The following comes from a May 13 New York Times article by Jodi Rudoren and Diaa Hadid:
ROME — The Vatican said Wednesday that it had concluded a treaty to recognize Palestinian statehood, a symbolic but significant step welcomed by Palestinians but upsetting to the Israeli government.
Formal recognition of a Palestinian state by the Vatican, which has deep religious interests in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories that include Christian holy sites, lends a powerful signal of moral authority and legitimacy to the efforts by the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, to achieve statehood despite the long paralyzed Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Israel has grown increasingly alarmed about the increased international acceptance of Palestine as a state since the United Nations upgraded the Palestinian delegation’s status in 2012 to that of a nonmember observer state. A number of European countries have also signaled their acceptance of Palestinian statehood.
A statement from a joint commission of Vatican and Palestinian diplomatic officials, posted on the Vatican news website, said “the work of the commission on the text of the agreement has been concluded,” and that it would be submitted for formal approval and for signing “in the near future.”
A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under diplomatic protocol, said Israel was “disappointed to hear” about the Vatican’s use of the term “state” in its new treaty.
Neville Y. Lamdan, a former Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, said the main importance of the Vatican recognition of Palestinian statehood was the “moral authority and weight” it confers.
“The real question is why the Vatican came round to this step,” Mr. Lamdan said. “It certainly would be a very deliberate and carefully weighed decision; there’s nothing accidental about it.”