The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed disappointment at the Vatican announcement that the Holy See intends to officially recognize the State of Palestine in a bilateral agreement, and called the development premature.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement in the wake of the Vatican announcement:

As with other instances of governments recognizing a Palestinian state, this step is premature and serves to undermine the only real solution to the decades-old conflict, which is engaging in direct negotiations between the parties leading to a two-state solution.

We appreciate that the Vatican’s basic intention is to promote Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, but believe that this diplomatic recognition will be unhelpful to that end, and instead only bolster the Palestinian strategy of seeking statehood through international fora and not through recognition, reconciliation and negotiation with Israel.

The issue of Palestinians seeking statehood acknowledgement by bodies outside of Israel is nothing new. Campaigns to do so constantly take place across Europe and within the United Nations. In recent years, a number of European parliaments have approved the move, and the UN elevated the Palestinian Authority’s status, though it has yet to achieve full member status or statehood recognition.

Israel considers these efforts a ploy to achieve independence without having to do the crucial work of direct negotiations.