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Israel and Palestine presidents accept Francis invitation to pray at the Vatican

Monday, May 26th 2014 - 06:20 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Francis became the first pontiff ever to fly directly into the West Bank and to refer to the Israeli-occupied territory as the “State of Palestine.” Francis became the first pontiff ever to fly directly into the West Bank and to refer to the Israeli-occupied territory as the “State of Palestine.”

Pope Francis inserted himself directly into the collapsed Middle East peace process on Sunday, issuing an invitation to host the Israeli and Palestinian presidents for a prayer summit meeting at his apartment in the Vatican.

 Francis took the unexpected step in Bethlehem, where he became the first pontiff ever to fly directly into the West Bank and to refer to the Israeli-occupied territory as the “State of Palestine.”

After describing the overall situation between Israel and the Palestinians as “increasingly unacceptable,” the pope made a dramatic, unscheduled stop at Israel’s contentious concrete barrier separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem, where he prayed and touched his head against the graffiti-covered wall.

“There is a need to intensify efforts and initiatives aimed at creating the conditions for a stable peace based on justice, on the recognition of rights for every individual, and on mutual security,” Francis said. Peace “must resolutely be pursued, even if each side has to make certain sacrifices.”

Presidents Shimon Peres of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority accepted the pope’s invitation to pray together; Mr. Abbas’s spokesman said the meeting would take place June 6.

Though the meeting is likely to be more symbolic than substantive — Israel’s presidency is ceremonial and Mr. Peres leaves office soon — it could have atmospheric significance for a peace process that has all but completely broken down.

More broadly, Pope Francis’ actions on Sunday posed a striking example of how, barely a year into his papacy, he is seeking to reassert the Vatican’s ancient role as an arbiter of international diplomacy.

Last September, an estimated 100,000 people took part in a four-hour peace vigil for Syria at St. Peter’s Square as the United States was contemplating military strikes against the Syrian government.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • Conqueror

    It's not hard to see the ineptitude, insincerity and ignorance of this man. Over 3,000 years ago, the land belonged to the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
    Who was an enemy? Virtually everybody. But, most notably, the Philistines. Take a look at the bottom left corner of that map. Isn't that Gaza? Have the Philistines become “palestinians”? But let's move on. In 70 AD the ROMAN Empire instituted what might now be called a “pogrom”. An attempt to crush the Jewish people. Many, fearful for their lives and those of their families, fled. Often into western Europe where, due to ignorance, they were reviled and persecuted. After all, it was only the power-hungry Pharisees who contributed to the execution of Jesus. But culminating in the nazi horror. And what was going on over nearly two centuries? The thieving arabs were moving in. Just a short period of research shows that thieving is the prime characteristic of arabs. It's why it's such a surprise when one isn't. After Britain won WW2, it decided to do the RIGHT THING. To return their homeland to the Jewish people. All approved by the UN. But the arabs attacked the day after independence. Four national armies plus contingents from others. They got beaten of course. The arabs are much like that. Useless. And where does this “State of Palestine” come from? All the arabs that felt they couldn't live peacefully in a Jewish state were supposed to move to what was called Transjordan. Now Jordan. Plenty of room. But some of the thieving arabs wouldn't move. And so you get the enclaves of Gaza and the “palestinian territories”. And now this ROMAN Catholic priest sides with the thieving arabs. Didn't the ROMANS already do enough damage? And there IS a direct link from the ROMAN Empire to the ROMAN church! He's the Bishop of Rome. Why is a ROMAN bishop head of a church?

    May 26th, 2014 - 10:43 am 0
  • Kirk Nelson

    We must stop looking at the pass. We must focus in the future and celebrate this event of Presidents meeting, because it is the first step towards peace, a core element that brings tranquility not only to the region, but t the world.
    We have understood that killing one to another is not the long-term solution to the problem. Seeking long-term solution might to start right the moment when President Peres of Israel and the President Abbas of Palestine accepted Pope's invitation, an invitation to pray God, because men in general cannot act alone when seeking peace, so we need divine and supernatural force and better vision in this long conflict and such assistance for sure finally will generate comfort and brotherhood to the world .

    Kirk Nelson,
    New York, USA

    May 26th, 2014 - 12:50 pm 0
  • Conqueror

    @2 With the greatest respect, Kirk, you're talking toffee. Start by recognising that only Shimon Peres is legitimate. Abbas has no legitimacy, even if one were to accept the legitimacy of the so-called “Palestinian Basic Law”. Just look. In 2007, Abbas supposedly dissolved the Hamas-led unity government. Nobody paid any attention. The Hamas “prime minister” continues to act in Gaza. On 20 May 2008, Abbas stated he would resign from his office if the current round of peace talks had not yielded an agreement in principle “within six months”. Hasn't resigned has he? On 9 January 2009, Abbas term as president, at least as he was originally elected, ended. Abbas extended his term for another year, stating the Basic Law gave him the right to do so, so he could align the next presidential and parliamentary elections. That took him to 2010. Here we are in 2014. How come he's still “president”? The reality is that this meeting has no purpose. But I assume that you believe in some beardy guy that lives on a cloud. It's a myth! The U.S. isn't really helping. Still paying out the aid to the “palestinians” it resumed in 2007, is it? Here's what needs to happen. Isn't the U.S. supposed to support Israel? Then in it goes. It needs to clear out the West Bank and shove all the “palestinians” into Jordan. Then it can turn its attention to Gaza. Good starting point. Surround Gaza with tanks and artillery. Simple choice for the occupants. Seven days to come out with possessions and no weapons. Then everything, including aircraft, will begin the bombardment. Gaza to be totally destroyed. The occupants to be loaded into trucks and transported to Jordan. The River Jordan and intervening “seas” to become THE defence line. Any attempt to cross to bet with a shoot to kill policy using any and every weapon. A 20-mile zone on the Jordanian side patrolled by Jordanians and the U.S. Mankind makes its own solutions!

    May 26th, 2014 - 05:42 pm 0
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