Current Events – Vatican Peace Talks

Pope Francis Invites Israeli, Palestinian Leaders to Vatican Peace Talks

While laboring at Thessalonica, Paul had so fully covered the subject of the signs of the times, showing what events would occur prior to the revelation of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven, that he did not think it necessary to write at length regarding this subject. He, however, pointedly referred to his former teachings. ‘Of the times and the seasons,’ he said, ‘ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them’ (I Thessalonians 5:1–3).” The Acts of the Apostles, 258–260.

“The high point of Jimmy Carter’s [United States] presidency occurred on Monday, September 18, 1978. While Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin looked on from the balcony, Carter briefed a joint session of Congress on the success of their thirteen-day summit at Camp David, Maryland. Stopping twenty-five times for applause, he described the first peace treaty between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors, as well as a framework for further progress toward peace in the Middle East. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God’ (Matthew 5:9), an emotional Carter intoned, capping two weeks of high-risk diplomacy that ended in historic achievement.

“When Jimmy Carter entered the White House in 1977, the situation in the Middle East was highly unstable, the product of four wars since the establishment of Israel on May 14, 1948. A formal state of war still existed between Israel and its neighbors, including Egypt, bent on reclaiming the Sinai territory seized by the Israelis in 1967. Millions of Palestinian Arabs chafed under Israeli control in the West Bank and Gaza territories, also annexed during the Six Day War in 1967.

Thirty-six years later:

Pope Francis extended an invitation Sunday [May 25, 2014] to the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to travel to the Vatican for a “peace initiative,” after earlier calling for a two-state solution to the intractable conflict. …

The Palestinian side has accepted the invitation and … the Israeli President’s office said that he welcomed the invitation. …

The Pope called on all sides to pursue a path to peace together and not take unilateral actions to disrupt it.

“I can only express my profound hope that all will refrain from initiatives and actions which contradict the stated desire to reach a true agreement, and that peace will be pursued with tireless determination and tenacity,” he said.