Rome (Dec. 21)
The two official organs of the Vatican — its radio station and the newspaper Osservatore Romano–sharply criticized Israel for annexing the Golan Heights at a time when “governments and public opinion were focused on events in Poland.” The broadcast and print media used virtually identical language. They accused Israel of introducing “a new factor of perturbance and tension in the Middle East situation.”
Osservatore Romano noted: “From the very side which most expresses the desire to safeguard and fulfill the Camp David process, an element is added which cannot help but be — in the best of circumstances — a disturbance and hindrance” of that process, “not to mention the contradictions of one who, on the one hand accuses others of closing themselves into positions of refusal, and on the other, accumulates faits accomplis not sanctioned by international law which aggravate an already difficult situation.”
By contrast to the Vatican’s position, the Italian government’s reaction to Israel’s move was mild. The official statement spoke only of the government’s “concern.” Parliament rejected a demand by the Communist Party and other leftwing factions to withdraw Italy’s offer to participate in the international peacekeeping force in Sinai.