Jerusalem for all Abrahamic religions, not just one

Jerusalem was formally recognised by the United States (US) as the capital of Israel on Wednesday.

At the same time, President Trump announced plans to eventually relocate the US Embassy to the holy city.

Pope Francis responded to the change in US policy, saying he wants the “status quo” to remain.

He says he is “profoundly concerned” about recent developments concerning Jerusalem.

He declared the city a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims and that it has a “special vocation for peace.”

He appealed “that everyone respects the status quo of the city,” according to UN resolutions.

“I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world …

“… and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts,” he said on Wednesday.

Others have expressed concern about Trump’s decision.

The Middle East has strongly objected to the move.

Carefully worded rebukes have also flowed in from US allies.

The US position in 1947 held that Jerusalem was a corpus seperatum: an internationally controlled entity that belonged to neither Arab nor Jew.

Bit by bit this view has altered. Firstly it adopted a policy of “limited internationalisation”, while still opposing both Arabs and Israelis claiming Jerusalem as their capital.

Nonetheless, Israel has sought to claim Jerusalem as its capital.

Following the six-day war in 1967, a new policy was adopted.

This held that neither Israelis nor Arabs could claim Jerusalem as their capital.

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Francis spoke by telephone on Tuesday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, after President Donald Trump forewarned Abbas of his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The Vatican said the call with Francis was made at Abbas’s initiative.

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