The Pope, on the second day of his three-day pilgrimage, said it is God’s will for Jerusalem to be at peace.
"During my pilgrimage to the Holy Land I will visit some of the most significant places in Jerusalem, a city of universal importance. Jerusalem, of course, means 'city of peace.' This is what God wills it to be, and such is the desire of all people of good will. Yet sadly Jerusalem remains deeply troubled as a result of longstanding conflicts," he observed.
The Holy Father spoke of the urgency of peace, not only for Israel, but for the entire region.
"May efforts and energies be increasingly directed to the pursuit of a just and lasting solution to the conflicts which have caused so much suffering," he said. "In union with all men and women of good will, I implore those in positions of responsibility to leave no stone unturned in the search for equitable solutions to complex problems, so that Israelis and Palestinians may live in peace."
Francis quoted Benedict XVI, who made the same appeal during his 2009 pilgrimage to the Holy Land: "The path of dialogue, reconciliation and peace must constantly be taken up anew, courageously and tirelessly. There is simply no other way. And so I renew the appeal made in this place by Pope Benedict XVI: the right of the State of Israel to exist and to flourish in peace and security within internationally recognized borders must be universally recognized. At the same time, there must also be a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign homeland and their right to live with dignity and with freedom of movement. The 'Two State Solution' must become reality and not remain merely a dream."
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