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The Pope with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas  (PA)

Pope Francis’s initiative may not work immediately but it is an important first step

Pope Francis looks on as Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas embrace at the Vatican in June (AP)

Israeli and Palestinian presidents embrace in Vatican Gardens during historic ‘invocation for peace’

Pope Francis embraces Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Omar Abboud (AP)

The trip showed Francis’s remarkable persuasiveness is rooted in a gift for friendship

Pope Francis talks to journalists on his way to Rome from the Holy Land (PA)

Pope tells reporters prayers at Israeli-built separation barrier were not planned

Pope Francis with Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, right, and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau at the Heichal Shlomo centre (PA)

Pope honoured by Israel’s voluntary emergency services organisation

Pope Francis with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (PA)

Historic moment comes fifty years after encounter between their predecessors

Pope Francis is greeted by young people during a meeting in the Deheishe  Refugee Camp (CNS)

Francis was speaking during visit to the Deheishe Refugee Camp

Pope Francis with Israeli President Shimon Peres,  and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at Ben Gurion airport (PA)

Tears and cheers as Pope Francis arrives by helicopter in Tel Aviv

Pope Francis stands with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I as they meet outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (CNS)

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I make Common Declaration after meeting today

mass

Bethlehem Mass was the only Mass for local Christians during Pope’s Holy Land visit