THURSDAY
February 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 34
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

HOLY SEE AND PLO SIGN BASIC AGREEMENT AS WELL AS ADDING JERICHO IN PAPAL PILGRIMAGE TO HOLY LAND

    VATICAN CITY, 16 (NE) The Holy See and the Palestinian Liberation Organization signed yesterday a Basic Agreement dealing with certain juridical questions regarding the presence and activity of the Catholic Church in the territory dependent on the Palestinian Authority. The signing of the agreement took place after Pope John Paul II received in audience Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority. As Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls informed, the Pope "renewed his expression of the Holy See's solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are still waiting to see their legitimate aspirations met".

    The agreement states that both sides are "deeply aware of the special significance of the Holy Land"; have "reviewed the history and development of the relations between the Holy See and the Palestinian People"; re-affirm "the need to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East"; and call "for a peaceful solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which would realize the inalienable national legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian People."

    It also affirms that "declaring that an equitable solution for the issue of Jerusalem, based on international resolutions, is fundamental for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and that unilateral decisions and actions altering the specific character and status of Jerusalem are morally and legally unacceptable."

    During his pilgrimage to Holy Land, scheduled for the 20th of March to the 26th, Pope John Paul II will also visit the city of Jericho. The visit of the Holy Father to this city was announced yesterday, after the meeting of the Pontiff with the President of the National Palestine Authority, Yaser Arafat. The news was confirmed by Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Holy See Press Office Director.

    The synoptic gospels tell that in Jesus' last pilgrimage to Jerusalem he crossed Jericho, city in which He was welcomed by Zacchaeus and where He also healed to two blind men. Jericho was already an important city in the times of the Old Testament. It is believed that it was initially inhabited toward the year 8000 B.C. Important excavations were carried out during the first decades of the twentieth century, leading some archaeologists to consider Jericho as the oldest-known city in the world.

    Herod the Great built southeast of this ancient population a new city, that would serve as his residence during winter, which is the one mentioned in the New Testament and visited by the Lord Jesus. The current town is constituted by the remains of a city built by crusaders to the east of both the ancient and the new city.

          

February 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 34
NEWS & VIEWS

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