Israeli President Pressures Pope Francis in Vatican Visit

• Peres wants the world to think Israeli leadership is interested in peace

By Pete Papaherakles

Pope Francis met with Israeli president and ex-terrorist Shimon Peres at the Vatican on April 29. Peres was one of the first state leaders to meet with the newly installed pontiff since he was elected pope on March 13, 2013.


The two men spoke on various issues. In a communiqué from the Holy See, both men expressed their hope for a “speedy resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”

“You have an important role in progressing peace and the belief in it. I turn to you and ask that within your sermons in front ofmillions of believers in the world you include the hope for peace in the Middle East and the whole world,” Peres said in a statement following the meeting.

The Israeli president and Pope Francis expressed concern and worry for the current situation in Syria.

During the meeting, the pope made clear that “anti-Semitism” goes against Christianity and must be opposed in every country. Francis suggested a global meeting with the heads of all the world’s faiths, hopefully to come out against violence and terror.

Peres asked Francis “to pray for all of us” and told the pope that he would pray for him during a trip on Wednesday to the central Italian city of Assisi, where he will visit the tomb of St. Francis.

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Peres also invited the pope to visit Israel, and the pope said he would try to find a time to do so in the near future.

The meeting concluded with both noting the progress that has been made regarding relations between the Holy See and the state of Israel.

Peres has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and his meeting with the pope is hyped by the media as a big step toward peace in the Mideast. Yet a closer look at Peres reveals a much different story.

For starters, Peres is not his real name. He was born in 1923 as Szymon Perski in Poland. He moved to Palestine in 1934 and joined Haganah, a Jewish terrorist group involved in clearing native Arabs out of Palestine, becoming chief of arms purchases. He is the architect of Israel’s nuclear program, estimated to have over 400 illegal nuclear bombs by now.

As Israel’s prime minister in 1996 he was responsible for “Operation Grapes of Wrath” causing 400K Lebanese to flee their homes, with almost 800 of them trekking to a UN base in Qana, south Lebanon. On April 18, 1996, the Israeli army shelled the UN shelter in Qana, killing 102 civilians, mainly women, children and the elderly. Many more were injured. Peres said everything went as planned and was “at peace” with the massacre.

Peres also supports the genocidal siege on Gaza, the illegal settlements and the elaborate system of checkpoints all across the West Bank. He defends the demolition of Palestinian homes, and he justified the atrocities committed by the Israeli army in its 2006 war on Lebanon and in Operation Cast Lead in 2008. He also claims that Israel has the right to the Golan Heights because it was gained during war.

The pope can pray for peace all he wants, but with the mentality and track record of people like Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, peace in the Mideast is not in the cards.

Peter Papaherakles, a U.S. citizen since 1986, was born in Greece. He is AFP’s outreach director. If you would like to see AFP speakers at your rally, contact Pete at 202-544-5977.