ROME (Aug. 15)
Senior Vatican officials met here last Thursday with a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Nemer Hammad, to discuss recent Middle East developments, including Jordanian King Hussein’s decision to sever its ties with the West Bank.
A vatican spokesman said the half-hour meeting was a “working session.” He quoted Pope John Paul II, who said earlier this year, “The Holy See supports the right of the Jewish people to have their own homeland, but at the same time supports the same right for another people, the Palestinian Arabs, to have theirs.”
After the meeting, Hammad said that he “furnished all the information and political evaluations concerning the new situation that has been created. According to us, Israel cannot pretend to resolve the question of the Palestinian people with King Hussein of Jordan.”
Furthermore, the PLO official added, “At this point, time has to be given to the Vatican to bring to maturity its own evaluation.
“The PLO has always had contacts with the Vatican, because of the special character of the Palestinian and the Palestine question. That is, of the Holy Land.”
The newspaper Corriere della Sera said the meeting between Hammad and Vatican officials “is destined to irritate Israel and the Italian Jewish community.”