by: Ilse Strauss
Thursday, 2 July 2020 | Although July 1—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s target date to start extending Israeli authority over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as the Jordan Valley—came and went without any concrete action, that does not mean sovereignty is off the table. As Netanyahu pushes ahead with the plan, world leaders, international bodies, religious figures and even celebrities continue to weigh in for or against the move.
The latest voice to join the chorus condemning Israeli sovereignty in its biblical heartland comes from the Vatican.
The Holy See said in a statement yesterday that it had summoned the Israeli and American ambassadors for an audience to protest the proposed annexation in person.
According to the statement, the Vatican’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sat down with Israeli Ambassador Oren David and US Ambassador Callista Gingrich during separate meetings on Tuesday to express its misgivings “regarding possible unilateral actions that may further jeopardize the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the delicate situation in the Middle East.”
The statement emphasized the Holy See’s commitment to a two-state solution that envisions Israel and the Palestinians living side-by-side in peace and harmony. “It thus appeals to the parties to do everything possible to reopen the process of direct negotiation, on the basis of the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations.”
A day after the meeting in the Vatican, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson chimed in to offer his opinion in a Hebrew op-ed published on the front page of Israel’s largest daily, Yedioth Ahronoth.
Introducing himself as “a passionate defender of Israel,” Johnson called on Israel to reconsider and expressed his hope that the planned application of sovereignty would not go ahead.
The Vatican and the British prime minister add their voices to the United Nations, the European Union and various Arab states that have already given the plan a thumbs down. However, not everybody stands ready to shout down the move.
Twenty lawmakers from Europe, Latin America and Africa tempered the chorus of condemnation, signing a letter to pledge their support for Israeli sovereignty in the biblical heartland.
The signatories—all heads of the Israel Allies Caucuses in their countries—put pen to paper yesterday to coincide with Netanyahu’s sovereignty target date.
“We, the chairman of the Israel Allies Caucuses, fully support our ally, the State of Israel, in her rights to apply sovereignty to the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria,” the missive starts.
It continues to set out the reasons behind the parliamentarians’ support. “We affirm that the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria have been a key part of the biblical and ancestral homeland of the Jewish nation for centuries. We maintain that Israel applying Israeli civil law to already existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria is appropriate and recognizes the democratic wishes of those communities.”
“We believe that the application of sovereignty to these communities in Israel will not affect the Palestinian people negatively but rather bring the possibility for peace and prosperity closer to the region. Applying Israeli law to already existing Jewish communities in Israel can be part of a realistic regional peace plan which recognizes current realities.”
As Israel moves ahead with sovereignty plans, the clamor of voices ringing out in condemnation—and hopefully also those making their approval heard—will continue to intensify.
We invite you to join your voice with ours as we pray for wisdom, insight and above all, God’s perfect will going forward.
Posted on July 2, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, July 2, 2020)
Photo Credit: Nacho Arteaga/unsplash.com
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