Pope Francis prays for the preservation of Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister reinforces bond with US
Israeli Prime Minister reinforces bond with US

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Story highlights

  • The Pope has voiced "profound concern" over the move
  • President Trump is expected to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel Wednesday

Washington (CNN)Pope Francis called Wednesday for the preservation of Jerusalem's "identity" in the wake of President Donald Trump's expected move to declare the city the capital of Israel.

"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and it has a special vocation to peace," the post's caption read, which depicts the Pope reciting a prayer on the city's Western Wall. "I pray to the Lord that such identity be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the entire world."
Also on Wednesday, the leaders of Christian communities in Jerusalem told Trump in an open letter that recognizing the city as Israel's capital 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."
    "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. Our solemn advice and plea is for the United States to continue recognizing the present international status of Jerusalem," said the letter, which was signed by the patriarchs, or leaders, of several Orthodox Christian communities in the city.
    Trump's announcement that he will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin to relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv is sparking debate over what the President personally, and the United States, will gain given that the decision marks a sharp foreign policy turn and comes with such high risks.
    The Pope has voiced "profound concern" over the move, making a "heartfelt appeal to make everyone's commitment to respect the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions."