CATHOLIC PATRIARCH DOES NOT REGARD CAMP DAVID AS TOTAL
Some Progress Toward Agreements; Voice of Church Is Now Heard
ROME/JERUSALEM, JULY 26 (ZENIT.org).- After two weeks of fragile
negotiations, the hopes for peace entrusted to the summit between
Israelis and Palestinians in Camp David have foundered once again
on the same rock: the question of Jerusalem's sovereignty.
Bill Clinton himself had the task of announcing the failure of
negotiations. Yesterday he tried unsuccessfully to mediate between
the positions of his two guests, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Barak, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The U.S. President was positive in his comment on Barak's role
who, prior to the failure of the negotiations, announced his
willingness to transfer the control of the Arab neighborhoods
the Holy City to the National Palestinian Authority, asking in
exchange the annexation to Israel of some Jewish settlements.
Clinton was more severe in his comments on Arafat, as he was
intransigent in claiming full Palestinian sovereignty over East
Clinton revealed that some progress had been made, but he accused
the Palestinian leader of not being ready for peace. The problems
arose when the mediators tried to put down on paper possible
points of agreement. At the beginning of yesterday's sessions,
Arafat threatened to leave, as the Israeli Prime Minister failed
to concede Arab sovereignty over East Jerusalem. At most, Barak
offered to share the management of the Eastern neighborhoods,
while the Palestinian leader insisted on complete control of
area, including the old fortress. Clinton tried to mediate again,
hoping that the threats were merely strategic, as was the case
last Wednesday. However, in no time he had to admit the summit's
failure. Now the future is full of question marks, although the
U.S. President did ask the parties not to take any initiatives
to maintain the door to negotiations open.
Although the Camp David negotiations on the Middle East pass
history as one more lost opportunity, U.S. diplomacy is reflecting
on the next moves to be taken so as not to lose the small steps
rapprochement that were taken between the two fronts.
Once again, Jerusalem's future becomes one of the most difficult
knots to undo, something which obviously worries the three
Christian Patriarchs (Catholic, Greek-Orthodox, and Armenian
Orthodox) of the Holy City, who ended their unprecedented meetings
with Palestinian and Israeli Ministers yesterday.
Speaking on Vatican Radio, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of
Jerusalem reviewed the Camp David failure, believing that in
future negotiations on this city, the Church will be able to
present its point of view ."Everyone gives their opinion. Our
position is always the same: it is necessary that peace be
established in Jerusalem and, to accomplish this, the rights
all, Palestinians and Israelis, must be recognized. We do not
political games, but affirm that to construct peace it is
necessary to have true justice. The Church's voice has
heard, the two parties have consulted us. This means that
future, when reference is made to the holy places, the Church
be asked to express its point of view."