Video: Pope Francis offers joint Vatican prayer service to Abbas, Peres

posted at 12:31 pm on May 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

NBC wonders whether this amounts to a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. If so, it could hardly do worse than what has preceded it. While traveling on a pilgrimage through the Holy Land, Pope Francis extended an invitation to Israeli president Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Vatican together to join in prayer for peace — an offer accepted by both:

Pope Francis extended an invitation Sunday to the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to travel to the Vatican for a “peace initiative,” as he called for a two-state solution to the intractable conflict.

The pontiff’s remarks came at the end of an outdoor Mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on the second day of his three-day trip to the Middle East.

“In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace,” Francis said.

“I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”

NBC notes the quick acceptance from the two presidents:

The Israeli and Palestinian presidents will pay a symbolic visit to the Vatican next month to pray for peace after accepting an impromptu invitation from Pope Francis.

Francis issued the surprise, joint invitation after landing in Bethlehem, the cradle of Christianity, in a symbolic nod to Palestinian aspirations for their own state.

In another unscripted moment, he prayed at the Israeli separation barrier surrounding the biblical West Bank town and briefly donned the checkered black and white headscarf that is a symbol of the Palestinian cause.

Jubilant Palestinians cheered Francis as he arrived in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, shouting “Viva al-Baba!” or “Long live the pope!” Giant Palestinian flags in red, white, green and black and the Vatican’s yellow-and-white flags decorated the square, which is home to the Church of the Nativity, built over Jesus’ traditional birth grotto.

At the end of Mass in the square, Francis invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to pray with him for peace, saying: “I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”

The offices of the Israeli and Palestinian presidents quickly confirmed that they had accepted the invitation, with the Palestinians saying the meeting would take place in June.

The inclusion of Peres rather than Benjamin Netanyahu will get some attention. Diplomatically, it makes sense; both men fill the role of head of state. Peres’ office is more ceremonial, and Abbas’ “state” is aspirational. Netanyahu is the head of government in Israel, not of the state (in the US, both offices are combined in the presidency). Peres has long been more vocal about the peace process, which makes him a more sympathetic partner for Francis in this “prayer diplomacy” effort. I’ve attended the Peres-directed Presidential Conference on two occasions in Jerusalem, and the tilt of the agenda is clearly in the direction of a negotiated two-state solution with Abbas. It will be interesting to see how Netanyahu responds, but I’d assume he’d stay positive about it publicly and otherwise be happy to put it at arm’s length.

Both CNN and NBC make a little bit bigger deal of Francis’ “recognition” of Palestine as a state. The Vatican has long used that language about Palestine; this is not a new development. Two other symbolic acts are new developments, though. Previous pontiffs have visited the West Bank through Israel; Francis went through Jordan to the West Bank and then through to Israel, as we did on our pilgrimage last fall. Pope Francis also made an unscheduled stop in Bethlehem to pray at the security wall, which cuts through the city, in a rather clear show of support over local objections to the wall and its placement on Palestinian land.

That’s not to say that Francis didn’t have a message for the Palestinians, either. The Vatican has long been alarmed at the pressures on Christians in the Holy Land, and challenged Abbas to protect the ancient minority:

In his remarks, Francis called on Abbas to protect the religious rights of Palestinian Catholics.

The Vatican has expressed concern over the emigration of Palestinian Christians.

Will this joint prayer service restart the peace process? The odds are long, and the divisions deep. Prayer cannot hurt, though, and perhaps Pope Francis has more acumen on bridging divisions than successions of American administrations.

For those who missed Pope Francis’ arrival in Bethlehem this morning, Catholic TV has the video.

The pontiff has already arrived in Israel, where he will continue his pilgrimage this week.


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He should be there as a pilgrim showing that Christianity is not about earthly things.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Smart politics.

He should be there as a pilgrim showing that Christianity is not about earthly things.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Nice gesture.

Though Peres has 0 power.

Ben Hur on May 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Pope Francis offers joint Vatican prayer service to Abbas, Peres

aka polytheism.

