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Pope Francis used his traditional Christmas address to reiterate calls for a peaceful two-state solution to the continued conflict between Israel and the Palestinians weeks after President Donald Trump heightened regional tensions by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
"We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” the pope said, speaking before the faithful in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
“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 recognized borders,” he added.
Following Trump's recognition that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, violent protests intensified in the region, resulting in numerous deaths.
Francis's words come days after over 120 countries voted for a U.N. resolution urging the U.S. to reverse its decision on Jerusalem.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley warned the global organization ahead of the vote, stating that the U.S. would remember who “disrespected” America.
Shortly after the resolution passed overwhelmingly, Haley issued invitations to the few countries that backed the U.S. by either voting “no” or not voting for the resolution denouncing Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The invitations were to “a reception to thank you for your friendship to the United States.”