Respect ‘status quo’ of Jerusalem: Pope
Pope Francis called the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and “wisdom and prudence” to prevail to avoid further conflict on Dec. 6, ahead of an announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as global concern mounted.
In an appeal at the end of his weekly general audience, Francis called for all to honor United Nations resolutions on the city, which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
“I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the
pertinent resolutions of the United Nations,” he said.
The Vatican backs a two-state solution to the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, with both sides agreeing on the status of Jerusalem as part of the peace process.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, whereas Israel has declared the whole city to be its “united and eternal” capital.
The pope told thousands of people at his general audience: “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”
He said he hoped “wisdom and prudence prevail, in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many and cruel conflicts.”
Before making his public comments, Francis met privately with a group of Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican.
European countries have also expressed their concern regarding the issue in various statements.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned that Trump’s expected move underlines the urgency of a new U.S.-led Middle East peace plan.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she intended to speak to Trump about the status of Jerusalem, which she said should be determined as part of a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
May said the ancient city should ultimately be shared between Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Trump is undermining international stability with his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there, the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) said yesterday.
Schulz said Trump’s decision risked setting back the peace process in the Middle East.
The Kremlin also said that Russia was concerned that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian authorities could be aggravated further by Trump’s expected move.