Pope Francis delivers his Christmas Urbi Et Orbi blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. Photo: Giulio Origlia / Getty Images

Pope Francis called for a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Monday in the face of heightened tensions, according to a Reuters report.

"Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders."

Why it matters: The UN Security Council voted to force President Trump to rescind his declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but the U.S. vetoed the resolution. Francis, in his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) address, encouraged people to "recognize [Jesus] in the faces of little children" in the middle of the conflict.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Scoop: Don Jr. plans convention-week Biden book

Cover via Don Jr.

Donald Trump Jr., in quarantine since girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive for the coronavirus, says he's used the time to finish a book that he'll self-publish the week of the Republican convention, at the end of August.

What he's saying: Don Jr., whose controversial blasts connect with President Trump's base, told me in a phone interview that "Liberal Privilege" will be his effort to paint a picture of Joe Biden and his record that the press ignores.

Romney calls Stone commutation "historic corruption"

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday tweeted a scathing response to President Trump's Friday night commutation of former associate Roger Stone's prison sentence, calling the move "[u]nprecedented, historic corruption."

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent Trump critic. He sent shockwaves through Washington after announcing he would vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial — becoming the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote for the president's removal from office. Now he is the first major GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump's Friday night call regarding Stone.