Jerusalem church leaders oppose attempts to 'Judaize' their city

Church leaders from Jerusalem have voiced out their opposition to U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of the city as Israel's capital and condemned attempts to "Judaize" or erase its Arab identity.

(REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque)U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stands behind as U.S. President Donald Trump holds up the proclamation he signed that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there. December 6, 2017.

Jordanian King Abdullah II met with Christian clerics and other delegates from Jordan and Jerusalem at the Baptism Site on Jordan River ahead of the Christmas celebration. During the gathering, the church leaders reportedly spoke out against any attempt of Judaization of their city and rejected Trump's Jerusalem declaration, Times of Israel detailed.

For the church leaders, Trump's decision was illegal and went against Christian teachings. 

Greek Orthodox Patriarch Kyrios Kyrios Theophilos III and Archbishop Apostolic Administrator of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzabala were among those who met with King Abdullah. There were also members of the Islamic Waqf, who are in charge of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, who attended the event.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution which rejects Trump's Jerusalem declaration. The move came after Egypt passed a motion to rescind any decision on the status of the holy city, Euro News reported.

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the resolution was an insult to America. She said it showed how the international body was causing more harm in trying to mend the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, thanked the U.S. for standing its ground on its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of his country. He said Haley's statement had "lit a candle of truth."

However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Trump's move. He has refused to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during his scheduled trip to the Middle East.

Trump's announcement sparked unrest in Gaza and the West Bank, and the clashes have resulted in the death of nine individuals.