Aide: Pope Sees Hope in Israeli-Palestinian Talks

President Peres Gifts Pontiff With Menorah

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 3, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is expressing hope regarding the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, after a meeting Thursday in Washington, D.C..

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, made this observation on the latest edition of Vatican Television’s «Octava Dies.»

The Vatican spokesman focused his comments on Israeli President Shimon Peres’ visit Thursday to the Pope at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. 

In that meeting, they expressed the hope a peaceful solution will be found that respects «the legitimate aspirations of the peoples» of the Holy Land.

Father Lombardi reported that the Pontiff «expressed to Shimon Peres his intense hope and that of the whole Church for the success of the negotiations, in view of a stable peace in the Holy Land and in the whole region.» 

In this sense, the priest said, no one is unaware «of the difficulty of this enterprise, after so many failed attempts and in a context in which many endeavor — not only with words but also with violence — to make this time fail as well.» 


Nevertheless, he added, the path of dialogue «continues to be the only way to build a future of peace in justice in the long term, which is in reality what all aspire to, even if suffering and hatred have clouded their vision.»

«It is the path the Church has always indicated,» the spokesman affirmed, «with constancy and patience.»

Benedict XVI also spoke about this path «in his unforgettable trip last year, also after the terrible crisis of Gaza,» the Jesuit recalled.

Father Lombardi reported that during his visit, Peres gifted the Holy Father with a silver menorah as an «extraordinary testimony» of this «patient courage.» 

On this menorah, a replica of the one which was once in Solomon’s temple, Peres added this inscription: «To His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Shepherd who seeks to lead us to the fields of blessings and the fields of peace. With great esteem.»

«Therefore, the commitment of the politicians is supported by the commitment of the great moral and religious authorities,» concluded Father Lombardi. «Will peace come at last? We must all be committed in that direction.»

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