News / Middle East

Pope Francis Gets Involved In Middle East Peace Process

Pope Francis Gets Involved In Middle East Peace Processi
X
June 05, 2014 4:22 AM
Pope Francis has invited the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to pray together this Sunday at the Vatican. The pope says he’s not getting involved in the Middle East peace process, but VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky reports that some of the pope’s fans believe he can do things that are difficult for ordinary politicians.
Pope Francis Gets Involved In Middle East Peace Process
Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are expected to meet at the Vatican Sunday for what is being called an “intense prayer session” with Pope Francis.
 
The unexpected invitation was extended during the pope's recent visit to the Middle East, where Francis engaged in the kind of photo opportunities that popes usually avoid. He stopped at the barrier erected around the Palestinian territories and at an Israeli memorial for victims of terrorism. 
 
On the plane home, Pope Francis told reporters he is not getting involved in the stalled peace process.
 
Nonetheless, said Daniel Petri at the Catholic University of America in Washington, the invitation is a bold move.
 
“If something happens, it’s tremendous. Pope Francis is the miracle worker of the Middle East,” he said.
 
The pope is already seen as a maker of miracles by many of his followers. His prayer vigil for peace in Syria on Sept. 7, 2013 was followed by an agreement a week later that prevented U.S. air strikes over the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.
 
Christopher Hale of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has argued in Time magazine that the pope’s accomplishments in the Middle East have shown him to be “the world’s best politician.”
 
But Petri, a PhD candidate, argued in a rebuttal that there have been tens of thousands of fatalities in the Syrian conflict, as well as new allegations of chemical attacks, since the pope’s prayer.
 
“To claim it a success, I think, is wrong, morally and intellectually,” he said, adding that the symbolism of the pope’s actions is what’s important.
 
Sunday’s prayer meeting will follow a morning Pentecost service in St. Peter’s Square. It’s far from clear that anything concrete can be offered by the two political leaders. Peres is nearing the end of his term as Israeli president, and Abbas recently swore in a unity government including Hamas, which advocates the destruction of Israel.
 
Short of a miracle, the main thing the Vatican prayer session can be counted on to produce is an image of a peace effort, with the pope at the center.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: PermReader
June 11, 2014 11:49 AM
Popes always defend Arabs Christians against the Jews.

by: ariely shein from: jerusalem
June 07, 2014 6:49 AM
Congratulation to the holy Pope for the initiative and pray of success.

Some facts that the holy pope should be aware of:
1: "Rome will be conquered like Constantinople""
Broadcasted by Palestinians.
Google search: youtube watch?v=i08L09V0_sg
2: Palestinian authority is using olive trees planting as a tactic to claim ownership of land that doesn't belong to them.
It is based on an Ottoman legislation dated 1865.
3: Under the Palestine authority- Christian population dropped from about 140,000 in 1967 to 51,000 in 2013.
4: Israel is the one country in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown from 34,000 in 1948 to 155,000 in 2013
--
The holly pope should keep in his mind the above lighting facts of the quests and tactics in the real world.

by: David from: usa
June 06, 2014 8:19 AM
Only hope for true peace is Gods Kingdom. That is coming very soon. 1Thessalonians 5:3 "whenever it is that they are saying "peace and security!" then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them." Politicians and religious leaders cannot bring true peace. They will soon see the fulfilment of Daniel chapter 2.

by: Bao Dang from: USA
June 06, 2014 1:13 AM
Don't give up. Give PEACE a chance; even the last chance.
Israel and Palestine leaders agree to meet Pope Francis that shows their faith.

by: Daniel Ballas from: Tucson, AZ
June 05, 2014 3:54 PM
Prayer will do no good for any of these people. All they pray to are their constituents and their egos. I admire Francis for trying.

by: shekel_trader from: US
June 05, 2014 3:10 PM
If the Pope can defeat Satan, then perhaps he can convince the Israelis to give up their evil quest to steal Palestine.
Otherwise, he will better spend his time attempting to raise the dead.

-S/T
In Response

by: Robert H. Stiver from: Oahu, Hawaii, USA
June 06, 2014 5:08 AM
Hear, hear!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs