altHCEF extends its sincere congratulations to His Excellency Issa Kassissieh, Palestine's Ambassador to the Holy See, on the occasion of his first meeting with Pope Francis. As a member of the Greek Orthodox community of Jerusalem and a former deputy chief of staff to the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Kassissieh will highlight the vital role of the Palestinian Christian community in promoting Palestine's image worldwide. HCEF wishes Mr. Kassissieh the best of luck as he negotiates with the Holy See to promote the Catholic Church in Palestine and strengthen the special relationship between the Holy See and the PLO.


 "Mr. Kassissieh is the pride of Palestine's Christian community, and in his new post he will do much to raise Palestine's diplomatic profile worldwide," HCEF's President/CEO, Sir Rateb Rabie KCHS remarked. Mr. Rabie continued, saying "HCEF is excited about the opportunities presented by Mr. Kassissieh's appointment and we fully support his endeavors in the interest of peace and justice for the Palestinian people."


His Excellency Ambassador Issa Kassissieh with

His Holiness Pope Francis 


Mr. Kassissieh previously worked as a policy analyst in the PLO's Negotiations Affairs Department. He was sworn in as Ambassador to the Holy See by President Mahmoud Abbas in August.


He holds degrees in Public Administration and International Relations from Harvard, Birzeit University, and the University of Birmingham. In addition to his education, Mr. Kassissieh will bring a wealth of experience and first-hand knowledge about the issues confronting Jerusalem. During his time as the director of the International Relations department at the Orient House in Jerusalem, Mr. Kassissieh was charged with leading the Palestinian negotiating team on talks relating to the Jerusalem portfolio.


In his address to the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, Pope Francis stated: "We must not resign ourselves to thinking of a Middle East without Christians, who for two thousand years have proclaimed Christ's name, integrated as citizens to all effects in the social, cultural, and religious life of the nations to which they belong." HCEF worked with the previous two popes and we look forward to collaborating with Ambassador Kassissieh as he works to preserve our shared Christian heritage in the Holy Land.


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