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

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs