The Vatican signed a treaty with the “State of Palestine” on June 26. The treaty marks an official beginning to a de facto recognition of Palestine as a nation state.
The Vatican has been treating the Palestinians as if it were a nation state with since 2012, calling for a “two-state” solution in an effort to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Last year, the pope referred to the “state of Palestine” during his visit to the “Holy Land.” The United Nations treats the Palestinians as an observer non-member state, the same as the Vatican. Approximately 135 nations recognize Palestine as a nation state, while 160 recognize Israel.
The new treaty angered Israel, which it said was “a hasty step (that) damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement.” Israel said it could also affect future diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
The Catholic Church engages in political conflicts such as this to increase its stature and so that nations will look to Rome for guidance in resolving conflicts. For instance, the pope was directly involved last year in brokering the historic rapprochement between the United States and Cuba.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican Secretary of State said, “This certainly requires courageous decisions, but it will also offer a major contribution to peace and stability in the region.” While it is not major headline-grabbing news, the treaty essentially places the Vatican at the negotiating table.
The Vatican is particularly interested in increasing its diplomatic role in the Middle East. Placing the Vatican between Israel and the Palestinians changes the dynamics, not only between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also more widely throughout the Middle East. Gallagher said the agreement “may serve as a model for other Arab and Muslim majority countries” with regard to freedom of religion and conscience.
The accord will also benefit the activities of the Catholic Church in the areas controlled by the Palestinians, giving them more freedom of movement and leverage to use in negotiations between the two parties.
The Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Malki said he hoped it would help “recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom and dignity in an independent state of their own, free from the shackles of occupation.”
Global religious and moral influence is the aim of the Papacy in bringing all the world under its control (See Revelation 13).
“And by peace he shall destroy many…” Daniel 8:25