Pope Francis phones Peres, Abbas to call for Gaza Ceasefire

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis on Friday phoned Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, the Vatican said.

Francis “reminded the presidents” about the need “to bring an end to hostilities, making efforts to promote a truce, peace and reconciliation in the hearts of those involved”, read a statement from the Vatican.

“The Holy Father Francis personally telephoned President Shimon Peres and President Mahmoud Abbas to share his very serious concerns regarding the current situation,” it said.


All three men would like to see peace. Unfortunately, none of them are in a position to bring that about. Peres is 90 years old and leaves office in one week. Abbas has little influence over Hamas.

The New York Times did mention, however, that Abbas was in Cairo and flew to Instanbul on Friday, apparently trying to broker some kind of peace deal.

Here the Pope made a trip to the Holy Land and then invited the two leaders to Rome to pray and this has happened. What was it all for?

I can not say for sure, but I think it was a sincere attempt to promote the peace process. Unfortunately, the politics of the situation are complicated. This is not the first movement towards Middle East peace which foundered.

At various points in my life, I have despaired of the situation. It can be hard to remain hopeful, but good people on all sides need to keep trying. To give up would be to accept endless conflict.

Yes. It is easy to despair. They were welcoming to the Pope and accepted his invitation to meet in Rome for more prayer.
Then within weeks are at war with each other again. It does seem endless. I worry now about the Pope’s trip to South Korea. I know they were hoping Catholics from the north would be allowed to come - a small group anyway. What will transpire after that trip? I didn’t think the leader of North Korea allowed any religion.
I know he will get a warm welcome in South Korea.

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