The Vatican appealed to Israel and Palestinians on Tuesday to end all violence and said that there could be no exclusive claim to Jerusalem as the city was part of the spiritual patrimony of humanity.
"In the last weeks the situation in Israel and in the territories under the Palestinian Authority has deteriorated seriously," the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue said in a statement.
The Holy See expressed its sympathy for "all who have lost members of their families, and ...those who continue to suffer" saying that Jews and Palestinians must forego violence and return to dialogue, the only way to true peace.
As a holy city, Jerusalem is important for Jews, Christians and Muslims, the council added.
"There can be no exclusive claim to the city," it warned, as Jerusalem belongs "to the spiritual patrimony of humanity."
The council also called for "free access to its holy places for all, and especially for Jews, Christians and Muslims."
"Hatred and a spirit of revenge are never to be encouraged," the council added, calling for "a spirit of pardon and the willingness to bring about reconciliation" as the only way to true peace for all.
The call for an end to the 40-day unrest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip came as at least six Palestinians were injured Tuesday in clashes with Israeli troops, according to medical officials.
More than 180 people, most of them Palestinians, have been killed in violence triggered by a visit by Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon in September to the east Jerusalem mosque area, the third holiest site in Islam.
The mosque sits on Temple Mount, which is also the holiest site in Judaism -- VATICAN CITY (AFP)
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