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Europe

Pope calls for 2-state solution between Israel, Palestine

media Pope Francis at the traditional midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Christmas Eve, 24 December 2017 Reuters/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis used his Christmas day message to call for a negotiated two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after U.S. President Donald Trump stoked regional tensions with his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

 

 

This Monday, Pope Francis called for Catholics "to 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."

This is the second time that the pope has spoken out publicly about Jerusalem since Trump's decision on 6 December. On that day, Francis called for the city's "status quo" to be respected, lest new tensions in the Middle East further inflame world conflicts.

The pope also depicted suffering reflected "in the faces of little children," citing war and other tensions around the globe, including the Middle East, Africa and the Korean Peninsula.

The pontif added that "the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline."

At Christmas eve mass on Sunday, Pope Francis reminded the world's 1.3 billion Catholics not to ignore the plight of migrants who are "driven from their land" because of leaders willing to shed "innocent blood".

Meanwhile, the pontiff's pleas come as fresh tensions simmer in the West Bank following Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump's position has sparked demonstrations and clashes, including in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where Christians marked the birth of Jesus at a midnight mass.

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