Akzed on May 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM

That’ll work.
Abbas will be praying for the death of Jews.
Pope Naive I.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 25, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I need to hide and watch on this. I got pretty ticked off with the news this morning suggesting that the Pope was appalled at the conditions in Palestine and seemingly blaming Israel. Knowing the media as I do, I don’t know why I believe that. I’ll need to look deeper.

Cindy Munford on May 25, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Will this joint prayer service restart the peace process? The odds are long, and the divisions deep.

Until Islam stops slandering Judaism, no. But autocratic Arab leaders need an “other” to blame for their own failures.

rbj on May 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM

So he recognizes a palistinian state?

That won’t lead to peace.

wolly4321 on May 25, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Until Islam stops slandering Judaism, no. But autocratic Arab leaders need an “other” to blame for their own failures.

rbj on May 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Too bad that can’t ever happen, as Islam traces its lineage to Ishmael, and Judaism to Isaac. There will never be peace between the two.

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

I need to hide and watch on this. I got pretty ticked off with the news this morning suggesting that the Pope was appalled at the conditions in Palestine and seemingly blaming Israel. Knowing the media as I do, I don’t know why I believe that. I’ll need to look deeper.

Cindy Munford on May 25, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Well, the Israelis, with their concept of communal punishment, certainly do bear part of the blame. Again, I offer to you the village of ‘Imwas — now “Canada Park”.

But Palestinians, with Hamas and its constant attempts to harm Israeli noncombatants, are certainly partly to blame as well.

Just remember that both sides have as their motto, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

So he recognizes a palistinian state?

That won’t lead to peace.

wolly4321 on May 25, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Why not? The alternative is far worse.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

So he recognizes a palistinian state?

That won’t lead to peace.

wolly4321 on May 25, 2014 at 1:17 PM

The recognition of a Palestinian state has never proven to be anything except a mistake. What makes the Vatican think the pope will be any different in this regard is beyond me.

gryphon202 on May 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Just remember that both sides have as their motto, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Both sides don’t seek to wipe the other out. That’s a moral equivalency I don’t care much to pursue.

gryphon202 on May 25, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Yep, they all come out of the prayer session and Abbas agrees for his organization to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Abbas is murdered by his body guards on the way home.

SC.Charlie on May 25, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Just remember that both sides have as their motto, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

No. They really don’t

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

There we go. First comment from a Know Nothing.

corona79 on May 25, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Well, the Israelis, with their concept of communal punishment, certainly do bear part of the blame. Again, I offer to you the village of ‘Imwas — now “Canada Park”.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

One village in a strategic location, demolished with the people allowed to leave and offered financial compensation does not constitute an Israeli policy of collective punishment.

They would be justified in such a policy however…

According to a survey conduced by pollster Stanley Greenberg, 73 percent of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza say they believe Jews should be killed “wherever they hide” — be it behind stones, or trees — per their Islamic Hadith.

80 percent of Palestinians also agree with yet another passage from the Hadith also contained in the Hamas Charter about the need to enlist Arab and Islamic battalions to stamp out the Jews.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I don’t think this verse has much, if anything, to do with earthly war and peace.

Do you really think that God would become incarnate to say “war is bad”? I think people already knew that.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Too bad that can’t ever happen, as Islam traces its lineage to Ishmael, and Judaism to Isaac. There will never be peace between the two.

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM

I’m afraid you’re right. Build the wall.

rbj on May 25, 2014 at 1:49 PM

[sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 1:33 PM]

I’ve always considered that ‘Israel is partly to blame’ to be the zero part.

Dusty on May 25, 2014 at 1:55 PM

I’ve always considered that ‘Israel is partly to blame’ to be the zero part.

Dusty on May 25, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Its like saying the US Navy was partly to blame for the Pearl Harbor attack because the Japanese weren’t the only ones using violence on that day. The anti-aircraft gunners were shooting back so they are “partly to blame”.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 1:58 PM

I don’t think this verse has much, if anything, to do with earthly war and peace.

Do you really think that God would become incarnate to say “war is bad”? I think people already knew that.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM

God became incarnate so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

God was so intensely concerned with our lives that He came here to teach us the correct way to live those lives — ways which aid us in Salvation.

