'Violence Breeds Violence': Pope Francis Calls for End of Clashes in Jerusalem

Netanyahu 'firmly rejects' pressure not to expand Jewish presence following Jerusalem clashes and growing international condemnation of planned evictions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah

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Pope Francis holds a weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican.
Pope Francis holds a weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican.Credit: VATICAN MEDIA/ REUTERS

Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to violence in Jerusalem, inviting parties to seek solutions in order to respect the multicultural identity of the Holy City.

"Violence breeds violence, stop clashes", he told pilgrims who gathered Saint Peter Square in Rome.

Clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police outside the Old City of Jerusalem on Saturday as tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers prayed at the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque on Islam's holy night of Laylat al-Qadr.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel "firmly rejects" pressure not to build in Jerusalem, following spreading international condemnation of planned evictions of Palestinians from homes in the city claimed by Jewish settlers.

Netanyahu added that Israel will not add any extremist element to undermine peace in Jerusalem: "We will impose law and order aggressively and responsibly. We will continue to safeguard freedom of worship for all religions but will not allow violent protests."

The eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah has drawn widespread international condemnation, from several U.S. democrats as well as Egypt.

Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Van Hollen and Chris Murphy have called on Israel to stop efforts at evicting Palestinian residents from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah based on claims by Jewish settlers, while Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Gregory Meeks, Andy Levin, Pramila Jayapal and Ayanna Pressley also voiced their dismay.

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