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Pope Francis elicits hugging between Israeli and Palestinian leaders

Pope Francis elicits hugging between Israeli and Palestinian leaders

Posted June. 10, 2014 06:14,   


Israeli and Palestinian leaders have embraced in the Vatican in three weeks from the collapse of the recent round of peace talks. Some expect a renegotiation as the meeting of the two leaders was very unusual and the meeting was hosted by the pope’s mediation.

Pope Francis looked at Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas embrace each other in the Vatican gardens on Monday. The pope said, “Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare,” and the leaders planted an olive tree, a symbol of peace, after a prayer meeting for peace in the Middle East.

The Vatican downplayed expectations of a quick breakthrough. But foreign media said on this prayer meeting, which came after the recent collapse of peace talks initiated by the U.S., that the meeting could have a greater symbolic significance since the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993. The Foreign Affairs, a leading magazine for foreign policy, said on Monday that the “hugging” between Israeli President and his Palestinian counterpart can be a catalyst for the resumption of peace talks for five reasons.

The first is the synergy of the band of three – Francis, Peres, and Abbas. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are seniors who have strong trust from their people and trust each other considerably. The pope with an international and moral status is best qualified as a peace mediator.

It is also encouraging that the three people do not fear oppositions and have guts to face them. In November 2012, Abbas inspired anger by saying that he did not expect to return to his childhood village of Safed, in northern Israel, because it is now Israeli territory. Peres dared to call the West Bank settlements a threat to peace and this announcement sparked protests inside of Israel.

The Foreign Affairs also said that the three leaders’ missions are aligned, peoples of the both nations strongly want peace talks, and the date of the meeting on June 8 was after Shavuot, which commemorates the day on which God gave Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai, was celebrated, and fell on Pentecost Sunday for Christians, the 50th day after Easter.