Pope invites Palestinian and Israeli presidents to mutual prayer at Vatican
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
On Sunday, duringvisit to the which lasted three days, he invited the president and the president to join him for a mutual prayer at his home in the .
In agiven in of Pope Francis told crowds,"Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace."
Pope Francis started his visit inand from there he continued to the Palestinian city of Bethlehem. In Bethlehem he met with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the , as well as leading Mass in the crowded Manger Square. He unexpectedly stopped near the concrete separation wall between Bethlehem and , at a spot sprayed with graffiti, got out of his vehicle, and touched the wall with his forehead.
Regarding the peace process, Pope Francis emphasized that peace "must resolutely be pursued, even if each side has to make certain sacrifices". He explained that the situation today is "increasingly unacceptable".
|[Peace] must resolutely be pursued, even if each side has to make certain sacrifices|
The Pope said Palestinians and Israelis each have the right to recognition of their state, calling for "the acknowledgement by all of the right of two states to exist and to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders."
After his visit to thethe Pope journeyed to where he was welcomed by Shimon Peres and , the Israeli Prime Minister. The Pope continued from there to Jerusalem to visit the , the most holy site to the Jewish people, while he was escorted by an rabbi and the leader of the community of Argentina.
The Pope also visited holocaust memorial site Yad Vashem, and by the request of Benjamin Netanyahu he visited too a monument to the victims of terrorism.
The Pope's 55-hour trip included over 30 events. The Pope is 77 years old.
Both the Israeli President and the Palestinian Authority President have agreed to meet the Pope at the Vatican next month.
- William Booth, Ruth Eglash. "Pope Francis balances time with Israelis and Palestinians during visit to Holy Land" — , May 26, 2014
- "Israel and Palestine presidents accept Francis invitation to pray at the Vatican" — , May 26, 2014
- Laura Smith-Spark, Ivan Watson, Delia Gallagher. "Pope Francis invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to Vatican peace talks" — , May 25, 2014