1. NEGOTIATOR?

    Pope Endorses 'State of Palestine'

    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.

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