You are welcome to interpret Scripture as certain ascetics do — that one must divorce one’s life completely from that of this pale to achieve Salvation. I say to you that I interpret Scripture quite differently from you. We have been instructed as to how to treat each other, and even how to treat each other when there is dispute. When Jesus preached, he preached to sinners — those who had violated God’s Will.

The Pope can do no worse than to emulate Jesus’ concern for us in this world.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM

I don’t think this verse has much, if anything, to do with earthly war and peace.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 1:34 PM

The verse doesn’t have anything to do with this limelight grabber, either.

Dusty on May 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM

I’m afraid you’re right. Build the wall.

rbj on May 25, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Who would be stupid enough to trust that illiberals’ ideas about peace could protect the Israelis, knowing that so many of them blame the violence of Muslims on poverty? This pope has even said that Islam at its core isn’t violent. Apparently he’s never studied the complete history of Islam.

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 2:04 PM

The end game to any deal is always a Palestinian state. Palestine is a defacto state now. It isn’t going to stop the Islamic radicals from hating the West, but it will give them one less justification for it and show that it is just pure hatred. If the Vatican feels it can be an honest broker in this, I’m all for it. Cardinal Parolin seems to be a much savvier diplomat than Kerry.

As a side note, ultra-Orthodox Jewish radicals have been the ones who have been stirring up the trouble prior to the Pope’s trip. There have been some instances with graffiti on Christian sites and villages and demonstrations at the Cenacle. (Pope Francis is holding a Mass in the room that is attributed to the Last Supper tomorrow.) I’m quite disappointed by this as I would expect that the Jews would be sensitive to the rights of Christian minorities in the region given their history.

Illinidiva on May 25, 2014 at 2:10 PM

You are welcome to interpret Scripture as certain ascetics do — that one must divorce one’s life completely from that of this pale to achieve Salvation.
unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM

And you’re welcome to continue to believe that you’re not going to be divorced from this pale. And to act as if your salvation is here.

Nothing to do with asceticism – just fact. And a teaching that is so much more important than anything about how we should treat each other. We already know that – and can’t do it because we and this world are fallen.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 2:16 PM

One village in a strategic location, demolished with the people allowed to leave and offered financial compensation does not constitute an Israeli policy of collective punishment.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 1:33 PM

One village, multiplied by hundreds, certainly illustrates the problem at hand.

If the Chinese were to come and overrun America, and dispossessed you of your lands and your livelihood, what would you do? Would you enjoy becoming French? Would you take the (admittedly inadequate) compensation they might offer at some point for our land and say “Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles”? How would you feel about the nice park the Chinese built atop the bulldozed remains of your church, your house, your school?

Here is one of the books in the article — Tom Segev’s “1967: Israel, the War, and the Year that Transformed the Middle East”

http://books.google.com/books?id=ggLatcD7gW4C&pg=PA407&lpg=PA407&dq=imwas+tom+segev&source=bl&ots=Cjj6eirz3S&sig=p1pzeY45wZN3PBvkISmpiSuX0jQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ajGCU6SnEIPtoASl_oK4Dg&ved=0CEUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=imwas%20tom%20segev&f=false

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:17 PM

And you’re welcome to continue to believe that you’re not going to be divorced from this pale. And to act as if your salvation is here.

Nothing to do with asceticism – just fact. And a teaching that is so much more important than anything about how we should treat each other. We already know that – and can’t do it because we and this world are fallen.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 2:16 PM

I see, you are a say but not do kind of person. Understood.

My salvation depends on God, but God will Judge me based on what I do here — or do not do here. Faith must, of necessity, be accompanied by works, or it is a shallow empty kind of faith which does not warrant anything from God.

But I can see that the choir loft is empty in this instance, so I will not preach further on this topic.

At this point, it’s casting pearls before swine.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM

The Wall is an unmitigated success if you define success in drop in murders. And this really chaps lefty and pali a$$! lol

Blake on May 25, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Prayer won’t hurt. It will help, although the way the Lord works, we may not be able to tell for some time.
That said, until the 7th-century savages among the Arab population give up on killing every Jew, there won’t be peace.

n0doz on May 25, 2014 at 2:25 PM

One village, multiplied by hundreds, certainly illustrates the problem at hand.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:17 PM

The problem is Islam and the Palestinians are infected with it.

Getting rid of the Palestinians is the only way there will ever be peace in that region.

Jews are found throughout the world and live in peace with their neighbors.

Muslims are also found all over the world and when they have any power we see bloodshed. Sudan, India, the Balkans, France, England, Holland, the United States, Lebanon, Central Asia, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Libya, Syria, Algeria, Argentina, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, and on goes the list of Islam’s bloody borders.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out a not particularly difficult problem.

Islam is the problem.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Both sides don’t seek to wipe the other out. That’s a moral equivalency I don’t care much to pursue.

gryphon202 on May 25, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Oh, really? From each of their respective acts, I might have thought so.

I have several rules which I follow in my life. One is not taking what belongs to someone else, no matter how much I might covet it. The other is sincerely trying not to covet in the first place. Over and over I’ve pointed out how liberals differ from conservatives with regard to these things — they will indeed both covet and take that which belongs to others for their own use.

I think the Israelis made that mistake even before their country came into existence, and are paying for it today.

The Palestinians attempted to dispossess the Israelis of that which they owned (which at the time of the founding of the State of Israel was only 20% of the land) after Israel’s declaration of independence, and are paying for it today.

You have the children of the partial owners of the land fighting each other for the whole of the land. This will go on until someone makes peace, or someone gains enough advantage to completely win the war forever and ever. And we know, biblically, how such supremely successful wars end in terms of a final solution for one side or the other. No wall will stop this violence, no starvation nor lack of goods will. But certainly innocent people will suffer in this on both sides.

Certainly, if the Pope can get any movement away from what is happening now and what is certain to happen in the future, he is to be commended.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:31 PM

I have several rules which I follow in my life. One is not taking what belongs to someone else, no matter how much I might covet it.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:31 PM

You support foreign nationals entering the United States illegally so… BS.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Islam is the problem.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 2:29 PM

I disagree. I think the land is the problem, and the religious aspects are secondary.

I mentioned ‘Imwas to show another point — that here was a village at peace with the nearby kibbutz — and so at peace that nearly all of the pictures taken of the turning out of the inhabitants was taken by a sympathetic Israeli soldier who was a member of said kibbutz. There are pictures of the now torn down Catholic church, the mosque, the schools, and even a Franciscan friar from a nearby monastery arguing fruitlessly with the Israel commander about what the Israelis are about to do.

That’s some pretty powerful stuff. You are free to discount it, but it underpins a lot of the animosity between the two sides which transcends religion.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:38 PM

NBC wonders whether this amounts to a new round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. If so, it could hardly do worse than what has preceded it.

True enough.

Which is good, since it won’t do any better.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 25, 2014 at 2:42 PM

You support foreign nationals entering the United States illegally so… BS.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Why, you are absolutely right! Whereas you support making immigrants be illegal, so that you can have an under-society of people whom you can cheat of their rightful wages waiting to do your bidding at the local Home Depot.

You see, I understand you. Like all of your ilk, you will go down to the Home Depot and hire that guy, or allow ones like him to garden your home, or pluck your chickes so they are a dollar a pound cheaper at the store, or allow them to build your new addition, or do any of a hundred things for which their illegal status allows employers to pay them a fraction of a dollar for every dollar worth of work that they do.

Ok, your turn.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:43 PM

One village, multiplied by hundreds, certainly illustrates the problem at hand.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:17 PM

The problem is Islam and the Palestinians are infected with it.

Getting rid of the Palestinians is the only way there will ever be peace in that region.

Jews are found throughout the world and live in peace with their neighbors.

Muslims are also found all over the world and when they have any power we see bloodshed. Sudan, India, the Balkans, France, England, Holland, the United States, Lebanon, Central Asia, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Libya, Syria, Algeria, Argentina, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, and on goes the list of Islam’s bloody borders.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out a not particularly difficult problem.

Islam is the problem.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Unfortunately, every bit of this is true. God told Abraham that Ishmael would be a wild man, and that his hand would be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.

And that’s certainly been the case ever since.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

I have several rules which I follow in my life. One is not taking what belongs to someone else, no matter how much I might covet it. unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:31 PM

You support foreign nationals entering the United States illegally so… BS. sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Why, you are absolutely right!

Illegals covet our jobs, and you criticize the people who hire them, yet you want them here?

Akzed on May 25, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I disagree. I think the land is the problem, and the religious aspects are secondary.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Insanity. The land is an excuse, a catalyst at worst.

How do you explain the constant problems Islam has with other cultures around the world? Have you studied Islam much? Know its history? Do you agree with the current pope that Islam is not a violent religion at its core?

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM

I see, you are a say but not do kind of person. Understood.

My salvation depends on God, but God will Judge me based on what I do here — or do not do here. Faith must, of necessity, be accompanied by works, or it is a shallow empty kind of faith which does not warrant anything from God.

But I can see that the choir loft is empty in this instance, so I will not preach further on this topic.

At this point, it’s casting pearls before swine.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM

That’s not very nice.

What I’m saying is this: Jesus was not an ethical teacher. Ethics is natural law – as the Church has always taught. Which is why all religions/philosophies basically agree on ethics.

Jesus came to save us and teach us that he was the way to salvation apart from our ethical failures. That is what the Pope needs to teach. Any earthly institution can teach ethics – the Church has a higher and unique purpose.

kcewa on May 25, 2014 at 2:57 PM

lol. So glad I wasn’t born into this.

Murphy9 on May 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

I mentioned ‘Imwas to show another point — that here was a village at peace with the nearby kibbutz

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:38 PM

BS. They were in the center of the Latrun Salient that was used for years as an artillery placement in 1948 and 1967.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Whereas you support making immigrants be illegal, so that you can have an under-society of people whom you can cheat of their rightful wages waiting to do your bidding at the local Home Depot.

Those aren’t their “rightful” wages and they should be in their own nation where they are citizens.

You see, I understand you. Like all of your ilk, you will go down to the Home Depot and hire that guy, or allow ones like him to garden your home, or pluck your chickes so they are a dollar a pound cheaper at the store, or allow them to build your new addition, or do any of a hundred things for which their illegal status allows employers to pay them a fraction of a dollar for every dollar worth of work that they do.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 2:43 PM

You understand very little.

I support the idea of illegals being allowed to sue their employers for ten times the legal wage they would have gotten, plus benefits, plus a $25,000 fine they get to take home with them when they are deported.

That would be the end of the illegal job market. No employer would risk hiring someone who could then turn around and get ten times what they were just paid.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Insanity. The land is an excuse, a catalyst at worst.

How do you explain the constant problems Islam has with other cultures around the world? Have you studied Islam much? Know its history? Do you agree with the current pope that Islam is not a violent religion at its core?

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM

The issue with Islam is that it is desperately in need of an Islamic Martin Luther to pound 95 theses to the door of Al Aqsa mosque. Unfortunately, the form of Islam currently prevalent in the Middle East is an extreme Wahabbi form. There are other forms. Sufism has a very mystical and peaceful side and there are many off shoots of Sunni and Shi’a Islam that are more moderate. Hopefully, those forms of Islam will become ascendant.

I don’t think that Islam is violent in itself. I think that all religions have their own forms of violence and extremism; it is just that right now the fundamentalist form of Islam has the most support.

Illinidiva on May 25, 2014 at 3:07 PM

To this uncle lunatic,
how many Jews were driven out of Arabs nations and lost their land? More than Arabs driven from Israel.
Most Arabs left on their own after being told to stand aside as the Arabs armies killed the Jews first.
This so-called pope is a disgrace to favor those who are now killing and driving out his fellow Christians and would like to continue to do the same to the remaining Jews in Israel.

AM YISROEL CHAI

Janovus on May 25, 2014 at 3:10 PM

The issue with Islam is that it is desperately in need of an Islamic Martin Luther to pound 95 theses to the door of Al Aqsa mosque. Unfortunately, the form of Islam currently prevalent in the Middle East is an extreme Wahabbi form.

Illinidiva on May 25, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Did it ever occur to you that Islams Martin Luther might be a little different than the Christian Martin Luther?

