ARAB-VATICAN RELATIONS - Nov. 17 - Pope Urges Restraint.
In 1999, ties were rattled by an Israeli decision to allow Muslims to build a mosque in Nazareth next to a Christian holy site. In February 2000, the Vatican signed a pact with the Palestinians that guaranteed access to Christian holy sites and expressed solidarity with Palestinians, "who are still waiting to see their legitimate aspirations realised". Israel reacted angrily to that agreement, especially to the clause that called for international status for the holy sites in Jerusalem. During his March 2000 trip, which the Vatican repeatedly called a personal pilgrimage, the pope sought balance by visiting holy sites of all three religions and meeting with leaders from all three. He went to Palestinian territory as well as Israel and Jordan. The Vatican has served as an "indirect mediator" in the new violence. But Amoz Luzzato, head of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy says the "Vatican faced difficulties acting as a mediator, because as protector of the Christian community in the Holy Land it is an interested party").
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Recorder|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Nov 18, 2000|
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