Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful.
Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful. Photo by AP
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Reuters
Pope Benedict XVI and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano attend a concert offered by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at the Pope's summer residence in Castelgandolfo, near Rome July 11, 2012. Photo by Reuters

Pope Benedict called for peace in the Middle East on Wednesday at a concert by conductor Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of young musicians from Israel, the Palestinian territories and Arab countries.

"The message that I would like to draw today is this: to achieve peace one has to be committed, leaving behind violence and weapons, committed to the conversion of people and communities, to dialogue, to the patient search for possible understandings," he said at the end of the concert.

The concert, held in the courtyard of the papal summer residence south of Rome, was attended by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

The orchestra, which Barenboim founded together with the late Palestinian literary scholar Edward Said, brings together young musicians from various ethnic and national backgrounds in the Middle East each summer.

The idea is to let music be the food of dialogue among Arabs and Israelis.

The orchestra played Beethoven's symphonies numbers 5 and 6 at the concert, held on the feast of Saint Benedict.

In his address, the German pope noted that he and Barenboim's parents were from the generation that lived through World War Two and the Shoah, the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.

"The great symphony of peace among people is never totally complete," Benedict said.