Pope calls for 2-state Israeli-Palestinian solution in Christmas message

FAN Editor

VATICAN CITY — As Christians around the world celebrated the birth of Jesus, Pope Francis used his traditional Christmas message and blessing Monday to call for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

That comes in the wake of President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which inflamed tensions in the region.

“On this festive day, let us ask the Lord for peace for Jerusalem and for all the Holy Land,” the pontiff 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 recognized borders. May the Lord also sustain the efforts of all those in the international community inspired by goodwill to help that afflicted land to find, despite grave obstacles, the harmony, justice and security that it has long awaited.”

The Reuters news agency notes it was the second time Francis has spoken out publicly about Mr. Trump’s decision, which was announced Dec. 6. “On that day, Francis called for the city’s ‘status quo’ to be respected” to ward off new tensions, Reuters says.

A nun looks at Nativity scene in Saint Peter's square before Pope Francis leads the "Urbi et Orbi" in Vatican

Nun looks at Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square before Pope Francis led the “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message in Vatican on December 25, 2017


On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve a resolution condemning Mr.  Trump’s new policy on Jerusalem, despite his warning that he’d be watching very closely at which members of the General Assembly vote for the resolution and which vote against it. 

The Holy Father, leader of the world’s 2 billion Catholics, also depicted suffering reflected “in the faces of little children” in his Monday message, citing war and other tensions in places including the Middle East, Africa and the Korean Peninsula.

He told the faithful that “the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline.”

The pontiff said children in the Middle East “continue to suffer because of growing tension between Israelis and Palestinians,” while Syria remains “marked by war” and ongoing conflict in Yemen “has been largely forgotten.”

He offered a prayer that “confrontation may be overcome on the Korean Peninsula.”

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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