News / Middle East

Pope Hosts Israeli, Palestinian Presidents for Prayer Meeting

(L-R) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual head of the Orthodox Christians, arrive at the Vatican Gardens to pray together in the Vatican, June 8, 2014.
(L-R) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual head of the Orthodox Christians, arrive at the Vatican Gardens to pray together in the Vatican, June 8, 2014.
VOA News
Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas joined Pope Francis Sunday at the Vatican in an unprecedented prayer convocation for peace in the Middle East.

The Argentine pontiff invited the two leaders last month, weeks after the latest round of Mideast peace talks collapsed.  He said he hoped Sunday's meeting would bring a "new journey" toward peace.

"Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity," said Francis. 
 
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis and Israeli President Shimon Peres arrive in the Vatican Gardens to pray together at the Vatican, June 8, 2014.
  • Pope Francis welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas upon his arrival at the Vatican, June 8, 2014.
  • Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are pictured in the Vatican Gardens as they pray with Israeli President Shimon Peres (not pictured) at the Vatican, June 8, 2014.
  • Israeli President Shimon Peres, Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas leave after a prayer meeting at the Vatican, June 8, 2014.
  • Israeli President Shimon Peres shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as Pope Francis watches after a prayer meeting at the Vatican, June 8, 2014.

The three leaders, joined by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, heard Christian, Jewish and Islamic prayers from cardinals, rabbis and Muslim imams.  The two-hour meeting in the Vatican gardens included prayers from the Old and New Testaments and the Quran that were read and chanted in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Italian.
 
The Argentine pontiff later told Abbas and Peres that "peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare."  He defined courage as "the willingness to say 'yes' to encounter and 'no' to conflict."
 
The pope issued the surprise invitation to the two leaders last month, just weeks after the collapse of the latest round of Mideast peace talks.
 
In the run-up to the historic gathering, the Vatican sought to dampen expectations that the convocation would lead to any immediate breakthroughs in in the stalemated peace process. 
 
Vatican leaders also insisted the pope was not injecting himself into the peace process. They said the Church did not want to become involved in details leading to any future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Pantelis Kyriakides from: Orlando, FL
June 10, 2014 3:38 AM
Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, has a more descriptive title, "Ecumenical" Patriarch, and this title is recognised by all countries, save one. I believe that VOA should have erred on the side of fairness and used the full title of Bartholomew.

by: Virtual Savior
June 09, 2014 3:54 AM
WWJD? 'God Saves' 'God with us' - Jesus Christ Emmanuel. I hope this will bring Peace to both nations, and more Peace on earth.

by: Anthony Bellchambers from: London UK
June 09, 2014 3:08 AM
Shimon Peres, the architect of the illegal settlements, the originator of Israel's nuclear weapon program and the man who offered atomic bombs to the South African apartheid regime to destroy Nelson Mandela's ANC Freedom Fighters - to attend a prayer meeting for peace! YOU ARE JOKING, of course!

by: Tony from: California
June 09, 2014 2:43 AM
Each one of these people has a different god and various types of relationships with their "god", thus a consortium of demigods is at hand. In the ancient world these spelled trouble with those nations. Whether you believed in gods, ancient aliens or not, it doesn't matter, because people and their leaders acted accordingly to their customs, bias and beliefs when the meetings were over and treaties were made and broken. Just ask Hitler what happened between WWI and WWII.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More