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Palestinian Embassy Opened in the Vatican

Palestinian Embassy Opened in the Vatican

ByMei Manuel February 18, 2017
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The National Catholic Register reported that a new embassy for the Palestinians has been opened at the Vatican. The opening comes after an agreement signed by the Vatican and Palestinian leaders in 2015. The move is partially symbolic, given that there is currently no State of Palestine but it remains a goal of some Palestinian politicians.

It was possible to open the Embassy because the Vatican is not only the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, it is also a small state in its own right, which means it can agree its own diplomatic arrangements without fearing issues with other countries.

Around two per cent of the Palestinian population is Christian - and there are significant Roman Catholic sites within the Palestinian territories, including Bethlehem.

Israel has discouraged unilateral moves to extend statehood-like arrangements to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Donald Trump's new administration has been unclear on the position the US will take regarding the possibility of a Palestinian State alongside an Israeli state.

It seems unlikely that any moves towards full statehood will begin in the near future for the Palestinians. Regardless, Issa Kassissieh, the Palestinian ambassador to the Holy See, called the opening of its newest embassy in the Vatican "a significant achievement for the Palestinian people."

The Vatican's relationship is with the Palestinian Legislative Council, based in the West Bank. It is said to have no relationship with Hamas, which runs Gaza.


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