Peres and Abbas accept Pope Francis offer to pray for peace at the Vatican

From left to right, Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas, and Tzipi Livni at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East in Jordan, May 2007. Credit: World Economic Forum.

( Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accepted an invitation by Pope Francis to pray for peace at the Vatican.

“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 on his Mideast trip. “I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”

Though Peres and Abbas accepted the pope’s invitation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office made no comment on the matter, according to The Jerusalem Post.

On his trip, the pope also deviated from prepared remarks to condemn the shooting that killed four people on Saturday at a Jewish museum in Brussels, calling the attack a “criminal act of anti-Semitic hatred.”

“With a deeply pained heart, I think of those who have lost their lives in the cruel attack that occurred [Saturday] in Brussels,” Francis said. “I entrust the victims to God's mercy and invoke recovery for the injured.”

Posted on May 26, 2014 .