AB Tomasi urges U.S. rethink on Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Pope makes ‘heartfelt appeal’ to preserve ‘status quo’ in Jerusalem

"My thoughts go to Jerusalem and I can not keep silent my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days", the pontiff said during the weekly General Audience at the Vatican.

"Jerusalem is a unique city", he said, "sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace".

Trump is undermining global stability with his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US embassy there, the leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) said yesterday.

On Dec. 6, Pope Francis appealed for Jerusalem's status quo to be respected and for "wisdom and prudence" to prevail over the city, hours before President Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to the Vatican Radio.

The former Holy See ambassador, who now serves as advisor to the Vatican's office for Integral Human Development, endorsed the appeal made by Pope Francis earlier on Wednesday to maintain the Status Quo of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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Before making his public comments, Francis met privately with a group of Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned that Trump's expected move underlines the urgency of a new US -led Middle East peace plan.

European countries have also expressed their concern regarding the issue in various statements.

The change is a recognition of "reality", officials said, both the historic reality that Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish nation since ancient times and the modern reality that the city is the seat of Israel's government, housing its legislature, supreme court, prime minister, and executive agencies. "We are confident that, with strong support from our friends, Israelis and Palestinians can work toward negotiating a sustainable and just peace, benefiting all who long for the Holy City of Jerusalem to fulfil its destiny".

Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned the move is a threat to the Middle East peace process.

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