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Abbas, Peres to plant olive tree at Vatican ceremony
Published Friday 06/06/2014 (updated) 08/06/2014 15:03
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US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli
President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart
Mahmoud Abbas at the King Hussein Convention Centre, at the
Dead Sea, on May 26, 2013.(Pool/AFP Jim Young)
VATICAN CITY (AFP) -- The Israeli and Palestinian presidents will plant an olive tree as a symbol of peace after an unprecedented prayer meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican Gardens on Sunday amid high tensions in the Middle East.

The Vatican said it hoped the initiative launched by Francis, which will include Christian, Jewish and Muslim prayers and music, would have an impact on public opinion but stressed it would be a purely spiritual event.

Israeli President Shimon Peres and President Mahmoud Abbas will arrive separately to be greeted by Francis at the Vatican's St Martha Residence, where he lives.

They will be joined by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, a spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian world who is close to Francis.

The ceremony will begin at 1700 GMT, the Vatican said on Friday, specifying that prayers will be delivered in the chronological order of the founding of world's three main monotheistic religions: first Judaism, then Christianity and Islam.

The prayers from each of the three delegations will focus on three themes: "creation," "invocation for forgiveness," and "invocation for peace", the Vatican said.

"This is a pause from politics," said Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is organizing 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.
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1 ) gabi / australia
07/06/2014 03:43
And there won't be any settlers trying to uproot it !

2 ) Joe / USA
07/06/2014 05:17
Maybe Peres when returning to Israel might tell his settlers to stop uprooting and burning olive trees.

3 ) Sarah / The Netherlands
07/06/2014 11:57
aaaaaaaah what a sweet picture (burb). Who will harvest the olives?

4 ) Mel / USA
07/06/2014 15:21
Why didn't Peres & Kerry uproot it themselves as soon as Abbas planted it?
That's what they routinely ALLOW Jews-only colony thugs to do! Peres &Kerry are UPROOTERS,BULLDOZERS,not nurturing planters.And Peres doesn't have"peace","creation" or "forgiveness" in his soul-less Zionist lexicon!He's puts political,ideological.pragmatic Zionism,before being a empathetic Jew.The only thing he's"created" is pain&death, as his successor will,no doubt?

5 ) Only One Plants / Honestly For Peace
07/06/2014 23:38
[a] As Peres plants an olive tree at Vatican ceremony, his people will be seeking peace talks & negotiations to end the conflict with Palestinians, but [b] As Abbas plants an olive tree at Vatican ceremony, his people will be refusing peace talks & negotiations, and preparing for terrorism & war crimes, and murder of Jews !!

6 ) Aron / USA
08/06/2014 13:17
#5. We Jews are perfectly fine. Thanks for your concern. Maybe you Israelis should review your racist ethnic cleansing ways so that you don't have to shed crocodile tears and cry victim to all nearby ears. We all know who the aggressors are and it isn't the civilians living under the boots of the IDF in West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, that's for sure. I spit on the fact that you claim to be the homeland of all Jews. Judaism's biggest flaw is that the tyranny of Zionist Israel has raped it.

7 ) Mel / USA
08/06/2014 19:47
#6:Aron/USA:Bravo!My Jewish friends(survivors)still refuse to go to Israel,because of a similar ideology that stamped tattoo's on forearms!It's the arrogance of how Zionist-Israel speaks as tho'it were the core of Judaism.With all Jews outside of Israel as being diaspora Jews desperate to reach Zionist-led Israel-the reflection of anti-pluralistic Nazism.How can a 'homeland for Jews'even have a caste system with Class 1(Ashkenazi)& all else as 'Arsim'(Zionism's occuption/demographic landfill)???

8 ) Robert / Chapman
08/06/2014 21:18
#6 Aron, good for you brother.. a REAL AND LASTING PEACE is what All Loving and Caring People from All Cultures Want ... Total Peace through Understanding of All Cultures With Respect... Aron , keep planting seeds of Love and follow your conscience and heart !!!! PEACE
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