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.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora