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Israeli envoy backs papal call for negotiations, says Palestinians resist

Catholic World News - January 15, 2013

Israel’s new ambassador to the Holy See has strongly endorsed Pope Benedict’s call for renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Zion Evrony, who arrived in Rome last September to be his country’s 6th ambassador to the Holy See, called for “direct negotiations without any precondition.” He said, however, that Palestinian leaders have refused to negotiate.

Ambassador Evrony also agreed with the Pope’s call for a two-state solution; the Israeli envoy said that he hoped for “the existence of two states living side by side in peace: the State of Israel that already exists of course as the homeland of the Jewish people, and the future, future state of Palestine as a homeland of the Palestinian people.”

“Israel is ready to make huge sacrifices for the sake of peace,” the ambassador said. But he reiterated that negotiations could not begin until Palestinian leaders accepted the invitation to the bargaining table.

Regarding relations between Israel and the Holy See, Evrony said that diplomatic ties are strong and friendly. When questions about the long-running negotiations toward a diplomatic accord that would establish the financial and judicial rights of Church institutions in Israel, he expressed optimism that an agreement will soon be reached. Evrony said that “nearly 20 years after the signing of the Fundamental Agreement between Israel and the Holy See, I hope that the negotiations are nearing conclusion.”

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