President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer the U.S. Embassy to the city.
The U.S. Department of State and country’s allies in the Middle East warned that his decision could spark violence in the region. The status of Jerusalem is considered the world’s most intractable conflict in the region. Both Israel and Palestine claimed and insisted that the city is their capital.
Over the past decades, the issue regarding Jerusalem hindered multiple efforts to establish a final peace agreement between Palestine and Israel. The city is very important for both countries because of their religions. The holiest sites in Judaism and the third holiest mosque in Islam are located in the Old City of Jerusalem.
To resolve the conflict between the countries, many are advocating for a two-state solution. East Jerusalem will become the capital of Palestine while West Jerusalem will become the capital of Israel.
Trump’s move for the U.S. to recognize the entire Jerusalem as capital of Israel could be devastating. World leaders are worried that it could create a major conflict not only between Palestine and Israel but around the world.
The State Department already warned U.S. Embassies worldwide to boost their security because it believes that Trump’s announcement regarding Jerusalem could ignite anger in the Arab world.
Pope Francis issued a statement regarding the matter. He asked Trump to respect the status quo in Jerusalem and to follow UN resolutions.
The pope delivered his statement to thousands of people at his general audience. He said, “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”
Pope Francis added that he hoped “wisdom and prudence prevail” to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many cruel conflicts.”
The pope breaking his silence on the issue indicates that he is critical of Trump’s decision to ignore the warnings of potential turmoil around the world.
In a statement to CNN, Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, said, “Any announcement prior to a final settlement would have detrimental impact on the peace process and would heighten tensions in the region.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would call Trump regarding the issue on Jerusalem. According to her, “The status of Jerusalem should be determined as a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and Jerusalem should be a shared capital.”