Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

AB Tomasi urges U.S. rethink on Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Pope Francis waves during his Angelus in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 3. Advent is a time to be watchful and alert to the ways one strays from God's path but also to signs of his presence in other people and in the beauty of the world Recognizing the Rights of All People is Important: Pope
Melinda Barton | 06 December, 2017, 20:07

Pope Francis has called for the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and for "wisdom and prudence" to prevail to avoid further conflict.

"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Sites of their respective religions there, and it has a special vocation to peace", the Pope continued in his address Wednesday.

Weighing in on the controversial decision, the pontiff made a "heartfelt appeal" to all nations to "respect [Jerusalem's] status quo, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations resolutions", as cited by Vatican Radio.

My thoughts now turn to Jerusalem.

While West Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government, Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The pope is effectively telling the president, without naming him, not to proceed down this road, warning that it can lead to even more conflict in the Holy Land and the Middle East.

Arab leaders have warned the Trump administration's decision would subvert decades of USA foreign policy and risk triggering further conflicts and violence in the Middle East.

Pope Francis says he can not remain silent about a White House plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall during his weekly general audience, during which he recounted the phases of his recent November 27-Dec.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem will be discussed in the late stages of the talks.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital, and the city's status is marked as a final status issue to be decided in negotiations over a final peace agreement.

The pope, who spoke to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the crises on Tuesday, made his comments to a group of visiting Palestinians involved in the interfaith dialogue with the Vatican.

He noted how his November 27-30 visit to Burma marked the first time a Pope has ever traveled to the country, which took place just months after the Holy See established full diplomatic relations with the nation in May. His was the first papal trip to Myanmar, a country that has recently been making headlines all over the world due to what the United Nations has called "textbook ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya Muslim minority there. He expressed his hope for "peace and prosperity" for the Palestinian people.