Official Vatican Organ Raises Question of Internationalization of Jerusalem

Osservatore Romano, the official organ of the Vatican, raised today the question of the internationalization of Jerusalem following the Israeli seizure of the Old City and reunion with Israel’s capital.

The newspaper said that internationalization not only would solve the “problem” of access to the holy places sacred to Christians in the Old City, but that this would “greatly calm down” the “bitter contest” for possession of the city between the Moslem world and the Jews.

Observers here pointed out that guarantees of free access to the holy places, which was pledged by Israel after the capture of the Old City–which is the site of most of the shrines–did not require internationalization. It was also suggested that it was doubtful whether this was in the category of most pressing issues at the present time in the Middle East.

The United Nations General Assembly, in proposing partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1948, also recommended internationalization of both Old and New Jerusalem. The recommendation became a dead letter when Jordan seized the Old City in the 1948 war by the Arabs against the newborn State of Israel.

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