February 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 36
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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.

"CiviltÓ Cattolica" also Criticizes Israel's Reaction to Vatican-PLO Agreement

    ROME, FEB 18 (ZENIT).- The agreement signed last Tuesday between the Vatican and the Palestine Liberation Organization "has as its sole objective the possibility of creating the necessary conditions so that the Church can effectively carry out the exercise of its ministry," "CiviltÓ Cattolica" magazine states, following protests by Israel's Foreign Ministry, which read into the agreement decisions on the question of Jerusalem and a de-stabilizing element during preparations for the Pope's visit to the Holy Land from March 20-26.

    The Jesuit magazine published a study on the agreement and a second article on the issue of the future Nazareth mosque, which radical groups wish to construct on the same Square as the Basilica of the Annunciation. The article accuses the Israeli government of not respecting the rights of Christian communities in order to arrive at a compromise with the Muslim fundamentalists. Indeed, the Palestinian Authority, aware that the building constitutes a provocation, asked its Muslim brothers to abandon the idea and offered to finance the construction elsewhere.

    "CiviltÓ Cattolica" adds its voice to the proposal of Christian Churches of the Holy Land to organize a "meeting between representatives of the Islamic party, of the Christian population of Nazareth and the heads of Christian Churches, to discuss the future of this situation," with the possibility that Christians will admit "in principle the construction of the mosque and the Muslims renounce their construction as a gesture of good will and magnanimity toward the Christians."

    As regards the agreement of the Palestinians with the Vatican, the Jesuits' magazine states that the Holy See is concerned "about the future of the Middle East and especially the Holy Places," and hopes that the text represents "a first and significant step" to safeguard the Church's activity "in favor of all those who live or visit those places, which have very special meaning for the whole of humanity."

    In referring to the mosque, the criticism of the Israeli government that unleashed a controversy when permission for construction was granted, can be understood while recognizing that it is a problem that the current government inherited from Benjamin Netaniahu. To qualify this decision, no reference is made to "compromise" but rather to "concession to a group of citizens who have violated the rights of the rest." It should not be forgotten that the land on which the mosque is to be constructed was taken by force and that over Easter Christians were attacked by Islamic fundamentalists. In spite of these events, the Israeli government decided to satisfy the Muslims pretensions.

    "CiviltÓ Cattolica," which acknowledges the great intelligence and courage of the Israeli leaders, believes the problem will be solved when "they become aware of the chance they are taking at present, which might affect the future of the State of Israel itself." ZE00021710


February 21, 2000
volume 11, no. 36

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