Skip to main content

Pope calls for Middle East cease-fire

By Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 8:25 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
Pope Francis called for renewed efforts towards peace in the Middle East before Sunday's Angelus prayer.
Pope Francis called for renewed efforts towards peace in the Middle East before Sunday's Angelus prayer.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Pope gives a sermon, traditional prayer every Sunday at noon
  • He met with presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in June
  • Violence in the region has escalated since then
  • Pope says prayer is a powerful weapon against evil

(CNN) -- Pope Francis called for a cease-fire in the Middle East before Sunday's Angelus prayer and said his meeting in June with the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority was not a waste of time.

"I exhort to all the interested parties and to all of those who have political responsibility at the local and international level to not give up the prayer, nor any effort to cease any hostility and reach the desired peace for the good of all," the Pope said, according to a CNN translation. He spoke in Italian, from the window of his apartment above St. Peter's Square.

In June, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres committed themselves to the quest for peace during a visit to the Vatican. It was the first time the Pope had hosted a prayer gathering of two leaders engaged in conflict.

"Someone could think that such a meeting took place in vain. Instead no, because prayer helps us in not letting evil win nor resigning ourselves to violence and hatred take over dialogue and reconciliation," the pontiff said Sunday.

The Angelus is a traditional prayer given Sundays at noon following a short sermon from the Pope.

Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants escalated this month after the killing of three Israeli teenagers and a Palestinian teen. Neither Hamas nor Israel appears to be backing down.

Since Monday, scores of people in Gaza have been killed, the Gaza Health Ministry has said. Though some Israelis have been wounded, none has been killed by the rockets fired by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.

Israel drops leaflets warning Gaza residents to evacuate ahead of airstrikes

Fearing daughter's Gaza border wedding

CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Tensions in the Middle East
updated 6:28 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
CNN's Paula Hancocks looks back at Hamas' founding and explains their present-day goals.
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The U.S. government doesn't discourage those wanting to join, but some question why they would choose the IDF as opposed to the American military.
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
For all the talk of a possible cease-fire, residents of Israel and Palestinians in Gaza are living under a daily barrage of attacks.
updated 8:41 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Progress had been made; a concept was in place. But the terminology, and especially the sequence of any steps toward a lasting cease-fire, were not there.
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Operation Protective Edge could buy Israel a couple of years of peace, analysts say. But is there an end to the cycle of violence?
updated 8:36 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
What are the goals for Hamas, the organization that governs Gaza and is considered a terrorist organization by many Western powers? And what is it willing to settle for to end the bloodshed?
updated 6:15 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Paula Hancocks looks back at Hamas' founding and explains their present-day goals.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
The death toll on both sides from hostilities in Israel and Gaza is now in the hundreds. Here's how you can help.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A discovery of rockets hidden in a vacant U.N. facility is the sort of evidence that Israel cites when it accuses Hamas of using civilians and their institutions as shields in the ongoing Gaza conflict.
updated 6:02 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
The opening was so small that CNN's Wolf Blitzer -- no physical giant -- had to bend down to climb inside one of 30 or so Palestinian tunnels from Gaza to southern Israel.
This is a collaborative effort of CNN and people around the world, who are seeing the ripple effect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
updated 4:14 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Every morning, Asya Abdul-Hadi wakes up in Denver and begins what has become an agonizing routine.
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
How does this incursion compare to previous ones by Israel into Gaza, in terms of military force? Answers to that question and more by CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 1:56 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Israel is confronting a problem beyond the Hamas rockets screeching overhead -- a threat from the tunnels beneath their feet.
updated 2:07 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Each with its unique crisis, all four countries are now unified in a heightened sense of anxiety as years of conflict come to a head.
updated 8:34 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Part of Jerusalem is seeing its worst flare-up in years. Here's a look at some of the key questions about the fighting.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
The violent cycle of retribution and retaliation only seems to be worsening.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
The Israel Defense Forces sent a large force into Gaza -- infantry, tanks, artillery, combat engineers and intelligence units backed by aerial and naval support.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
They call themselves "the resistance." Are they a terrorist network or an elected government -- or both?
updated 7:31 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Clashes in Jerusalem show no sign of stopping and many wonder if peace will ever come to the region. Ben Wedeman reports.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
The current violence between the Israeli military and Hamas is the latest in a long history of fighting in the region. Here's a look at some events along the way.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Israel is fighting to block rockets from striking its major population centers, deploying its Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept them.
ADVERTISEMENT