Pope Francis unites Israeli and Palestinian presidents in prayer as they plant an olive tree together in the Vatican gardens

Pope Francis - Photo by Tania Rego

The Pope waded into the Middle East peace process last night, uniting the leaders of Israel and Palestine through the power of prayer during a tranquil sunset summit in the gardens of the Vatican.

Political and religious differences were put to one side last night as Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas joked and hugged at Francis’ Vatican residence before attending an al fresco invocation of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worship.

In a meeting that better resembled an outdoor summer wedding than a diplomatic parley, the three men passed along a receiving line as guests mingled on the lawn to the serene harmonies of a string ensemble.

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