Rome (AsiaNews) - The 12 February issue of the influential weekly America, published by US Jesuits, carries an article (its cover article) titled "A New Treaty for the Holy Land?", written by Arieh Cohen, a frequent contributor to AsiaNews from Tel Aviv.
The article calls for consideration of the possibility of achieving legal security for the Church in the Holy Land through a multilateral treaty that would include a mechanism for "monitoring and enforcement," and which would apply to both Jerusalem and the two national States, Israel and the future Palestinian State.
The need to consider this, the article says, arises from the observation that, while the "question of Jerusalem" remains unresolved, the pioneering attempts to secure the freedoms and rights of the Church in the two national States through bilateral Agreements have not yet given practical results. The Palestinian State is not yet in existence, and the Holy See's 1993 Fundamental Agreement with Israel has not yet been written into that State's laws, making it in practice unenforceable in Israel.
But a proposal for a multilateral treaty for Jerusalem does exist, and was discussed in the late 1990's by diplomats of several countries, and it could be enlarged to cover religious freedom and respect for the Church's historic rights in the two national States as well. This does not mean that the ongoing efforts to perfect the bilateral Agreements should or could be given up, the writer observes, but that it might be useful to study a multilateral alternative.
This suggestion is an interesting one. If it is meant as a final completion of the process going on now, it would certainly be worth pursuing.