Ambassador Issa Kassissieh Meets with the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher

Palestinian Ambassador to the Holy See and Member of the Higher Presidential Committee for Churches Affairs in Palestine, Issa Kassissieh, met with the Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. Speaking on behalf of the Palestinian leadership and people, Ambassador Kassissieh expressed his appreciation for Pope Francis’s call to end the war in Palestine, facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the supportive statements made by senior officials.
Ambassador Kassissieh and Archbishop Gallagher discussed the rapid and dangerous developments in Palestine, particularly in Gaza and the widespread destruction caused as a result of Israeli aggression. The discussion delved into, as well, the escalation in the West Bank by Israeli occupation forces and settlers, and the expanding of illegal Israeli settlements in direct and blatant violations of international law.
Jerusalem’s status and significance for Palestinians was at the heart of the discussion. The meeting stressed on the importance of upholding the principles of freedom of worship, by allowing worshipers free access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, during the holy month of Ramadan and free access to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher during the coming Easter celebrations. The meeting also affirmed the necessity of respecting the historical and legal “Status Quo” of Jerusalem’s Holy Sites. In this regard, Ambassador Kassissieh reiterated Pope Francis’s call for a special status for Jerusalem, underpinned by international guarantees, recognizing the city as a spiritual center for monotheistic religions and protecting the Christian heritage in this Holy City as an integral part of Jerusalem.
For his part, Archbishop Gallagher underscored the vital importance of implementing Security Council resolutions in relation to Palestine, recalling the Holy See’s recognition of the State of Palestine within the 1967. He also stressed the importance of holding elections, emphasizing the need for Palestinians to achieve unity under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people.
In conclusion, Ambassador Kassissieh in his capacity as the dean of Arab ambassadors, handed Archbishop Gallagher a letter on behalf of Arab ambassadors accredited to the Holy See. The letter addressed regional developments, underscoring the critical need to support UNRWA and criticized Israel for undermining its mandate, amid the ongoing Israeli aggression and siege of the occupied Palestinian territory.

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