[QODLink]
Middle East

Pope leads Israeli-Palestinian peace prayer

Francis holds prayer meeting with Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres at Vatican in gesture aimed at fostering dialogue.

Last updated: 08 Jun 2014 17:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Francis said during his visit to the Holy Land he has no wish to meddle in Middle East politics [Reuters]

The Israeli and Palestinian presidents have begun an unprecedented meeting with Pope Francis to pray together in the hope that the gesture will relaunch the peace talks.

Francis will lead prayers on Sunday at the Vatican with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in a gesture aimed at fostering dialogue.

"This prayer meeting will not be for mediation or to find solutions. We are just meeting up to pray. Then everyone goes home," Francis said after issuing the invitations during a pilgrimage to the Middle East last month.

Francis said it would be "crazy" to expect any Vatican mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Despite insisting that he had no wish to meddle in politics, Francis, on his second day of a visit to the Holy Land, called for Palestinians and Israelis to work together, saying a breakdown in talks was "unacceptable".

The prayers from the world's three main monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, will focus on three themes: "creation", "invocation for forgiveness" and "invocation for peace".

Following the prayers, Francis, Abbas and Peres will make their invocation for peace and the three will then plant an olive tree.

The meeting is taking place more than a month after Israel suspended US-brokered talks with the Palestinians after the announcement that Hamas and Fatah would create a new consensus government.

Israel had also approved tens of thousands of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank during the talks.

240

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list