In an open letter to US President Donald Trump, Christian leaders in Jerusalem said US recognition of the city as the capital of Israel could have dire regional consequences, CNS reports.
“We have been following, with concern, the reports about the possibility of changing how the United States understands and deals with the status of Jerusalem. We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division,” the Christian leaders said, just hours before Mr Trump made his announcement on recognising Jerusalem as the capital and relocating the US embassy.
They appealed to Mr Trump to take their viewpoint into consideration, as did the leaders who met at Camp David in July 2000 to decide the status of Jerusalem. The Christian leaders said their “solemn advice and plea” for the President was to continue recognising the international status of Jerusalem.
“We ask you, Mr President, to help us all walk toward more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all,” they said yesterday.
“Any sudden changes would cause irreparable harm. 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.”
The Christian leaders, who include Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs as well as the Franciscan custos of the Holy Land, said Jerusalem could be “shared and fully enjoyed” once a political process helped “liberate the hearts of all people that live within it from the conditions of conflict and destructiveness that they are experiencing.”
In 1967, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, which had been under Jordanian control since 1948. In 1980 Israel declared a united Jerusalem as its capital. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the future capital of an independent Palestine.
Earlier yesterday, Pope Francis expressed concern that a US move recognising Jerusalem as the capital would further destabilise the Middle East.
Pope: Wisdom and prudence for Jerusalem (CNS on YouTube)