Pope Benedict XVI, in a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told Abbas that he hopes the recent Palestinian UN status upgrade would help spur the international community to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Reuters reported.
The UN upgrade, however, was a unilateral move on the Palestinians’ part and was opposed by the U.S., which argued that the action was a step backwards and that peace can only be achieved through negotiations with Israel. Furthermore, a recent survey by Gal Hadash found that only 28.2 percent of Israelis believe their country has a partner for peace in negotiations with the Palestinians following the UN upgrade.
Abbas, who is on tour in Europe, met with the Pope to thank him for supporting the recent UN resolution.
“It is hoped that [the resolution] will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both,” a Vatican statement said.