CNN called it a Peace initiative , but it is more of a “gesture” Pope Francis extended an invitation Sunday to the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to travel to the Vatican to pray for peace with him.
“In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli 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.”
The date for the visit is June 6th but don’t expect anything to come out of it. The President of Israel is a ceremonial head of state position with no authority to make peace, a fact that I’m sure Netanyahu pointed out the Vatican. Heck. I have only slightly less authority to negotiate peace as Peres does (after all he is an Israeli citizen, I am not).
And before people start saying inviting Peres was a slam at Bibi forget it the Pope had to invite senile Shimon because from a protocol point of view Peres and Abbas are on the same level.
The Vatican visit will be a very pretty photo-op but nothing more…because Peres doesn’t have the power and Abbas doesn’t have the desire.