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Vatican expresses ‘concern’ regarding Israeli West Bank annexation plans

Archbishop Gallagher expressed opposition to the Israeli annexation plan [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 May, 2020

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The Vatican says it is concerned over Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank following a meeting between its chief foreign policy official and a top Palestinian negotiator.

Israel's possible annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank is concerning and could further compromise peace talks, the Vatican said on Wednesday following talks with Palestinian officials.

Respect for international law and UN resolutions was an "indispensable element for the two peoples to live side by side", the Vatican said following talks between chief foreign policy official Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Israel's unity government supports a plan hatched by US President Donald Trump to allow annexation of large parts of the West Bank, despite Israeli settlements being considered illegal under international law.

Read more: Reshaping Palestine - Inside Israel's new annexation cabinet

 

Trump's plan has already been rejected by the Palestinians but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu claims that annexation "won't distance us from peace, it will bring us closer".

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared security agreements with Israel and the US null and void in response to the annexation plans.

"The Holy See is following the situation closely, and expresses concern about any future actions that could further compromise dialogue," the Vatican said in a statement.

It said that it hoped a resolution could soon be found through direct talks "so that peace may finally reign in the Holy Land, so beloved by Jews and Christians and Muslims".

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