Pope Francis holds a statuette of baby Jesus during the traditional midnight mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Christmas Eve at the Vatican December 24, 2017. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)
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The pontiff's plea for "hope" came as fresh tensions simmered in the West Bank following President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Following Trump's lead, Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales said Sunday his country would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sparked almost daily protests in the Palestinian territories and put a damper on Christmas festivities.Twelve Palestinians have been killed since Trump's declaration, including a 19-year-old who died of his wounds on Sunday nine days after he was shot during a Gaza protest.The Israeli army officer in charge of the Bethlehem area said that while tensions had been high in the area following the Jerusalem announcement, he did not expect trouble at Christmas.Israel seized east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it, in moves never recognized by the international community.Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and interpreted Trump's statement as rejecting their right to a capital in east Jerusalem, although the Americans deny this.
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