To Pray For Peace, Pope Francis Welcomes Israeli And Palestinian Envoys

To Pray For Peace, Pope Francis Welcomes Israeli And Palestinian Envoys

In honor of the tenth anniversary of a similar meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents, Pope Francis brought the ambassadors of Israel and Palestine to the Vatican Gardens on Friday to pray for an end to the conflict in Gaza.

Francis addressed the small group, which included the diplomatic corps of the Holy See and about two dozen cardinals, saying, “Every day I pray that this war will finally end.”

Among them were members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in Italy, as well as Israeli Ambassador Raphael Schutz and Palestinian Ambassador Issa Kassissieh.

The occasion mirrored the initial meeting that Francis arranged in the gardens a decade prior, during which he received Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Peace negotiations led by the United States had reached a standstill at that point. However, Francis expressed to the two presidents his hope that their meeting would usher in “a new journey” toward world peace. Then, as today, Francis pleaded with both parties to consent to an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and the immediate repatriation of captives to Israel, stating that too many children had died in violence.

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