Mideast needs two-state solution, Pope says in Christmas message


 Reuters International

Pope Francis waves as he leads the “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican December 25, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi


By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis used his Christmas message on Monday 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.

Francis spoke of the Middle East conflict and other world flashpoints in his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) address, four days after more than 120 countries backed a U.N. resolution urging the United States to reverse its decision on Jerusalem.

“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 coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders,” he said, referring to the Israelis and Palestinians.

“We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said in his address, delivered from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to tens of thousands of people.

It was the second time that the pope has spoken out publicly about Jerusalem since Trump’s decision on Dec. 6. 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.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, whereas Israel has declared the whole city to be its “united and eternal” capital.

Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, urged people to see the defenceless baby Jesus in the children who suffer the most from war, migration and natural calamities caused by man today.

“Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world … Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the child and to recognise him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, ‘there is no place in the inn,'” he said.


Francis, celebrating the fifth Christmas of his pontificate, said he had seen Jesus in the children he met during his recent trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, and he called for adequate protection of the dignity of minority groups in that region.

More than 600,000 Muslim Rohingya people have fled mainly Buddhist Myanmar to Bangladesh in recent months. The pope had to tread a delicate diplomatic line during his visit, avoiding the word “Rohingya” while in Myanmar, which does not recognise them as a minority group, though he used the term when in Bangladesh.

“Jesus knows well the pain of not being welcomed and how hard it is not to have a place to lay one’s head. May our hearts not be closed as they were in the homes of Bethlehem,” he said.

He also urged the world to see Jesus in the innocent children suffering from wars in Syria and Iraq and also in Yemen, complaining that its people had been “largely forgotten, with serious humanitarian implications for its people, who suffer from hunger and the spread of diseases”.

He also listed conflicts affecting children in South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Ukraine and Venezuela.

At his Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, Francis strongly defended immigrants, comparing them to Mary and Joseph finding no place to stay in Bethlehem and saying faith demands that foreigners be welcomed.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Gareth Jones)

source:   https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/mideast-needs-two-state-solution–pope-says-in-christmas-message/43780214

8 replies

    • and Hamas was created by Israel to split the Palestinian vote and to serve as an eternal excuse not to make peace.

    • If Hamas does not represent Palestinians of Gaza, why don’t these Palestinians and rest of the Muslims reject Hamas? This is a blame game.

    • It makes a lot of sense. It seems you did not read the links / proofs I posted. Before Hamas Yassir Arafat had 100% of the Palestinian vote and became a danger to Israel. After Hamas’ creation Yassir Arafat lost his majority. What are a few Jewish death compared to this achievemnet? And on top of it all Israel can use Hamas as an excuse not to go ahead with any Peace Treaty. Excellent strategy actually. (But Somi has a ‘one-track mind)

      • Because of Israel policy, Hamas had emerged on earth. Not Israel created Hamas directly. That is what you mean? If it is so, I agree with you.

  1. Khalid… because of hate teaching from centuries one generation to the next generation toward Jews, most Muslim ( 99 percent) prefer Hamas to Israel or Jews, including Ahmadiyyah.

    Hate teaching come from False Hadith:

    Sahih Muslim 4366—“ I will expel the Jews and Christian from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim”

    No wonder, all Islamic countries against Jerusalem is capitol of Israel.
    Less 1 percent who support “The Truth” like myself.
    Even though 1 percent, God will protect the truth.

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