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Vatican renews call for peace, negotiated solution on Jerusalem

Palestinians burned a U.S. flag while protesting amid clashes with Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Ramallah Dec. 7. The protest followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

VATICAN CITY — Following days of violence and backlash after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Vatican appealed for "wisdom and prudence" to prevail.

The Holy See "reiterates its own conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can bring a stable and lasting peace and guarantee the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognized borders," the Vatican wrote in a statement Dec. 10.

Mercy in the Holy Land

Touching down at Ben Gurion airport, anyone occupying an aisle seat wanting to catch a glimpse of the surroundings will likely wind up looking through the peo't — un-cut ringlets some Orthodox Jewish men wear on their temples in accordance with a Biblical restriction against cutting the hair there. The men softly recite ancient prayers, which mingle with the sound of seatbelts being unfastened and mobile phones being powered on a by passengers eager to disembark. There's a sense that this is a special place, a place where God is present.

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Praying, hoping for peace in Jerusalem

Israeli border police made a Palestinian face the wall for a body security check on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem’s Old City Oct. 18, near a site where several recent stabbings have taken place.

JERUSALEM • Following a week that included Palestinians stabbing Israelis, bloody clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces, and despair rising on both sides, the parishioners of St. Saviour Church in the Old City of Jerusalem came to Mass Oct. 19 to pray, mainly for peace.

"We are very tired," said Margaret Injak, 63, who lives near the third station of the cross along the Via Dolorosa. "We are very afraid of the police, we are afraid of the Israelis, we are afraid of the Muslims. I am for peace; I want peace for all the world, just peace."

Vatican signs agreement with Palestine, calls for two-state solution

VATICAN CITY -- The Holy See and Palestine have signed a historic agreement that supports a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict in the Holy Land, based on the 1967 borders between Israel and Palestine.

The two parties signed the "Comprehensive Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine" at the Vatican June 26. The accord, which includes a preamble and 32 articles, focuses mostly on the status and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine. It assures the Church "juridical recognition" and "guarantees" for its work and institutions in Palestine.

Bishops urge halt to building of wall, confiscation of land in West Bank

Congress should urge the government of Israel to halt unnecessary confiscation of Palestinian lands in the Occupied West Bank, which would help address the plight of Christian Palestinians in the Cremisan Valley and "renew hope for a just resolution to the conflict," according to the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Arab Christians struggle to get to Bethlehem

A Palestinian sought to sell souvenirs to cars passing through Checkpoint 300, the Israeli separation wall, separating Jerusalem and Bethlehem, West Bank, in December.

BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- Coming to Bethlehem for Christmas is always like a family reunion for Afif Hazboun.

For example, in December he had been standing in front of the Christmas tree in Manger Square for less than 10 minutes, and already two cousins had greeted him warmly, exchanging news and pleasantries.

A native of Nazareth, the 48-year-old Catholic was following the tradition that his father -- who was born in Bethlehem and went to live in Nazareth -- began with him as a child: Hazboun brings his wife and children to visit the city every Christmas.

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