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Palestinians welcome Vatican’s recognition of statehood

January 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

The Islamic-Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites yesterday hailed the Vatican’s decision to recognise the State of Palestine.

In a press release, the commission’s Secretary-General Hanna Issa said the existing relations between the Vatican and Palestine have culminated in a historic agreement and the formal recognition of the Palestinian state.

He said he valued the role of the Vatican in preserving the holy city and preventing its Judaisation, praising the efforts of Christian leaders in serving the Palestinian cause, strengthening the presence of Arab Christians in the city of Jerusalem and protecting their rights.

Palestinian Liberation Organisation Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Youssef also welcomed the Vatican’s decision, saying it represents the “religious and symbolic expression of the Christian world.”

In remarks to Quds Press yesterday, Abu Youssef said that “the Vatican’s step will encourage a number of other states to recognise Palestine, and will push them to consolidate relations with it [Palestine] due to its influential position all over the world.”

He emphasised the importance of the decision and its timing in light of the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people and the continuation of the occupation’s crimes. He said that the decision confirms the Palestinians’ right to have an independent state despite what Israel is trying to impose on the ground by means of its military power.

On Saturday the Vatican announced its decision to recognise the State of Palestine as an independent nation.