Support for a Palestinian state has been slowly building in certain segments of the international community, but the latest endorsement of this questionable concept came from a highly unlikely source.
With the Vatican’s recent announcement that it has reached an agreement with the Palestinians and that it would incorporate the term “State of Palestine” into an official document for the first time, the Catholic Church made a dubious foray into a highly explosive and particularly tenuous diplomatic situation.
The determination by the Vatican to confer a degree of international legitimacy to the Palestinian Authority by recognizing a Palestinian state, while it has no tangible effect, is troubling nonetheless.
Pope Francis has made tremendous strides during his papal tenure in enhancing the historically strained relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jews, which makes the Vatican’s pronouncement about embracing a Palestinian state extraordinarily perplexing. As someone who is a true champion of human rights throughout the world, the Pope’s enigmatic decision to overlook the fallacies of the Palestinian Authority, which include its vigorous support for terrorism and proud sponsorship of those who have perpetrated heinous acts of terror that have claimed the lives of countless men, women and children, is antithetical to the causes and ideals that he has consistently advocated for.
Before endorsing a Palestinian state, Pope Francis should have encouraged the Palestinians to eschew their ties to terrorism and insisted that a prerequisite to statehood is a clear demonstration by the Palestinian Authority that it is committed to achieving a peaceful resolution to its longstanding dispute with Israel.
The Palestinian Authority has long sought to cement its place on the world stage. Through a series of unilateral overtures over the years, the Palestinian Authority has desperately tried to circumvent the peace process with Israel in order to achieve their ultimate goal. They have proven that they are not interested in engaging in a constructive conversation about peace with their Israeli neighbors, despite Israel’s demonstrated willingness to make painful concessions so that its citizens could one day live in peace and harmony.
Yet, despite all of that, the Vatican somehow saw fit to ignore the many shortcomings of the Palestinian Authority and its cohorts in Hamas who run Gaza with an iron fist and a system of fear and belligerence that has left its citizens impoverished and filled with hatred.
If Pope Francis and the Vatican truly wanted to weigh in on the enduring conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in a substantive and significant way, its one-sided approbation was not the way to do it.
With its latest move, the Vatican missed what could have been a tremendous opportunity. With the great skill and sincerity that he has exhibited since assuming the papacy, Pope Francis could have and should have used his status to help bridge the gap between the Palestinians and Israel. The Pope could have and should have made it clear to the Palestinians that recognition on the world stage is not a matter of right, and that the legitimacy that they crave has to be earned through actions and deeds.
Instead, in a display of blind faith, the Vatican inexplicably handed the Palestinians international legitimacy on a silver platter. The Vatican’s conduct in this particular situation was not just a misdeed; it was a missed opportunity as well.
N. Aaron Troodler is an attorney and principal of Paul Revere Public Relations, a public relations and political consulting firm. Visit him on the Web at TroodlersTake.blogspot.com, www.PaulReverePR.com, or www.JewishWorldPR.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @troodler
By N. Aaron Troodler, Esq.