• Pope Francis Now Recognizes Palestine as a ‘State’

    Palestine was never an official state, and it may never be. But today’s announcement that the Vatican has officially agreed for the first time to sign a treaty with Palestinian representatives that would refer to them as the State of Palestine, is sure to ruffle some feathers in the region and the world.

    “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” a Vatican spokesman said according to the Associated Press.

    The Pope’s recognition of Palestine as an official state is largely symbolic as it will have next to no affect in a geopolitical sense.

    Here’s more information on the Pope’s announcement from AP:

    The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects.

    The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.

    The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes official diplomatic recognition.

    “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

    The Israeli foreign ministry said it was “disappointed” by the development.

    “This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations,” the ministry said in a text message. “Israel will study the agreement and will consider its steps accordingly.”

    The treaty was finalized days before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visits Pope Francis at the Vatican. Abbas is heading to Rome to attend Francis’ canonization Sunday of two new saints from the Holy Land.

    Again, recognizing “the state of Palestine” is more an emblematic act than it is a decree that would make the Palestinian Authority a legitimate and recognized independent government.

    However there are larger implications that will flow from this move, chief among them is how Israel will respond. If European countries follow the Vatican’s lead, that could cause more turmoil for Israel and other countries in the Middles East.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with Pope Francis later this week.

    Jerome Hudson

    Managing Editor

    Jerome Hudson has written for numerous national outlets, including The Hill, National Review, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was recognized as one of Florida’s emerging stars, having been included in the list “25 Under 30: Florida’s Rising Young Political Class.” Hudson is a Savannah, Ga. native who currently resides in Florida.

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