Leaders from around the world have applauded the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip. The United Nations called for concrete actions to address the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to achieve true peace and reconciliation in the region. The heart of the conflict is about the city of Jerusalem. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their eventual capital, which includes the old city. East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel annexed the eastern part of the city to create its “eternal unified” capital. But that action is not recognized by the international community. The Vatican including past popes and Pope Francis has called for preserving the “status quo” of the Holy City of Jerusalem, where there is a common heritage between the three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Vatican has advocated the two-state solution, where both the Israelis and the Palestinians can coexist. Francis on May 21, 2021 said to a group of nine new ambassadors to the Vatican “I thank God for the decision to halt the armed conflicts and acts of violence, and I pray for the pursuit of paths of dialogue and peace.”

In mid- May, Yigal Yehoshua – a 56-year-old Jewish Israeli man from the mixed city of Lod was stoned to death by an Arab mob during the violence by both Jews and Arabs in that city. He was a man who worked for tolerance and coexistence and upon his death his family donated his organs for transplant. Randa Awes a 58-year-old Catholic Palestinian, and mother of 6, who had been for 9 years battling kidney disease finally received her transplant. She said she was very thankful to Yehoshua’s family and wished them much health. She said she hopes to meet with them as soon as she is well enough and that now their Jewish family would be part of her family. She noted that it was a tragedy that her receiving a transplant came out of one of the most violent exchanges between Palestinians and Israelis in years. Aweis said she hopes her story can be a bridge for peace and, despite still recuperating, has been speaking out about her transplant. Four other people were able to receive organ transplants from Yehoshua family. Similarly, the organs of 17-year-old Muhammad Mahamid, a Muslim youth killed in the Arab Israeli town of Um al Faham were donated by his family, and transplanted to five Jews and one Arab. His father, Mahmud Mahamid said “My son, blessed be his memory, died, but I want to give people life.”