Article 2.2 of the 1993 Vatican agreement with Israel states: “The Holy See takes this occasion to reiterate its condemnation of hatred, persecution and all other manifestations of anti-Semitism directed against the Jewish people and individual Jews anywhere, at any time and by anyone.” The Vatican’s entry into an agreement with the terrorist Hamas-Fatah unity government, which preaches hatred of Jews and whose co-governing party’s charter calls for the murder of every Jews throughout the world, appears to violate the Vatican’s 1993 written commitment to condemn persecution of Jews.
Previous Vatican efforts to appease the PLO demonstrate that such efforts are both futile and end up harming Middle East Christians and Jews.
After a Turkish member of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorist group shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, and after years of PLO attacks in which the PLO slaughtered some 40,000 Lebanese Christians, including the 1976 Damour massacre of Maronite Christians, and virtually destroyed the country, the Vatican’s response was appeasement. In September 1982 the Vatican press officer announced that Pope John Paul II “was disposed to meet Yasser Arafat … regarding the sufferings and rights of the Palestinian people of which the pope has spoken recently.”
Julius Berman, who was then chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, aptly stated: “The embrace that the pope gave to this murderer of children was taken by the world to confer legitimacy on him, and exploited by Arafat to that end.” The pope’s conferral of legitimacy moreover placed pressure on Israel to agree to the disastrous Oslo accords with the PLO.
On October 26, 1994, the Vatican and PLO established official relations. A PLO-Vatican Agreement signed on February 15, 2000 required the PLO to protect “the equality of human and civil rights of all citizens, including specifically, inter alia, their freedom from discrimination, individually or collectively, on the ground of religious affiliation, belief or practice.”
However, the PLO, PA and Hamas have never protected Christians’ rights, either before or after the papal embrace in 1982 or the PLO-Vatican agreement in 2000.
Italian journalist Giulio Meotti reported in a 2012 article entitled Bethlehem’s Last Christians:
“Since the first Intifada, Palestinian Christians created a Muslim-Christian unity to portray Israel as the aggressor, colonizer and invader. They [Christians] thought that the Islamic-Christian front against Zionism would help secure their position in the Arab world. Indeed, Arab Christians, and especially their judeophobic clergy, have been in the vanguard of the battle for the destruction of Israel. It was a political operation that also served to cover the crimes committed against Christians by the PLO and the Islamic groups: forced marriage, conversions, beatings, land theft, fire bombings, commercial boycott, torture, kidnapping, sexual harassment, and extortion.
The latest victim has been the Baptist Church in Bethlehem, which the Palestinian Authority just declared as illegitimate, as the US church’s message of reconciliation flies in the face of the hateful propaganda permeating Palestinian society.”
Meotti also described PLO fire-bombings of Palestinian Christian shops; Hamas’s murder of the owner of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore; Muslim Palestinians’ harassment of Christians with slogans such as “Islam will win” and “First [we kill] the Saturday people [the Jews] then the Sunday People [the Christians]” painted on churches; PLO flags draped over crosses; PLO murders of Palestinian Muslims who convert to Christianity; how Arafat turned Bethlehem “into a safe haven for suicide bombers” and took over the Greek Orthodox monastery; desecration of Christian cemeteries and convents; PLO terrorists turning Christians into human shields; and the dramatic flight of Christians from Palestinian Arab controlled areas.
In 1982, Conference of Presidents Chairman Julius Berman stated: Pope John Paul II’s “opposition to arms and violence of all kinds, especially terrorism and reprisals,’ is well known. Unfortunately, [Pope John Paul II’s] embrace of the archterrorist Arafat vitiates the impact of that opposition, serving instead to encourage rather than deter terrorist behavior.” Likewise today, the Vatican’s embrace of a Hamas-Fatah terrorist Palestinian state will encourage rather than deter terrorist behavior.