NEW YORK, May 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC regrets the announcement today that the Vatican will recognize the "State of Palestine." The diplomatic move is part of a treaty to be signed this weekend in Rome between the Holy See and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
"Yes, it's a recognition that the state exists," said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.
"Formal Vatican recognition of Palestine, a state that, in reality, does not yet exist, is a regrettable move, counterproductive to all who seek true peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"There is a reason why the U.S., the European Union and others have long agreed that statehood can only be achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," Harris continued. "Meanwhile, the West Bank is ruled by the Palestinian Authority, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, just marked the tenth anniversary of what was meant to be a four-year term, and Gaza is governed by Hamas, a terrorist organization. What and where exactly is the 'State of Palestine' today?"
"We are fully cognizant of the Pope's good will and desire to be a voice for peaceful coexistence, which is best served, we believe, by encouraging a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, rather than unilateral gestures outside the framework of the negotiating table," Harris concluded.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee