Op-Ed: Expose: The Vatican - PLO Pact
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.
Several days ago, Israel gave up to the Vatican some sovereignty over the “Hall of the Last Supper” on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, the complex of buildings where David, Solomon, and Jewish kings of Judea, are said to be buried, although that is contested.
Vatican officials then met with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah. The talks were co-chaired by Mgr. Ettore Balestrero, the Holy See’s Under-Secretary for Relations with States, and by Palestinian minister, Ziad Al-Bandak.
The basis for the new Vatican-PLO agreement is a memorandum signed by Palestinian and Vatican officials in 2000 and which repeated the Vatican’s call for an international mandate to preserve “the proper identity and sacred character” of Jerusalem. The Catholic Church wants Israel relinquishing sovereignty at the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.
This is the “Holy Basin” formula, which refers to the area of the “Nobel Sanctuary”, the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and a variety of Christian holy sites which the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton already began reccomending be administered under a “special regime”.
The Obama plan also calls for designating the Old City of Jerusalem as an “international zone”.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, recently asked to place holy places under Vatican authority or “international custody” saying:“The Holy See has always accepted which was set by Resolution 181 on 29 November 1947 - which declared that Jerusalem must be the object of special regime under the auspices of the international community”.
In 1964, when Pope Paul VI made the first papal visit to Jerusalem, the city was divided by barbed-wire and snipers crouched on the roofs. Jews and Christians with Israeli passports were barred from entering the Old City, in violation of Article 8 of the 1949 Armistice Agreement.
At that time, the Vatican ambassador’s residence, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, provided a close look at the razing of over 40,000 Jewish graves in Judaism’s oldest cemetery and where, according to tradition, the resurrection of the dead on the Day of Judgment will happen.
The Vatican never raised its voice to protest against the apartheid imposed by the Jordanians. Israeli leaders asked the Vatican to use its “good offices” to intervene in order to stop the desecration, but during this dark period, the rape of Jewish Jerusalem did not lead to any expression of concern from Vatican diplomats.
The Catholic Church, which has now discovered “rights” in Jerusalem, was totally silent from 1948-1967, when its representatives witnessed the systematic pillaging of the Jewish synagogues.
Once Israel reunited the city, followers of all three monotheistic faiths have been able to worship without restrictions, with the only apartheid the restrictions imposed on Jews on Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount, which though under Israeli sovereignty, is controlled by the Moslem Wakf.
Would a Palestinian flag over Temple Mount in the heart of ancient Jerusalem promote tolerance, or would it have the opposite effect?
If this area came under the control of the Palestinian “security” forces or was put in international custody, how long would it take before the Jews praying there would be pelted with rocks and garbage as occurred in October 1990?
No Israeli government must tolerate any policy of division, “shared control” or “internationalization” that opens the door to a return to the Arab apartheid of Jordanian occupation between 1948 and 1967. The Vatican never raised a cry for internationalization during that time.
The pact between the Vatican and the Palestinians includes a condemnation of “unilateral decisions and actions altering the specific character and status of Jerusalem”. Yet the most blatant unilateral act in recent years has been the illegal construction project on the Temple Mount conducted by the Wakf, the Islamic religious trust.
Instead of making blatantly political agreements with the Arabs, Catholic leaders should cooperate with the Jews and recognize that the only way to guarantee religious freedom is by maintaining the unity of Jerusalem under Israeli sovreignity.
There is a deep reason for Vatican opposition to Israel’s possessing the Old City. The Roman Catholic Church believes Israel’s right to be the Kingdom of God ended forever with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Roman Legion in 70 CE. Israel’s rebirth challenged Catholicism’s “Kingdom of God” when Jerusalem “the eternal” became the capital of Israel in 1967.
The world must ensure that Har Habayit, the Temple Mount, where humanity received the gift of one God, King David raised a sanctuary for the Ark of the Covenant and King Solomon and Herod built the Temples, does not fall into the hands of genocidaires and looters.