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» 01/11/2006 16:37
ISRAEL – VATICAN
Talks continue between Israel and the Holy See, in the post-Sharon crisis
by Arieh Cohen

Delegations continue their deliberations.  However, concerns for the future remain: Sharon was among the most convinced supporters of this dialogue.



Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) – Negotiations continue between Israel and the Holy See to reach a comprehensive bilateral accord, despite the difficult political situation in Israel following Ariel Sharon's illness.  Delegations of the Holy See and the State of Israel have continued today, Wednesday, January 11, their negotiations aimed at reaching the "comprehensive agreement" mandated by the 1993 Fundamental Agreement, on the fiscal status of the Church in Israel, and on safeguarding ecclesiastical property, especially Holy Sites.  The previous meeting took place last November 24; parties have agreed to hold their next meetings on May 17 and 18. In the meantime the bilateral "Working Group" on properties the Churches wishes to recover will continue its work, and other consultations also will continue between the parties' legal experts.

All of this is taking place within the peculiar context of Israel's governance these days.

The Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is still in hospital, unconscious, and prevailing medical opinion is that he will not be able to resume his duties. The Foreign Minister, Sylvan Shalom, belongs to what is in effect an opposition party, Likud, and could resign at any time. At least ten ministerial positions are currently vacant, with related "portfolios" being temporarily covered by acting Prime Minister, Treasury Minister Ehud Olmert. General elections have been called for March 28, and thereafter several weeks will probably be required for the new government to be set up.

Sharon's departure from the political scene could cause some worry to the Catholic negotiators, given Premier Sharon's decisive role in making his colleagues and subordinates take seriously the relationship with the Catholic Church and resume negotiations with the Holy See, even when other government elements were inclined to go in other directions. But Church legal expert on Israel, Franciscan Father David-Maria A. Jaeger, is not unduly preoccupied: "As is often mentioned these days, the State endures and, with it, endure its obligations, and its need to fulfil treaty obligations in particular. It matters not what the precise composition is of the council of ministers at any one time, the relationship other Sovereign entities, such as the Holy See, have is with the State as such, and there has never been, nor will there be, a time when the State is without legitimate representation on the international plane."

Apart from these impeccable juridical considerations, the fact remains that the future outcome of negotiations could also depend on political factors.  Knowledgeable sources close to negotiations say that decisive factors are, nevertheless, situated in Washington, in the United States. It was Washington that persuaded Sharon of the importance of paying due attention to the Catholic Church, and it will fall to Washington to continue to press this matter on his successors, both before and after elections in Israel.


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See also
03/17/2006 israel - vatican
Israel's war against the hospice of the Daughters of Charity continues
by Arieh Cohen
09/10/2004 Israel-Vatican
Holy See – Israel : "positive" meetings, but with a few obstacles
07/08/2004 vatican - israel
By 2004, full relations between Israel and Vatican: ambassador gives his word
by Bernardo Cervellera
01/18/2010 VATICAN – JEWS
Pope’s visit to Rome synagogue: taking into account Israel and the Church in Israel
by David-Maria A. Jaeger, ofm*
11/24/2005 ISRAEL – VATICAN
Progress in negotiations between the Holy See and Israel
by Arieh Cohen

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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