Dershowitz: Pope Invited Wrong Israeli Leader to Prayer Meeting

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 07:12 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Pope Francis invited the Palestinian president and the Israeli president to attend a prayer meeting in Rome, but renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz says that he invited the wrong Israeli leader, if he's serious about a peace deal.

"The Pope is a great man and he can do anything. I have tremendous confidence in his ability to bring people together," Dershowitz told John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"The problem is that you need people who have the authority to make peace and Shimon Peres . . . is the symbolic president of Israel but he doesn't have the political authority to make a deal. Benjamin Netanyahu has the authority to make a deal," he explained.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

However, the veteran Harvard University Law School professor said the Pope probably "had no choice," but to invite Peres.

"Since he was inviting the Palestinian president, he probably had to invite the Israeli president," Dershowitz said. "The difference is the Palestinian president has the authority, he has more power than the Palestinian prime minster, whereas in Israel it's the prime minister who is elected by the people with the authority to make peace, and the president is a symbolic leader of a kind, of the people of Israel, but not of the government of Israel."

Dershowitz also noted that Peres's "term ends within a month."

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However, if the Israeli president does go to the Vatican, "he's beloved by the Israeli people, and he may come back to Israel and use his influence, particularly as a former president," he said.

But Dershowitz contends that even if the two presidents accept the Pope's invitation, it may "help somewhat but there's not going to be a peace deal made in the Vatican between the president of Israel and the Palestinian authority."

"That's simply not possible."

Dershowitz contends that when Pope Francis stopped to pray at the West Bank barrier wall in Bethlehem, which is a symbol of Israeli oppression for Palestinians, he "was forced into a terrible visual mistake."

The place where the pontiff stopped to pray said "Free Palestine" in red paint on one side and "Bethlehem look like Warsaw ghetto" on the other side.

"If it was deliberate, then it was not only a slap in the face to the nation state of the Jewish people, it was a slap in the face to the victims of the Holocaust because how anybody in their right mind can compare Bethlehem, which is a vibrant city where nobody's killed, everybody eats well, tourism is thriving . . . to the Warsaw ghetto, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered," Dershowitz said. "It's a horrid comparison, and the person who put up that graffiti should bear moral responsibility for that."

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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