ASIA/HOLY LAND - The Pope on Jerusalem: need to respect the Status quo and UN resolutions. Father Abdo: the risk of a new Intifada

Jerusalem - "My thoughts now go to Jerusalem, regarding which I cannot silence my deep concern about the situation that has developed over the last few days and, at the same time, make a heartfelt appeal for everyone to respect the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations Resolutions". With these words, at the end of Wednesday's general audience, Pope Francis expressed his concern for the coexistence in the Holy City, with implicit reference to the new tensions aroused by the announced decision of the US Administration to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "Jerusalem", added the Bishop of Rome " is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Places of their respective religions, and has a special vocation to peace. I pray to the Lord that this 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 avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and marked by many cruel conflicts".
Yesterday, Palestinian President Abu Mazen had a telephone conversation with Pope Francis on the issue of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. "It is to be hoped that that announcement", says Father Mikhael Abdo Abdo OCD, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Holy Land, to Agenzia Fides "that the US Administration represents only a move made to verify what the reactions would be . But even the reactions were already predictable. It was easy to recognize that this is a very bad idea, which could also provoke a new Intifada. And it is not clear who is interested in creating new problems here, just as we are preparing for the Lord's Christmas".