Pope Francis has voiced his opposition to Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
For 70 years, ever since the United Nations created the state of Israel, international consensus has been that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. No nation on Earth has an embassy in Israel. And the United States has kept that status quo in order to keep pursuing peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, who see East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.
But Trump upended decades of American foreign policy on Wednesday by officially declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel and announcing that the United States embassy will be moving to the holy city. He said,
Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.
How about a worse result? Because that’s probably what is going to happen.
Trump’s declaration instantly made peace between Palestinians and Israel even harder to achieve and may have just inflamed the Muslim world. Furthermore, ISIS and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East have yet more propaganda to use for recruitment.
Jerusalem is an international city that has importance in three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Declaring the city as the capital of a Jewish state will not go over very well with Muslims around the globe. It might even cause conflict that will drag the United States into deadly and costly wars.
The Organization for Islamic Cooperation has already condemned the move and Turkish President Erdogan has called for the group to meet to discuss what Trump has done.
The Middle East is already a volatile region. The last thing we need is more conflict.
That’s why Pope Francis criticized Trump’s declaration this week during his weekly audience at the Vatican, calling for respecting “the status quo of the city” because it represents a “special vocation for peace” that will be tarnished.
“I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts,” Pope Francis said.
Trump just made the world less secure by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Muslim nations are likely to be inflamed by this action. Because it doesn’t matter how much Pope Francis prays, the fact is that Trump does not respect Muslims and this move was the ultimate sign of disrespect.
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