Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

AB Tomasi urges USA rethink on Jerusalem as Israeli capital

AB Tomasi urges USA rethink on Jerusalem as Israeli capital

The Pope's words came ahead of an expected announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city by establishing the American embassy to Israel there.

"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.

"I pray to God that this identity is preserved and reinforced, for the sake of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail", he said.

US President Donald Trump will deliver his speech, expecting the US president to "recognize the reality" that Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel and to declare the move to the US diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv and which for decades remained a reason of contention between Israelis and Palestinians.

Pope Francis has set himself on a new collision course with Donald Trump over the President's plans to move the US Israeli embassy.

Speaking during a weekly address in Vatican, the Pope said: "I can not keep silent on my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days".

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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.

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if the United States recognises Jerusalem as its capital.

He added that Israel must not allow its own interests to "disrupt what the United Nations has repeated many times, and what has also been the logical and coherent position of the Holy See for all the past decades".

The Pope made comments to a group of visiting Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican. He expressed his hope for "peace and prosperity" for the Palestinian people. 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.

Christians, Pope Francis said, must be aware "that each one of us is a sprout of that root", which must be cared for so that it can grow with the strength of the Holy Spirit.

The pope highlighted the value of dialogue and its importance for the Catholic Church, especially in the birthplace of Christianity.

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