In a bold move, President Donald Trump declared on December 6 that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. While many applauded the president's decision, some Christian leaders actually warned him against doing so.
Pope Francis is one of them. Just hours before the president's announcement, the Pope pleaded with Trump not to stir any tension in the region. "I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days and, at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations," he said.
"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace," the pope continued.
Pope Francis added that he is praying that "wisdom and prudence prevail," and he is hoping no announcement would be made to add "new elements of tension in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts."
Several religious leaders from Jerusalem shared the same sentiment. They even sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday and urged him not to make any drastic changes in the status of the city, as it risks rocking the region's shaky peace status.
"We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division," the group of 13 Christian leaders wrote. "We ask from you Mr. President to help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all."
Protests have already erupted after Trump's proclamation. The Palestinian cities of Gaza City and Rafah were swarmed with angry protesters who chanted, "Death to America," "Death to Israel" and "Down with Trump." The angry mob also burned down American and Israeli flags, together with photos of Trump.