The announcement that the Vatican is recognizing the state of Palestine knocked me out of my chair. Though the NY Times described this as largely “symbolic” they had to acknowledge that this action really shifts discussions on the future of Palestine, the Occupation and Palestinian diaspora.
This announcement comes at such a critical moment when anti-Palestinian forces have become absolutely rabid in their attacks on virtually anyone who supports justice for the Palestinians. Such attacks betray a level of desperation that is clearly being experienced by the anti-Palestinian cabal, which includes the Israeli political establishment and their allies in the USA. It is in that context that we can understand the efforts to smash the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions Movement. It is also the context in which those of us who support justice for the Palestinian people are regularly baited as allegedly being anti-Semites.
The announcement by the Vatican should be welcomed and built upon. Whether those of us outside of the Palestinian movement are in favor of a single-state solution or a two-state solution is secondary. What the Vatican did was to say to the world that the Palestinian people are simply not going to be forgotten or dismissed.
There is one more feature to the Vatican’s announcement that deserves attention: it brings deserved attention to the plight of Palestinian Christians who are not being driven off their land or from their homeland by fanatic Muslim extremists but have been, and continue to be, forced out of Palestine by an Israeli regime that aims to cleanse the area of its indigenous population. The Vatican is joining the chorus of those who are saying that this, too, shall not pass.