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Pope 'angel of peace' Abbas comment was encouragement: Vatican

AFP , Monday 18 May 2015
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Views: 563

Pope Francis's reference to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas as "an angel of peace" was meant as encouragement for him to pursue peace with Israel, the Vatican said Monday, after the words whipped up controversy on social media.

The pope often presents heads of states with a large bronze medallion representing an "angel of peace", and did so when he met Abbas on Saturday, when he used the phrase in remarks addressed to the president, according to journalists present.

His words -- which came just days after the Vatican riled Israel by saying it was preparing to sign its first accord with Palestine -- were pounced on on social media amid a dispute about the exact words he used.

As the head of Rome's Jewish community questioned why the pontiff would entrust the "angel of death" with bringing peace, some Twitter users pointed the finger at the media, with one wondering whether "it is the media and not the pope who called Abbas an angel of peace."

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi was unable to clarify, but said it was clear what the pope's meaning was, even if he could not verify his words.

"Each of us must be an angel of peace for others. I was present at the audience but I did not hear the pope's exact words," he said.

"The sense of encouragement seems clear to me, and this gift is presented to many presidents, not just Abbas," he said.

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20-05-2015 01:10pm
A lesson to Arab Muslims
It is surprising how similar real Islam is to Judaism. Both religions are meant to be comprehensive way of life, not only a faith, but also a legal system and a socioeconomic framework. Nevertheless, followers of each religion take a completely different approach to protecting their traditions and way of life. Jews are united in taking a peaceful, but ironclad approach to defending their way of life, even the Pope and Vatican have to pay attention. Arab Muslims, on the other hand, are divided, taking often an extremist violent path to defending their way of life, they still live in the 14 century where conflicts were to be resolved by wars not by the Pen, Diplomacy, and long-term planning. They don’t need to adopt the Jewish faith, but learn from its successful lessons; they don’t need to vilify world bankers and media tycoons but learn their tricks; they don’t need to support Israel but learn their technology and economics.
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