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Media Analyses





AP Corrects: Holy See Not Signed On to Palestinian Flag Proposal at U.N.


CAMERA's Israel office yesterday prompted correction of an Associated Press story which wrongly identified the Holy See with a Palestinian initiative to raise the Palestinian and the Vatican flags at United Nations headquarters. The two entities are the only "non-member observer states" at the United Nations.
 
The opening sentence of an Associated Press article yesterday ("Palestinians, Vatican could raise UN flags before pope visit") claimed: "In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at U.N. headquarters – just in time for Pope Francis' visit next month."
 
Yet a Reuters article, also published yesterday, ("Vatican says won't co-sponsor Palestinian flag intitiative at U.N." completely contradicted the AP story, stating that the Vatican asked the Palestinian mission to remove any reference to the Holy See from the proposal:
The Vatican on Tuesday asked the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to it from a draft resolution the Palestinians have prepared for the General Assembly calling for the flags of Palestine and the Holy See to fly at the U.N.

The Palestinian draft resolution, which was seen by Reuters, says that the flags of non-member observer states "shall be raised at the United Nations Headquarters and Offices following the flags of the member states of the United Nations."

The draft resolution specifically refers to both the Vatican and the State of Palestine, both of which are non-member observer states at the United Nations. . .

In a note circulated to some U.N. members and seen by Reuters, the Vatican made clear that while it did not object to the Palestinians proposing a resolution to fly their own flag, the Holy See had no plans to join the initiative - even though the Vatican formally recognized the State of Palestinian earlier this year.

"The Holy See does not intend to co-sponsor a draft resolution that the State of Palestine may eventually present on the matter," the note said.

"The Holy See asks the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the 'Holy See' and any generic reference 'on behalf of the Observer States'," it added.

A diplomat at the Palestinian mission did not respond immediately to a request for comment. (Emphases added.)

 
Following CAMERA's communication with AP, the wire service republished the article with changes. The updated, corrected article no longer states that the Vatican seeks to have its flag raised at U.N. headquarters, and instead begins:
 
In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the Palestinians are seeking to raise their flag, along with the Vatican flat, at U.N. headquarters -- just in time for Pope Francis' visit next month.
 
In addition, the corrected article includes the additional, critical information:
While the Vatican's missions to the U.N. earlier expressed support for the idea, it circulated a letter this week distancing itself from the draft, asking the Palestinian mission to "kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the 'Holy See' and any generic reference 'on behalf of the Observer States.'"
 
The Holy See's mission did not comment Wednesday.
In addition, AP editors appended the following note about the corrected story:
 
 
The speedy correction of this AP article underscores the valuable initiative of CAMERA's Israel office in monitoring wire stories in the very same news cycle in which they appear. By prompting correction of news agency articles even before they are published in news papers around the world, CAMERA proactively promotes more accurate, professional coverage globally. For additional AP corrections prompted by CAMERA, please see here.

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