ROME — Pope Francis urged for common solutions to recent turmoil in Jerusalem Sunday, as the city prepares for Monday’s annual Jerusalem Day parade.
The pontiff was responding to what the Associated Press has described as “days of unrest and soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions at a flashpoint holy site,” consisting mostly in “ongoing clashes between police and Palestinians in the Old City.”
“I am following with particular concern the events taking place in Jerusalem,” the pope said Sunday, following his weekly prayer of the Regina Coeli in Saint Peter’s Square.
“I pray that it will be a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace,” he said. “I call on everyone to seek shared solutions so that the multireligious and multicultural identity of the Holy City may be respected and brotherhood may prevail.”
“Violence only begets violence,” he concluded. “Enough fighting.”
On Friday, over 200 Palestinians suffered injuries in clashes with police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem.
Late Saturday, dozens more Palestinians were wounded in skirmishes with security forces, as Muslims commemorated Laylat al-Qadr, or the “night of destiny,” the holiest point in the month of Ramadan.
Early Sunday morning, thousands of Muslims again collided with police at the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City. Palestinians threw water bottles and rocks at police, who reportedly answered with stun grenades.