- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pope Francis urged President Trump on Wednesday to reconsider his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“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,” the pontiff said at a meeting with Palestinian religious leaders.

The Vatican said the meeting was pre-arranged and happened to be on the day Mr. Trump planned on making his announcement about the change.

The pope urged Mr. Trump to consider and remain with the “status quo” to avoid possible issues amid calls by Palestinian for protests.

Mr. Trump plans to make his formal announcement later on Wednesday requesting the U.S. Embassy in Israel move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

The issue is fraught with problems in the region. Jerusalem is considered a holy site for the three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Both Israelis and Palestinians lay claim to the city, with the Palestinians seeing the eastern half as the capital of their potential future state. Israel captured that portion of the city from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967.

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