Vatican foreign minister Paul Gallagher and his Palestinian counterpart, Riad al-Malki, signed the treaty at a ceremony inside the Vatican.
Israel expressed disappointment when the Vatican announced last month that it had reached final agreement with the “State of Palestine” on the treaty regulating the life of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian territories.
It repeated that regret in a statement yesterday, saying the move hurt peace prospects and would discourage the Palestinians from returning to direct negotiations. It warned that it would study the agreement “and its implications for future cooperation between Israel and the Vatican”.
Gallagher said he hoped the Vatican’s move “may in some way be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
He said that he hoped the treaty could serve as a model for the church in other Middle East countries, where Christians are a minority and often persecuted.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to recognise a Palestinian state and had referred to the Palestine state since. However, the treaty marked its first legal recognition of the Palestinian territory as a state.