Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Ein Gedi Botanic Garden
Seek the serenity of a Judean Desert sky in Autumn at the Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why Worry About Vatican Recognition of ‘Palestine’?

Site where John the Baptist is said to have conducted the rite in the Jordan River. Photo: Hana Levi Julian

May 22, 2014 - Italian journalist Giulio Meotti has written an impassioned op-ed on the Arutz Sheva website this week (May 20, 2014) scoring the Vatican for its impending implicit recognition of the so-called “State of Palestine” due to the itinerary of Pope Francis, set to begin next Sunday. 

His ire is understandable after one performs Google search of the term "Bethlehem" and sees that on a number of Christian travel sites, the Palestinian Authority has already been granted de facto recognition as a sovereign state: what comes up is "Bethlehem, State of Palestine."

The Pope begins his two-day visit to the Holy Land on Sunday, May 25 (the day of Ukraine's presidential elections) with a helicopter flight from Amman to Bethlehem -  where he will be entertained with the usual flourishes provided by officials in the Palestinian Authority.

Far be it from anyone in the PA, much less its propaganda specialists, to avoid co-opting a priceless political opportunity like the visit of the head of the Roman Catholic Church.  Even if his first stop logically takes place at the church erected on the spot where Jesus, the founder of his faith, was born. 

What else could one expect?

So they will drag him here and there, to various photo ops and of course to lunch with the classic “suffering Palestinian refugees” in the Deheishe “refugee camp” which by now has more mansions than the town that I live in -- and which already in 1982 had satellite television long before my neighbors did. They used to keep most of the broken-down shacks lined up for show along the road on the old Route 60 – but since they built the bypass road, I wonder if they even still exist. I hope so – they have to have something for the Holy See to see, after all.

Mr. Meotti writes that history repeats itself, and indeed it does. He is quite right. In 1974 the Vatican “implicitly recognized the Palestinian (sic) Liberation Organization, but not the State of Israel.” For 50 years after its founding, in fact, the Vatican did not recognize the Jewish State, nor was it ever mentioned in any Papal statement prior to the 1980s, he points out. The Vatican had no problem establishing warm ties with the most vicious regimes on earth, however, including that of Nazi Germany – a fact that appears to upset Mr. Meotti very much.

“Apparently, the Vatican considered only the State of Israel undeserving of its recognition,” he writes.

But why on earth would Israel want such recognition? That, I can't understand at all.

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an ancient mikvah -- the ritual pool mandated in Torah for purification -- at the excavation of the Jewish community of Qumrun in the Judean Desert.  Photo: Hana Levi Julian

Why would an ancient Jewish nation, and a reborn Jewish State desire recognition from a Roman Catholic Church that has set itself up as an independent state within a sovereign nation? 

For that matter, why would anyone be surprised by the Vatican’s acceptance of the Palestinian Authority’s violation of the very Oslo Accords that it swore to uphold?

The Vatican’s own sovereign status set the model for that of the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to establish an Arab state within Israel’s borders, hence its support. 

Roman Catholic political anti-Semitism is far from new; it’s just more slick these days, a little more spit and shine. I myself was a victim of that vicious anti-Semitism for years as a child in Hamden, Connecticut. My childhood friends hopefully had no comprehension of the rot they spewed; as a tearful young child I did not understand why they were flinging pennies in the street and hurling epithets about my parents. We were the only Jews.

Acceptance by such an entity would confer acceptance to a brotherhood of evil.

Is that what Israel wants?

Yes, it is good to dwell in peace together – but let it be in true peace, with mutual respect and recognition of the right that each has to exist in the Land. Co-existence, true peace, was written in our Torah millenia ago. 

In Leviticus (Vayikra), parsha (chapter) 19, Kedoshim: 19:34 that point is made clear: The stranger who sojourns with you shall be as a native from among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the L-rd, your G-d.

But a Palestinian Authority state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea?  Or an Arab state within the borders of Israel, backed by Iran and intent to destroy us?

Not bloody likely, even with recognition from the Pope. 

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