Israel Cancels Meeting With Vatican

To Discuss Fundamental Agreement

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JERUSALEM, JULY 26, 2005 ( After chastising Benedict XVI for omitting Israel from a Papal address that condemned terrorist bombings, Israel cancelled a meeting with the Vatican to discuss the implementation of their mutual agreements.

The cancellation of Monday’s meeting, one of a series of talks regarding the 1993 Fundamental Agreement, was originally scheduled July 19, and postponed at the request of Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

On Monday, Israel accused Benedict XVI of «deliberately» failing to condemn terrorist attacks against Jews in his Sunday Angelus address.

The Holy See responded both through the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, as well as in a statement of Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls, saying that the Holy Father condemns all terrorist attacks, regardless where they come from.

Slow process

With the signing of the Fundamental Agreement by both sides in December 1993, the Holy See accepted Israel’s request to establish diplomatic relations.

The document articulates the regulatory principles of relations between the Church and state, while its application was subordinated to a series of complementary agreements — to be negotiated subsequently — that will ensure freedom and the Church’s rights in Israeli territory.

Until now, these negotiations have resulted in only one agreement, in 1997: the civil recognition of the juridical personality of the Church and ecclesiastical bodies, but it has yet to become state law.

On Aug. 28, 2003, without any explanations, Israel withdrew its delegation to the negotiations with the Holy See while work was under way to arrive at an agreement on the protection of ecclesiastical properties and the fiscal statute.

Talks resumed in Jerusalem last Aug. 5, a meeting that has been followed by others in a progressive normalization.

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