Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Pope Francis to Palestinian clergy: Respect is first precondition for dialogue

In response to Trump's announcement, patriarchs and heads of all churches in Jerusalem urged Trump to reconsider his decision to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reiterating deep concerns of potentially escalating conflicts in a region sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Francis said he was "profoundly concerned" about recent developments concerning Jerusalem, and declared the city a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a "special vocation for peace".

He appealed "that everyone respects the status quo of the city", according to United Nations resolutions.

My thoughts now turn to Jerusalem.

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

As Breitbart News reported on Tuesday, Arab, Muslim and European Union leaders have voiced their opposition to the move, suggesting it could create turmoil in the area.

The news that the Mr. Trump intends to move the USA embassy, a process that could take several years, has brought strong protests not only from Palestinians but also from the Arab world and the European Union, who warn that the decision is likely to scuttle the peace process in the Middle East. "I can not remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the last days".

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.

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. According to the BBC, the United States would be the first nation to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel since the nation was founded in 1948. The Holy See has always been against any change in the status of Jerusalem.

In addition, the pope hopes this new interreligious dialogue group can encourage the whole Palestinian society, especially Christians.

"I wanted, also in this case, to express the closeness of Christ and of the Church to a people that has suffered due to conflict and repression, and which now is slowly walking toward a new condition of freedom and peace", he said.

We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division. 2 visit to Bangladesh was equally important, and focused largely on the need for "respect and dialogue" between Christianity and Islam, as the country is a majority Muslim nation with a small Catholic community.

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