ROME: The pope has reinforced calls for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in his traditional Christmas Day message delivered just over two weeks after the US president, Donald Trump, inflamed tensions in the region.
Speaking before the faithful in St Peter’s Square in Rome, Francis said the children of the Middle East continued “to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians”.
This month, Trump fulfilled his controversial election pledge by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, enraging Palestinians who also want the city to be the capital of their future state.
Four days ago, more than 120 countries backed a UN resolution urging the US to reverse its decision.
Appealing for peace specifically in Jerusalem and more widely in the Holy Land, the pope said: “Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders.”
He asked for God’s support for “all those in the international community inspired by good will to help that afflicted land to find, despite grave obstacles the harmony, justice and security that it has long awaited”.