Israel, Palestinian Leaders to Meet at Vatican for Peace Prayer

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-06_cda30d2667.jpgPhoto by Thaer Ganaim /PPO via Getty Images (VATICAN CITY) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are set to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Sunday to take part in an ecumenical prayer for peace in the Middle East. The two leaders will be accompanied by a delegation of religious representatives including Jewish rabbis and Islamic imams. The Sunday meeting between the two Middle Eastern leaders comes after Pope Francis invited them to his Vatican home during his three-day trip to Jerusalem, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories.

Over the last three days, Pope Francis has posted a trio of messages to his Twitter account, using the hashtag #weprayforpeace, urging his followers to join in the prayer for peace. In the tweets, Francis calls peace "a gift of god" that "requires our efforts." Prayer, Francis said, "is all-powerful," asking Twitter users to "use it to bring peace to the Middle East and peace to the world."

On Sunday, the pope Tweeted another message, asking "all people of good will to join us today in praying for peace in the Middle East #weprayforpeace."

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Israeli government will build 3,000 new homes for settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a move that received criticism from the United States and the European Union for being provocative.

Peres, Abbas and Pope Francis are expected to arrive at the Vatican at 12:15 p.m. ET on Sunday. The ceremony for the Invocation for Peace is expected to begin in the Vatican Gardens at about 1 p.m. ET.

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