Daily Israel Report

Pope Meets Abbas, Calls For Courage to Reconcile

Pope Benedict XVI received PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and called on all parties to work together for peace and reconciliation.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 12/17/2012, 6:26 PM

Pope Benedict XVI, and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Pope Benedict XVI, and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Pope Benedict XVI received Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and called on all parties involved in the Middle East crisis to find the courage to work together for peace and reconciliation, AFP reported.

In a statement following the meeting, the Vatican said it hoped that the PA’s recent upgraded status at the United Nations as a non-member observer state would "encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

The request by the PA to receive non-member status is actually an abrogation of the Oslo Agreements and an attempt to create a hostile entity alongside the Jewish state by avoiding peace negotiations.

Benedict and Abbas had talked about "the region, troubled by numerous conflicts, in the hope that the courage for reconciliation and peace will be found," the Vatican said.

A solution "may be reached only by resuming negotiations between the parties in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both," it said, adding that Abbas had also met with the Vatican's number two and secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone.

The Vatican, which favors a two-state solution, was quick to hail the U.N. vote as a positive step toward reconciliation. The United States was strongly opposed to the unilateral step.