President Trump on Wednesday announced his administration was moving its U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, declaring the city the capital of Israel.

The decision ends decades of U.S. policy and while largely symbolic, it’s being welcomed by Israel, but leading to backlash from Muslim — and even Christian — leaders.

For example, Pope Francis criticized the move, saying he had “deep worry”, and said Jerusalem is a sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a “special vocation for peace.”

“I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days,” he added.

He urged “that everyone respects the status quo of the city” according to U.N. resolutions. “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.”

While Israel’s parliament sits in the West, to many in the international community, East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory, and Palestinians have sought to have East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state.

East Jerusalem was captured by Israeli forces in the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.

The status of the city was postponed under the Oslo Accords and has never been resolved.


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