Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, has spoken out against Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital after days of conflict in the West Bank.
A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli troops earlier today as tensions flared close to the Gaza border.
Thousands of Palestinians have been demonstrating on a “day of rage”, while Israeli soldiers have responded with live bullets and teargas.
Now, Archbishop Pizzaballa has issued a major warning about how the unrest could spread throughout the Middle East.
He told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “I think that this will create a big problem, an explosion in all of the Arab countries especially the Muslim countries.
“And in this religious identity Jerusalem is central.
“As long as the religious community doesn’t have an inclusive approach it will be almost impossible to compromise on Jerusalem.”
Trump’s announcement unravelled years of work to establish peace in the Middle East and sparked warnings from Hamas about possible uprisings against Israel.
Spontaneous protests broke out in the hours after Trump’s speech and despite the deployment of thousands of Israeli troops there are few signs that tensions will subside quickly.
France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s Theresa May have all condemned the move, with the after branding Trump’s announcement “unhelpful”.
Meanwhile, Turkish president Erdogan and Pope Francis have together agreed to avoid any changes to Jerusalem’s status.
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