(National Sentinel) Vicar of Complaints: Pope Francis on Wednesday criticized President Donald J. Trump’s decision to allow the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital, claiming he cannot remain silent over the designation.
“I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations,” he said, as reported by the UK’s Daily Mail.
At his general audience with the faithful, the pontiff told thousands gathered, “I cannot keep quiet about my deep concern about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”
As part of Trump’s announcement, the administration also said that in the coming years the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in recognition of the new designation.
Congress overwhelmingly passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, but then-President Bill Clinton refused to sign it, saying it would damage the Mideast peace process. The bill became law despite his refusal, however, because he also refused to veto it.
The law also contains a provision that allows presidents to issue six-month waivers on moving the U.S. embassy, which every president since the law’s passage has done.
This week the White House said Trump would also issue a waiver but that it would begin the process of selecting a site for the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and work on funding it, a process that is expected to take three-four years.
As for Pope Frances, he called for all to honor United Nations resolutions on the city, which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Muslim leaders complained that the decision undercuts peace talks, but supporters of Trump pointed out that peace talks have long been stalled anyway, and that Palestinians and other Muslim nations oppose Israeli’s very existence.
They also noted that in terms of religious diversity, Christians and Jews are regularly persecuted throughout the Middle East, even though that’s the birthplace of their religion as well.
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