by Barry Chamish
Twelve years ago, I wrote the following famous edict:
Barry Chamish: Vatican plot against ISRAEL 1997
In March 1994, the newspaper Chadashot revealed a most remarkable secret of the Middle East “peace” process. A friend of Shimon Peres, the French intellectual Marek Halter, claimed in an interview that in May 1993 he delivered a letter from Peres to the pope. Within, Peres promised to internationalize Jerusalem, granting the UN political control of the Old City of Jerusalem, and granting the Vatican hegemony over the holy sites within. The UN would give the PLO a capital within its new territory, and East Jerusalem would become a kind of free-trade zone of world diplomacy.
Halter’s claim was backed by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, which added that Arafat was apprised of the agreement and that it was included in the secret clauses of the Declaration Of Principles signed in Washington in September 1993.
In March 1995, the Israeli radio station Arutz Sheva was leaked a cable from the Israeli Embassy in Rome to Peres’ Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, confirming the handover of Jerusalem to the Vatican. This cable was printed on the front page of the radical left-wing Israeli newspaper, Haaretz two days later. A scandal erupted and numerous rabbis who had invited Peres for Passover services canceled their invitations in protest of his treachery. Peres reacted by claiming that the cable was real, but that someone had whited out the word, “not”; in other words, the cable really said that Israel would “not” hand Jerusalem over to the holy pontiff.
Illustrating the sorry political state of Israel’s rabbis, they accepted this cockamamie excuse and re-invited Peres to their tables. However, in the widely distributed minutes of a meeting with Clinton in 1997, Peres reiterated his diplomacy, ending with the words, “as I had previously promised the Holy See.”
So what did the Swami Barry report? That Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had cooked up a deal offering the Vatican sovereignty over East Jerusalem and its holy sites. That the UN would secure and police the Vatican enclave. And that the PLO would be granted a national capital in the Vatican’s East Jerusalem territory.
So let’s see if my reporting panned out. Oh, you know it did to the smallest detail, but let’s read this week’s news from Jerusalem anyway:
Peres wants to yield sites to Vatican
President Shimon Hand-Over-Israel Peres is willing to hand over sovereignty of key Christian holy sites to the Vatican, a proposition that is reportedly opposed by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and that has ruffled feathers among other senior government officials, Army Radio reported on Monday.
Beit Hanassi could not be reached for comment on Monday, as it does not issue statements to the press while the president is abroad.
According to the radio report, the president is exerting pressure on the government to give up sovereignty over six sites, including the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Coenaculum on Mount Zion, Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and the Church of the Multiplication on the Kinneret.
The report quoted Beit Hanassi as saying that talks had been going on long enough, and that the time had come to compromise with the Vatican and come to an agreement.
On Sunday, according to the report, Beit Hanassi requested that the Interior Ministry sign documents ceding sovereignty. Yishai, however, refused.
“Every concession like this limits the Israeli government’s ability to function as a sovereign government in the area,” the interior minister was quoted as saying.
Former Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin, however, was quoted as saying that Israel had not behaved satisfactorily in recent dealings with the Vatican.
“We need to compromise with them,” he said.
(IsraelNN.com) Ten-year-long negotiations between Israel and the Vatican appear to be drawing to a close, with concerns rising that Israel will cede control of the building housing King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem.
The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission—a team of negotiators representing Israel and the Vatican—released an upbeat press release at the end of last week, speaking of “meaningful progress,” “great cordiality,” and a mutual commitment to reaching a final agreement “as soon as possible.”
Tellingly, a plenary meeting has been announced for this Thursday, April 30, at the Foreign Ministry. The meeting will be chaired by the two states’ deputy foreign ministers, Danny Ayalon and Monsignor Pietro Parolin. It is widely believed that the agreement will be signed then.
Church Demands Parts of Mt. Zion
The two states have been negotiating a treaty since March 1999 on matters having to do with Church-owned or Church-claimed property in Israel. Among the most significant issues under negotiation is the Vatican’s demand for the Last Supper room, located on the second floor of the ancient Mt. Zion building that also houses the tombs of Kings David, Solomon, and Hezekiah.
In addition, the Vatican is claiming areas around the Kinneret Sea, as well as in Caesaria and Jerusalem.
Hints and implications in the Vatican and Catholic press have long indicated that the negotiations are expected to end successfully, from the Catholic vantage point, in time for Pope Benedict’s visit to Israel two weeks from now.
Blueprint of an Agreement
A Foreign Ministry official confirmed in 2005 that a “blueprint of a possible agreement with the Vatican has been received.” The proposed contract, as Arutz-7 reported at the time, read as follows:
“The State of Israel hands over to the Holy See the use of the Cenacle [the room of the event known as the Last Supper, above King David's tomb - ed.], of the access path to it, and of the spaces adjacent to it… It is the Holy See’s intention to inform the Bishops—and through them the world’s Priests—that the Catholic Church has been given the use of the Cenacle, inviting them to visit the Holy Place together with their faithful… The Holy See hands over this use of the Cenacle to the Custody of the Holy Land [which acts on behalf of the Holy See]… [which] will keep the Cenacle open from 6 AM to 8 AM for the celebration of the Holy Mass… Official liturgical celebrations of non-Catholic Churches can take place only upon prior written permission by the Custody of the Holy Land.”
The proposed agreement also stipulated that the Holy See will preserve the historic character of the site and keep it open to pilgrims and tourists, and that Israel will provide for the safety of the site. The Foreign Ministry official said at the time that “Israel is not prepared to relinquish its jurisdiction over this area.” The world will find out later this week whether this position is still valid.
After Peres meets with Obama in Washington on May 6:
U.S. President Barack Obama told Jordan’s King Abdullah two weeks ago to meet with leading Muslim Arab countries and persuade them to accept changes in the Saudi 2002 Initiative, according to the London-based Arabic language Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.
The report reflects the president’s swift action on the Middle East since he was elected last November.
President Obama’s major proposed alteration to the Saudi peace plan is for Arab countries to grant citizenship to approximately five million Arabs who are descendants of former Israelis while allowing them the right to move to a new Palestinian Authority country.
The Saudi plan calls for them to be allowed to immigrate to Israel, a suggestion that virtually every Israeli leader categorically rejects. President Obama also reportedly told the king that he wants the United Nations flag raised over holy sites in eastern Jerusalem, where the PA would have total sovereignty under the Saudi plan.
The president’s master plan calls for Arab countries to set a timetable for raising the Israeli flag in their capitals, a sign of recognition of the Jewish State. Simultaneously, the PA flag would be raised in Jerusalem neighborhoods, a move that would virtually make the Fatah-led government the de facto government in a significant portion of the Jewish capital.