It told the French news agency AFP that the ban would solidify Israel's claim that the entire capital is part of the country. AFP termed the predominantly Arab neighborhoods of the city "occupied east Jerusalem."
The papal representative in Israel, Nazareth native Michael Sabbah, told reporters, "This [partition] wall must not exist. One day it will not exist. The Palestinian people should regain their liberty and land with a state and a capital and the Israeli people should have security."
His statements are in opposition to previous Vatican statements, which have suggested that Jerusalem be established as an international city.
During a recent visit to the Vatican by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Benedict accepted a document granting him unlimited access to Bethlehem, as well as a passport to the city making him "the first citizen of Bethlehem," according to the PA radio network.
Abbas told the Pope, "If we can't hold democratic elections in Jerusalem it will be difficult to do it in the other zones." The Arab League and the PA have seized the issue to put the blame on Israel if the elections are canceled. If Israel backs down and allows Arab Israelis to vote, it would help support the PA demand that the city become the capital of a new Arab state.