Vatican Hails U.N. Palestine Vote, Wants Guarantees for Jerusalem

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Vatican Hails U.N. Palestine Vote, Wants Guarantees for Jerusalem


The Vatican hailed the United Nations' implicit recognition of a Palestinian state on Thursday and called for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem, something bound to be received negatively by Israel, Reuters reports. The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the U.N. from "entity" to "non-member state," the same status as the Vatican. A statement from the Vatican said, "The Holy See welcomes with favor the decision of the General Assembly," and also called for "an internationally guaranteed special statute" for Jerusalem, aimed at "safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, [and] respect for, and freedom of, access to its holy places." It has been some time since the Vatican re-stated its position on Jerusalem so forcefully, and the statement was bound to irk Israel, said a diplomat with direct knowledge of their relations. Israel has always maintained that it already guarantees the city's special nature as sacred to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and has always resisted the concept of any form of international mandate over Jerusalem. Israel declared Jerusalem its "united and eternal" capital in 1980 after annexing East Jerusalem in the Six Day War in 1967; however, world powers have not recognized the annexation. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of an eventual state.

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