President Trump Makes Israel Decision, That’s When Pope Francis Makes a Move

President Trump’s Wednesday announcement officially acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel experienced a variety of reactions from world leaders.

Some, like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, praised the decision, while others decried it. Among Trump’s critics was the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. See: President Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to move embassy from Tel Aviv

The pope spoke about the decision at the conclusion of his weekly general audience, expressing concern that the move will only further destabilize the Middle East.

The pope admitted he could not “keep silent about my deep concern,” and promptly urged respect for “the status quo of the city in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations,” according to Catholic News.

Before the announcement was made, the pope had received a call Tuesday from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The conversation,” said Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, was “part of a series of contacts made by the president of the Palestinian National Authority after his conversation with Donald Trump during which — according to Abbas’ spokesman — the U.S. president announced his intention to move the American embassy.”

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The Vatican supports a two-state solution for the Holy Land, which would give both recognition and secure borders to Israel and Palestine.

However, Catholic News also noted that the Vatican has repeatedly called for special status to be given to Jerusalem — specifically its Old City — in order to guarantee access as well as protection to multiple holy sites that are revered by followers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

According to the BBC, Muslim leaders from around the world were quick to criticize Trump’s move.

Abbas further denounced the decision as “deplorable and unacceptable” and claimed that it was a deliberate act to undermine peace efforts in the Middle East. The Palestinian president insisted that Jerusalem is the “eternal capital of the state of Palestine.”

Netanyahu, though, praised the decision, stating that the announcement was a “historic landmark” which he called “courageous and just.”

For nearly two decades, however, leaders within the Vatican have believed that political sovereignty and control of Jerusalem should be the result of negotiation.

Catholic News said Jerusalem’s central importance to Jews, Muslims and Christians explains why no nation has put its embassy in the holy city. However, that hasn’t stopped Palestinians from attempting to claim East Jerusalem as their official capital.

According to the pope, “Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims who venerate the holy places of their respective religions, and has a special vocation to peace.”

The pope recently met with multiple religious leaders from Palestine. He told them that dialogue must place at every level, but a key factor is mutual respect “for the sake of recognizing the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be.”

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“Dialogue is the source of greater mutual knowledge, greater mutual esteem and cooperation in the pursuit of the common good, and generous cooperation in ensuring that those in need receive all necessary assistance,” the pope said.

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