09/09/2004, 00.00
israel - vatican
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Israel - Holy See: meetings are cordial but Church's rights still face some obstacles

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Ecclesiastical sources have disclosed to AsiaNews  that dialogue between Israel and the Holy See is cordial, but "certain thorny questions still need to be resolved". In particular, these same sources are worried and somewhat baffled by Israel's recalcitrance on the question of guaranteeing the Catholic Church's right to defend Church property in Israeli courts.

Negotiations between the Holy See and Israel began September 6 and will last until tomorrow. The talks should serve to fulfil obligations taken on by both parties with the signing of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement.  In particular, there is the question of guaranteeing the Church's vested rights concerning tax matters and the right to maintain and safeguard monasteries, convents, churches, cemeteries and other ecclesiastical properties.

Meetings have been long, beginning early and lasting into the evening and are held away from media spotlights. Avoiding attention from journalists, the delegations have yet to release any statement.

An ecclesiastical source in Jerusalem disclosed to AsiaNews that the meetings are a source of " some satisfaction" because they are going as planned. According to various observers, this "is already a good sign", given the tendency of the Israeli delegation in the past to avoid engaging and meeting with the delegates of the Holy See.

According to the same ecclesiastical source, there seems to have been some progress, but "certain thorny questions still need to be resolved", namely the Church's right to defend its property in Israeli courts.

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