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    » 01/07/2010, 00.00

    VATICAN - ISRAEL

    Useful and cordial meeting between Holy See-Israel Commission

    Arieh Cohen

    The joint press release indicates that the two parties will me again on 10 February in Israel and 27 May in the Vatican. The Fundamental Agreement does not erase rights the Church acquired in the 19th centuries that preceded the establishment of the State of israel.
    Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) - The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel met today in Jerusalem "to continue its work on an Agreement pursuant to Art. 10 Paragraph 2 of the Fundamental Agreement between the same Parties."

    The talks were useful and held in an atmosphere of cordiality. Some important topics of the next meetings were spelled out. The next meeting will take place on 10 February at the seat of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Plenary meeting of the Commission will take place on 27 May 2010, in the Vatican.

    As is well known, Article 10 Paragraph 2 of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement, which is the basis for relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, obliges the Parties to negotiate a "comprehensive agreement", i.e. a "settlement of all claims" on the fiscal status of the Church in Israel, on questions regarding Church property, and on other questions of an "economic" nature (such as State participation in the funding of Catholic schools and hospitals serving the population of the State). 

    The text of that Agreement makes it clear that in negotiating a new comprehensive agreement, the Church does not renounce its claims to the continuing validity of the many rights she has acquired in all of these fields through the preceding centuries, i.e. that the talks do not start from a situation of "tabula rasa".

    Indeed, spokesmen for the Church have repeatedly explained to the public that, for the Church, the purpose of the new Agreement is to consolidate and safeguard those rights already acquired to the Church, which existed already for nineteen centuries in the Holy Land before the establishment in 1948 of the young State of Israel.

    Another important feature of that part of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement is that it promulgates, in effect, also the universal legal principle of "lite pendent nihil innovetur". In effect, this is a treaty obligation not to enforce unilaterally those kinds of  taxation, from which the Church claims an acquired right to exemption, while the new Agreement is being negotiated.

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    See also

    11/12/2009 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Holy See-Israel talks in crisis, according to Yedioth Aharonoth
    The most popular newspaper quotes the head of Israeli delegation Daniel Ayalon who speaks of failure in sight. Yet the joint statement exalts "mutual understanding". According to experts, an Israeli government trick to placate anti-Christian fundamentalist Israelis. Concerns over the possibility of confiscation of Capharnaum and the basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

    13/12/2006 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Holy See-Israel: painstaking resumption of negotiations
    An interview-analysis with Oded Ben Hur, Israeli ambassador to the Vatican on the reasons for delays and difficulties. At the root of it all is Israel’s refusal to recognize that the Fundamental Agreement is an international treaty.

    27/03/2008 ISRAEL - VATICAN
    Israeli ministry contradicts itself: a Franciscan with a valid visa is turned away from Israel
    The Israeli interior ministry seems to be working at cross purposes: it issues visas, and then does not recognise them. That is entirely the fault of the "secretiveness" that shrouds the procedure and criteria for issuing visas. There is also the need for the accords with the Vatican to be put into effect at last, in order to have clear rules for visas for ecclesiastical personnel.

    17/11/2005 VATICAN – ISRAEL
    Pope receives Israeli President, reiterates agreements must be implemented
    Benedict XVI told Moshe Katzav that the Holy See is in favour of a two-state solution: Israel and Palestine. He also insisted on the Church's demands that agreements already signed that recognise its legal status in Israel be respected.

    28/11/2006 ISRAEL – VATICAN
    Israel to restart negotiations with the Holy See
    The unannounced visit by an Israeli delegation to the Vatican Secretariat of State is a good sign that a new, more positive atmosphere is developing between the State of Israel and the Holy See.



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