We are currently at war with the reformers of Islam, who like Martin Luther, are returning to the holy scriptures as their inspiration.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 3:11 PM

The issue with Islam is that it is desperately in need of an Islamic Martin Luther to pound 95 theses to the door of Al Aqsa mosque.

You clearly do not understand the structure and nature of Islamic teachings if you believe this is possible.

Mohammed, the greatest prophet of Islam, denied the divinity of Christ. You’re a Christian. The New Testament says people like Mohammed are anti-Christs. I suggest you start there.

I don’t think that Islam is violent in itself. I think that all religions have their own forms of violence and extremism; it is just that right now the fundamentalist form of Islam has the most support.

Illinidiva on May 25, 2014 at 3:07 PM

If you believe that Islam, which not only is built upon an lie but teaches that violence is OK to use under many different circumstances, isn’t violent at its core, you don’t understand Satan and the spiritual battle he’s having with God, and you can’t understand why Islam is at war with everyone who resists it. It really is that simple.

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 3:17 PM

This pope should get a life already, seriously, he added a pope tag (as in graffitti) to the west bank wall that is saving Israelis lives..if that’s his message to the Israelis, he might as well just stay home, why bother.

jimver on May 25, 2014 at 3:37 PM

BS. They were in the center of the Latrun Salient that was used for years as an artillery placement in 1948 and 1967.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

No. There was an artillery placement at Latrun in the 1948 war, but not in the 1967 war. The emptying of ‘Imwas in 1967 — the collective punishment of all of the villagers — was not the result of any act against Israel on their part — either collectively or individually.

Interestingly, the Arab villagers evicted from Latrun in 1948 were resettled by the Israelis — in ‘Imwas.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 3:47 PM

No. There was an artillery placement at Latrun in the 1948 war, but not in the 1967 war.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Arab gunners on the roof of Latrun police station, 1957.

From Wikipedia on the Six-Day War…

Documents captured by the Israelis from various Jordanian command posts record orders from the end of May for the Hashemite Brigade to capture Ramot Burj Bir Mai’in in a night raid, codenamed “Operation Khaled”. The aim was to establish a bridgehead together with positions in Latrun for an armoured capture of Lod and Ramle. The “go” codeword was Sa’ek and end was Nasser. The Jordanians planned for the capture of Motza and Sha’alvim in the strategic Jerusalem Corridor. Motza was tasked to Infantry Brigade 27 camped near Ma’ale Adummim: “The reserve brigade will commence a nighttime infiltration onto Motza, will destroy it to the foundation, and won’t leave a remnant or refugee from among its 800 residents“.[118]

Motza was an Israeli settlement.

At the same time, the mechanized Harel Brigade attacked the fortress at Latrun, which the Jordanians had abandoned due to heavy Israeli tank fire.

With Jordanian defenses in Jerusalem crumbling, elements of the Jordanian 60th Brigade and an infantry battalion were sent from Jericho to reinforce Jerusalem. Its original orders were to repel the Israelis from the Latrun corridor

http://www.sixdaywar.org/content/easternfront.asp

two Egyptian commando battalions deployed near Latrun rounded out the forces arrayed against Israel on the Jordanian front.

To eliminate the Latrun bulge which had always threatened Israeli communications with Jerusalem.

Parallel with this operation an Israeli brigade under Col. Moshe Yotvat defeated the Jordanian and Egyptian forces at the Latrun police fortress, putting that key strategic point in Israeli hands as well.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM

“Hey, what happened to my idea about the ghettoes and making them wear yellow marks on their clothing?” -Paul IV

“Israel? I recognize no such illegal entity. Now, that way cool PLO! Awesome, baby. Got an office in the Vatican for those peace-loving, same-god-adoring darlings” -Paul VI

mankai on May 25, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Hmmmm. The plot thickens.

Cleombrotus on May 25, 2014 at 4:59 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gun_on_roof_of_Latrun_pollice_station.jpg

1948 (in fact, I suspect 1947).

