1. NEGOTIATOR?

    Pope Endorses 'State of Palestine'

    Pope Francis (C-L) is greeted by Jordans Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed (C-R), King Abdullah II's religious affairs adviser, upon his arrival at Marka International Airport in Amman on May 24, 2014. Pope Francis arrived in Jordan for the first leg of a Middle East tour aimed at bettering relations with Jews and Muslims as well as easing an ancient rift within Christianity.  AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ        (Photo credit should read PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images)

    PATRICK BAZ/Getty

    Pope Francis is taking a stab at a situation where John Kerry and decades of diplomats have faltered. The pontiff has dived into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his visit to the Middle East, openly referring to the “State of Palestine” in Sunday's Regina Coeli address in Bethlehem’s Manger Square. Pope Francis also referred to Abbas as a “peacemaker.” However, he did make efforts to appeal to both Israelis and Palestinians. He called on Israeli President Shimon Perez and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet at the Vatican to join him in “a heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.” Both have reportedly welcomed the invitation, though Palestianian and church authorities acknowledged it will be largely symbolic.

    Read it at New York Times