Vatican cautions Israel over West Bank annexation plan

Archbishop Paul Gallagher

Archbishop Paul Gallagher

Source: Vatican News

The Holy See has once more expressed support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem for peace in the Holy Land and called for Israel to respect international law.

The Vatican press office said it was issuing the statement after Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister, received a phone call from Saeb Erekat, Chief Negotiator and Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, informing the Holy See about recent developments in the Palestinian territories and the news that Israel was planning to apply its sovereignty unilaterally to part of those territories - further jeopardising the peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz reached an agreement to form a coalition government, and Netanyahu was sworn in again as prime minister on May 17. Netanyahu has promised to bring a proposal to the new government as early as July 1 to annex the land on which some 130 illegal Jewish settlements are built in the West Bank, settlements the UN Security Council has declared a "flagrant violation" of international law.

The press office said on Wednesday: "The Holy See reiterates that respect for international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, is an indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side in two States, within the borders internationally recognised before 1967."

"The Holy See is following the situation closely, and expresses concern about any future actions that could further compromise dialogue."

The statement concluded saying that the Holy See hopes that "Israelis and Palestinians will be soon able to find once again the possibility for directly negotiating an agreement, with the help of the International Community, so that peace may finally reign in the Holy Land, so beloved by Jews and Christians and Muslims."

Tags: Holy Land, Palestine, Annexation, Netanyahu, Israel, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Saeb Erekat, Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz

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