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Palestinians-launch-campaign-to-regain-occupied-Latrun-315782

It’s unclear what forces were in the Latrun bulge if any — and there certainly were not any in ‘Imwas (aside from one wounded Egyptian brought there to the hospital for treatment). They talk about “threatened communications”, but not that said communications were ever halted (at that point, the Israelis held a small portion of Jerusalem which had been completely surrounded by Jordan since the 1948 war, so certainly communications could be cut off at any time of the Jordanians’ choosing). The Latrun Salient obviously threatened the road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and needed to be taken by the Israelis — that they needed to empty the three villages is less obvious, especially since ‘Imwas enjoyed good relations with a nearby Israeli kibbutz.

Perhaps this is the reason:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Latrun_%281948%29

After capturing a village, the Israeli soldiers systematically expelled the non-combatants, intimidating them to leave and demolishing houses. A massacre of between thirty and seventy Arabs took place some days after Abu Shusha was taken. Most villages were levelled, so as not to be used by the Arab volunteers and to prevent the inhabitants returning. In some cases Jewish settlements were established on village land.

Note that no mention is given to Latrun during the 1967 war. That’s here:

http://www.jafi.org/JewishAgency/English/jewish%20education/Compelling%20Content/Eye%20on%20Israel/Places%20in%20Israel/Latrun.htm

On 6.6.1967, at the beginning of the Six Day War, the Latrun station was conquered by the Harel Brigade, after being abandoned by the Jordanian Legion because of heavy Israeli tank fire.

Furthermore, your citations say nothing about what the three villages did against Israelis. Given the pictures below, nothing. Looks like the Israelis are pretty at ease herding the villagers out.

There was one wounded Egyptian soldier taken to ‘Imwas for medical attention. In fact, his picture is one of those taken by the Israeli soldier who photographed the emptying of ‘Imwas.

http://www.palestineremembered.com/al-Ramla/Imwas/Picture2484.html

So, once again, community destruction visited for no reason.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Abbas should have ended his term 11 days before George W. Bush’s second term ended, never mind that his initial election was marred. Since then he is not “President” Abbas, but a strongman or dictator. The proper reaction to the Palestinian state with its elected Hamas government is:

1. Recognize
2. Aim
3. Fire

raybury on May 25, 2014 at 5:33 PM

So, once again, community destruction visited for no reason.

unclesmrgol on May 25, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Again BS.

Two Egyptian Commando units, a Jordanian infantry brigade deployed near Latrun and the threat to communications tell a very different story.

Your false claim that communications to Jerusalem were never threatened is also a joke.

The Burma Road constructed in 1948 existed for a reason.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_Road_%28Israel%29

That continued until 1967.

You are simply a self-loathing western liberal who has never met an enemy of the west you wouldn’t champion.

sharrukin on May 25, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Abbas joins terrorist Hamas, and Francis calls him a man of peace, and in many ways affirms statehood. Where’s the denunciation of the daily rockets and the suicide bombers? He has to know what he’s doing. And if he doesn’t, his advisors, including Benedict, do. Balderdash.

paul1149 on May 25, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Abbas joins terrorist Hamas, and Francis calls him a man of peace, and in many ways affirms statehood. Where’s the denunciation of the daily rockets and the suicide bombers? He has to know what he’s doing. And if he doesn’t, his advisors, including Benedict, do. Balderdash.

paul1149 on May 25, 2014 at 6:17 PM

It’s sickening.

jimver on May 25, 2014 at 6:24 PM


Hey, what happened to my idea about the ghettoes and making them wear yellow marks on their clothing?” -Paul IV

“Israel? I recognize no such illegal entity. Now, that way cool PLO! Awesome, baby. Got an office in the Vatican for those peace-loving, same-god-adoring darlings” -Paul VI

mankai on May 25, 2014 at 4:43 PM

and not a word of comdemnation of the shooting of the 2 Israelis who were visiting the Jewish museum in belgium yesterday, or on the rampant anti-semitism in Europe (see the lstest results in the Euro elex). he should have stayed home, nobody needs his input in the ME conflct, not when he his sheeple at home (take France for example) embraced anti-semitism in greater numbers every day, as a result of the leftist anti-israel propagada. his visit to Israel is useless circus.

jimver on May 25, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Pope Francis offers joint Vatican prayer service to Abbas, Peres

aka polytheism.

