The bilateral permanent working commission between the State of Israel and the Holy See appears to have made significant progress, according to a statement released this afternoon. The plenary meeting, hosted by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, concerned the ongoing quest to reach an accord concerning part of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement dealing with economic and fiscal matters.
(Milan) - The bilateral permanent working commission between the State of Israel and the Holy See appears to have made significant progress, according to a statement released this afternoon.
In a joint communique, the Holy See and Israel said “substantive progress was made on issues of significance” and that the talks were held in an “open, friendly and constructive atmosphere.”
The plenary meeting, hosted by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, concerned the ongoing quest to reach an accord concerning part of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement dealing with economic and fiscal matters.
However, such positive statements are not unusual to anyone following progress of the talks. Despite regular meetings, optimistic statements have often been issued but no agreement has been forthcoming since the bilateral commission was established in 1999.
Little is known precisely what is being discussed, nor exactly how close an agreement might be. According to Msgr. David-Maria Jaeger OFM, a member of the Holy See delegation until last year, this is because from the outset of the talks both parties made a “gentleman's agreement” to keep a strict silence and reveal as little as possible to the press.
Msgr. Jaeger said in a speech given last October that this unwritten confidentiality rule was introduced to prevent leaks and media manipulation by either side which could scupper the talks. He stressed it was also introduced for another intrinsic reason: “The principle that governs negotiations is that nothing is considered agreed until everything is.”
This is why both sides have always insisted that the statements released after the negotiations should “say nothing of the contents of the session, and especially nothing about the content of any "progress" that the statements sometimes refer to,” said Msgr. Jaeger, who is now a prelate judge of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, the Vatican's highest court.
The Holy See and Israel agreed today to hold the commission's next plenary meeting on 11 June 2012 at the Vatican.
For the needs of the people in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, Israel will give to the Palestinian National Authority more than 30 millions cubic meters of water every year.
An interview with the Minister-General of the Friars Minor, who has just returned from a visit to the Franciscan communities in Lebanon and Syria. Fr. Michael A. Perry tells us what he saw and then also reported to Pope Francis.
After nine months of meticulous work, the restoration of the Holy Sepulcher has reached its final stages. The scaffoldings that were mounted around the edicule, have already been removed.
The Iraqi capital, completely overwhelmed by war and terrorism, is now fragmented by many walls that surround neighbourhoods, churches and public buildings… Barriers of defence which now become large canvases.