Shimon Peres, immediate past president of Israel, will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday, the Holy See confirmed yesterday, according to Zenit.
There was no indication what will be on the agenda.
Peres last visited the Vatican on June 8, along with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, for an interfaith prayer summit aimed at peace in the Holy Land.
Politics was not that summit’s agenda, and weeks later, on July 17, Israel launched a ground invasion in Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket attacks. Pope Francis called both Peres and Abbas, saying he had “very grave concerns” about the escalating conflict.
About 2,200 people, mostly Palestinians, were killed in nearly 2 months of fighting. The meeting comes on the heels of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire signed by Israel and Hamas on Aug. 26.
Yesterday, according to the Associated Press, a spokesman for Abbas condemned Israel’s announcement on Sunday that it had expropriated about 1,000 acres of West Bank land in a step that could help clear the way for construction of a new Jewish settlement.
Peres, 90, stepped down in July as president, a largely ceremonial role.