Akzed on May 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM

aka unionism ( church‐fellowship with the adherents of false doctrine), and syncretism (taking part in the services of mixed confession.) Does the Catholic Church not regard such common prayer as a dangerous flirtation with false Doctrine, and a sinful mis-leading of Scripture? Christian freedom would allow the Pope to do this privately, but with a public announcement in a public forum is – astonishing.

Praying for the Palestinians is certainly to be applauded and encouraged. But praying with them on the same stage is putting Allah on a par with the Triune God. Islam does not recognize the divinity of Christ, yet the Pope would offer to the world that Allah is on an equal footing, as an acceptable god? I’m shocked!

ss396 on May 25, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Abbas joins terrorist Hamas, and Francis calls him a man of peace, and in many ways affirms statehood. Where’s the denunciation of the daily rockets and the suicide bombers? He has to know what he’s doing. And if he doesn’t, his advisors, including Benedict, do. Balderdash.

paul1149 on May 25, 2014 at 6:17 PM

But Islam is a religion of peace!

Who cares what the Bible says about Ishmael, and about the Father of lies. Francis says differently. He’s got a messiah complex, I think.

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Man of Peace Abbas..ha..this pope is flat out wrong on this and there is no state of Palestine!

sadsushi on May 25, 2014 at 7:04 PM

What everyone fails to remember is this: Muslim world wants to conquer the west. They will not rest until they do. We have through this before — remember the Gates of Vienna?

Mariadee on May 25, 2014 at 8:55 PM

Diplomatically, it makes sense; both men fill the role of head of state. Peres’ office is more ceremonial, and Abbas’ “state” is aspirational.

No, it doesn’t make sense. The Israeli president is a figurehead. The Palestinian president is the head of state.

This would be akin to setting up a meeting between a team’s mascot and the other team’s manager.

What does make sense is that both presidents were not elected and love to overstep their authority. So, if you want a meaningless peace agreement between two people who don’t have the support of their people, those two are probably your best bet.

Phoenician on May 26, 2014 at 12:25 AM

Also, Peres’ term ends in two weeks.

Phoenician on May 26, 2014 at 12:33 AM

Francis says differently. He’s got a messiah complex, I think.

non-nonpartisan on May 25, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Now, that’s funny :)

jimver on May 26, 2014 at 2:03 AM

Now, that’s funny :)

jimver on May 26, 2014 at 2:03 AM

Where does Francis get off thinking he should pontificate about the “non-violent” nature of Islam? It’s like the roots and lineage of Islam, Mohammed’s biography, the Koran and the Hadiths, and Biblical passages about Satan being the father of lies and a murderer don’t exist nor matter in his mental reality.

Francis’ wishful thoughts about Islam transcend the Bible, and history itself! He’s a dangerous man.

non-nonpartisan on May 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM

I don’t think that Islam is violent in itself. Illinidiva on May 25, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Akzed on May 26, 2014 at 11:34 AM

For a Pope, he doesn’t seem to be familiar with Zechariah 12:3-4

Brock Robamney on May 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Pope-a-dope.

Mirimichi on May 26, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Francis’ wishful thoughts about Islam transcend the Bible, and history itself! He’s a dangerous man.

non-nonpartisan on May 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM

I completely agree.

jimver on May 27, 2014 at 2:33 AM

Robert Spencer:

… this is the Pope who wrote last November that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.” If “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,” then Abbas is certainly a “man of peace.”

Abbas is the “man of peace” who said on March 15, 2013: “As far as I am concerned, there is no difference between our policies and those of Hamas.” He said that while undoubtedly knowing that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna is quoted in the Hamas Charter as saying: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV has featured a music video that proclaimed: “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.”

The “man of peace” heads up Fatah, which is hardly more “moderate.” Palestinian Media Watch reported on May 14 that “on one of its official Facebook pages the Fatah movement, which is headed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, yesterday posted a warning to Israelis. A sign showed an assault rifle and a map of ‘Palestine’ that included both PA areas and all of Israel. In Arabic, Hebrew, and English it said: ‘Warning. This is a land of a Palestinian state and the occupation to leave immediately’ (English original).” …

http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/robert-spencer/pope-francis-mahmoud-abbas-is-a-man-of-peace

paul1149 on May 27, 2014 at 9:14 AM