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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.