In a new treaty — finalized today — The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine. The treaty, sketched out in relation to the Catholic Church’s activities in the Palestinian territory, clearly identifies that it is switching recognition from Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine, AP reports.
A Vatican spokesman told AP that the recognition was official. "Yes, it's a recognition that the state exists," Rev. Federico Lombardi said.
The treaty, signed by Pope Francis, constitutes official diplomatic recognition, and is the first legal document of such kind signed between The Vatican and the state of Palestine, according to AP.
The Israeli Foreign ministry said it was disappointed by the move, AP said:
"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 AJC issued a statement saying the move may impede an already tenuous peace process.
"Formal Vatican recognition of Palestine, a state that, in reality, does not yet exist, is a regrettable move, counterproductive to all who seek true peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"We are fully cognizant of the Pope's good will and desire to be a voice for peaceful coexistence, which is best served, we believe, by encouraging a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, rather than unilateral gestures outside the framework of the negotiating table," Harris said.