'Welcomes With Favour' UN Decision; Renews Appeal for Special Status for Jerusalem
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A communiqué from the Holy See says that today's United Nations vote recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a non-member state is not a "sufficient solution" to the problems of the region, since there must be an "effective commitment to building peace and stability, in justice and in the respect for legitimate aspirations, both of the Israelis and of the Palestinians."
Still, the Holy See "welcomes with favour the decision of the General Assembly by which Palestine has become a Non-member Observer State of the United Nations," the statement affirmed.
The vote was 138 in favor, nine against and 41 abstentions, with the United States and Canada among the nations to oppose the move; the UK abstained.
The Holy See statement affirmed its neutrality between the parties. It also called for placing the vote "within the context of the efforts of giving a definitive solution, with the support of the international community," to the 1947 UN Resolution 181, the "juridical basis for the existence of two States, one of which has not been constituted in the successive 65 years, while the other has already seen the light."
The Holy See recalled the Pope's appeal for peace and for the two-state solution from a 2009 speech at the end of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
"Let it be universally recognized that the State of Israel has the right to exist, and to enjoy peace and security within internationally agreed borders. Let it be likewise acknowledged that the Palestinian people have a right to a sovereign independent homeland, to live with dignity and to travel freely. Let the two-state solution become a reality, not remain a dream," the Holy Father said on that occasion.
The Holy See statement recalled its various appeals inviting "the leaders of the two Peoples to restart the negotiations in good faith and to avoid actions, or the placing of conditions, which would contradict the declarations of goodwill and the sincere search for solutions which could become secure foundations for a lasting peace."
It further noted appeals to the international community, to increase its commitment to peace and to encourage creativity. "Peace needs courageous decisions," the statement declared.
The Holy See concluded by saying today's vote is a good occasion to recall its 2000 Basic Agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, "intended to support the recognition of a internationally guaranteed special statute for the City of Jerusalem, and aimed, in particular, to safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, respect for and freedom of access to its Holy Places."