Catholic body Vatican, having the status as a subject of international law and the capacity to enter into diplomatic relations, has signed an accord with Palestine after 15 years of negotiations, thereby formally recognizing the State of Palestine. The accord covers activity of the Catholic Church in the State of Palestine and also aims to improve relations between Isreal and the Palestinians.
Riad al-Maliki, Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority said “For the first time, the agreement includes an official recognition by the Holy See of Palestine as a State, in 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,” and that the “historic” accord enshrined Palestine’s special status as the birthplace of Christianity and the cradle of the monotheistic religions — Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The Israeli Foreign Ministry on the other hand expressed disappointment and called the treaty a hasty step that would jeopardize any prospects for peace.
The Palestinian Authority considers the Vatican as one of the 136 countries to have recognized Palestine as a state, although the number is disputed.