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Palestinian, Israeli Presidents Meet At The Vatican Today

Submitted by on June 8, 2014 – 10:05 amNo Comment

The presidents of Israel and Palestine will meet for a prayer meeting in the Vatican today, a year after US-led peace talks fell apart. Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres were invited in a surprising offer by Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to the Middle East last month.

According to the Vatican, prayers will be offered by Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Then, the two heads of state will plant an olive tree together.

The Church was quick to moderate expectations for the event:

“This is a pause from politics,” said Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is organising the event and heads up the Franciscan order in the Middle East.

“The pope wanted to look beyond, upwards. Nobody is fooling themselves that peace will break out in the Holy Land, that this will bring peace closer. But this time to stop and breathe has been absent for some time,” he said.

“This will not be an inter-religious prayer. We are not holding a joint prayer, we are meeting to pray,” he said.

But Pizzaballa added that the Church hopes to “re-open a road that has been closed for some time, to re-create a desire, a possibility, to make people dream.”

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