By VIVIANE HEWITT 1N ROME
rEHOLY SEE and Israel e scheduled to sign their historic accord on 30 December, the prelude to full diplomatic relations. And by May next year, they are expected to have exchanged ambassadors.
But the Holy See has already intimated that it will not comply with the Israeli request to establish its nunciatare in Jerusalem.
Sources in Rome said this week that the Vatican had already planned to open its delegation's office in Tel Aviv.
In addition, there were fears on the Israeli side that the Holy See might try to delay a full diplomatic exchange in May, pending the successful outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.. The accord will be signed in Jerusalem at the end of this month by the deputy Foreign Ministers, Yossi Bells for Israel and deputy Vatican Secretary of State, Mgr Claudio Celli. They chair their respective delegations on the Joint Vatican Israeli Commission set up to discuss obstacles to the formulation of relations.
The ambassadors are expected to be Miriam Ziv, the current liaison officer for relations with the Holy See at the Israeli embassy to Italy, and the Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem, Archbishop Andrea di Montezemolo.
In response to Vatican caution about a full exchange of ambassadors, Israeli Embassy officials said this week that once the Holy See signed the initial accord, there could be no turning back even if the talks with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) were to break down. Vatican diplomats replied that several questions were still unresolved.
They did not specify them but they are believed to hinge on a homeland for the Palestinians as well as improved living and working conditions for the Christian community in the Holy Land.