By Robin Gomes
Amidst worsening violence in the Holy Land and the Middle East, the Holy See on Friday urged the use of dialogue and encounter to bring peace, and called for the recognition of Jerusalem as the city sacred to Christians and Muslims.
Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva made the call on Friday at a special session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating rights situation in the region.
He echoed the concern and sadness of Pope Francis at Wednesday’s general audience in the Vatican, where he deplored “the escalation of tensions” and “the spiral of violence” in the region that is increasingly moving away from the path of peace, dialogue and negotiations.
The Pope and the world reacted after Israeli forces killed some 60 Palestinians and wounded many more near the Gaza-Israel border on Monday during demonstrations against the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
Peace, justice through dialogue
The Holy See encouraged parties concerned to find paths to a true and sustainable peace through justice, by engaging in dialogue in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.
The Holy See, therefore called for the courage to say ‘yes’ to encounter and ‘no’ to conflict: ‘yes’ to dialogue and ‘no’ to violence; ‘yes’ to negotiations and ‘no’ to hostilities; ‘yes’ to respect for agreements and ‘no’ to acts of provocation; ‘yes’ to sincerity and ‘no’ to duplicity. All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity”.
Archbishop Jurkovic also recalled the “unique identity of Jerusalem, which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, in which the Holy Places are venerated by the respective religions, and which has a special vocation for peace”.