Vatican officials say that Pope Francis hopes to help end “eternal negotiations” between the Israelis and Palestinians, but will not interfere in politics, during an upcoming prayer session at the Vatican.
Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were invited to the Vatican to pray for peace by Pope Francis during his recent trip to the Holy Land in late May.
According to Vatican spokesman Father Frederico Lombardi, Pope Francis, along with the Orthodox leader Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, will accompany the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to a specially prepared venue at the Vatican for the prayer session.
“Each faith community will present a piece of music, then thank God for the gift of creation, ask forgiveness for sins committed and pray for the gift of peace,” Lombardi said, Vatican Radio reported.
The two leaders will then add their own calls for peace, exchange greetings, and plant an olive tree together.
Vatican official Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa added that this will be a “purely religious event designed to provide space for people to stand back from the conflict and recreate a desire for change,” and that Pope Francis will not get involved in the political details of the conflict.