When the UN General Assembly voted in 2012 to recognize Palestine as a state (although more specifically as a nonmember observer state), the Vatican welcomed the decision. Now they have gone a big step farther. As of last week, a new treaty between the Vatican and Palestine was finalized, marking the official recognition by the Holy See of the Palestinian state. 

So what exactly does an official recognition from the Vatican mean for Palestine and the rest of the world? In a New York Times article, the decision to sign a treaty recognizing the state of Palestine was described as more of a symbolic victory for Palestinians who are struggling to keep alive their dream of a Palestinian state” and it goes on to say the practical effects are debatable. 

Some of the tangible impacts of the treaty include an outline of issues related to property, taxes and protocol at holy sites. And according to a Politico article, this treaty makes a clear statement that the Vatican has switched over its diplomatic relations from the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine. 

While some may not agree with the decision to support the Palestinian state, I believe Pope Francis has been setting an incredible example for the rest of the world with his unwavering commitment to social justice and humanitarian issues, and he doesn’t seem to favor one group over another. That's pretty powerful. For example, he recently condemned an anti-semitic incident that took place in Europe last month and declared that discrimination and persecution against the Jewish people must be fought. He has confronted inequality across religious and political belief systems since he has become the Pope and he is making a strong point to remind the world that we are all one, regardless of our differences. 

The Vatican isn’t the only government to recognize Palestine. Since 1988, 135 nations around the world have recognized a Palestinian state. I understand that establishing sustainable peace in the Middle East is a complex issue with valid grievances on all sides. And the topic has a deep rooted history that I can’t even begin to touch on in this article. But I do want to say that regardless of political or religious standings, I believe that Palestine and its people need the assistance and empowerment of leaders to develop and end extreme poverty in the region. Recognizing Palestine is a step in that direction, and one that should be applauded.


Demand Equity

The Vatican officially recognizes the state of Palestine

By Natalie Prolman