UNESCO, the United Nations and just this week - the Vatican - have recognised that the "State of Palestine" exists – despite the fact that it lacks all four basic requirements laid down in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention 1933:
The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Reverend Federico Lombardi – the Vatican spokesman – confirmed the Holy See's stance:
Yes, it's a recognition that the state exists
The Vatican is justifiably concerned to protect Christian communities in the Middle East against further ongoing death, dispersion and destruction of their churches as has occurred to Christian communities in Syria and Iraq during the last twelve months.
Easing the concerns of Christians in the West Bank would have certainly played a part in the Vatican's decision.
Bethlehem's Christian population has been reduced from 60% in the 1990's - prior to coming under Palestinian Authority control in 1995 - to 15% Christian by 2013 - whilst 1,000 Christians are reported to be leaving every year.
However Christian population growth in Israel last year stood at 1.3%.
Risking a rift in its relations with Israel displays poor judgement by the Vatican given these realities.
Those 107 member States voting for Palestine's admission to UNESCO on 31 October 2011 did so in direct contravention of Article II (2) of the UNESCO Constitution which provides:
… states not members of the United Nations Organization may be admitted to membership of the Organization ….
Voting to admit into UNESCO an entity that is not a lawful state is beyond understanding.
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