While making his speech this Christmas, Pope Frances took the opportunity to call for a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians over the Jerusalem dispute.
He asked for a “negotiated solution… that would allow the peaceful co-existence of two states,” saying that “where God is born, peace is born. And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built.”
Israel occupied Jerusalem in 1967 from the Palestinians, but the international community never recognized its Israeli sovereignty. According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of the city was going to be discussed at later stages of negotiations.
The tensions in this city were sparked when President Donald Trump announced that America is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving its embassy there. This announcement was condemned by most of the UN countries and the Muslim world.
The United Nations council voted a non-binding resolution that made all decisions regarding the status of Jerusalem “null and void,” stating they must be canceled. All countries currently keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.
The Urbi et Orbi speech, which in Latin means “To the City and to the World” was given by the Roman Catholic leader in Saint Peter’s Square.
“On this festive day let us ask the Lord for peace for Jerusalem and for all the Holy Land,” he addressed the people.
“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 co-existence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders.”
He also prayed that the UN agreement on Syria would succeed in putting an end to the devastating civil war raging there and in remedying the “extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people.”