Vatican Signs Treaty With Palestinians

VATICAN CITY (AP) -

The Vatican has signed a treaty with the “State of Palestine,” saying it hopes that its legal recognition of the state will help stimulate peace with Israel.

Vatican Foreign Minister Paul Gallagher and his Palestinian counterpart, Riad al-Malki, signed the treaty at a ceremony inside the Vatican.

Israel expressed disappointment when the Vatican announced last month that it had reached final agreement with the Palestinians on the treaty regulating the life of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian Authority.

It repeated that regret in a Foreign Ministry statement, saying the move hurt peace prospects and would discourage the Palestinians from returning to direct negotiations. It added that it would study the agreement “and its implications for future cooperation between Israel and the Vatican.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called the treaty itself one-sided, saying the text ignored “the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Yerushalayim.”