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Israel denies sovereignty deal with Vatican on holy site
Published Wednesday 14/05/2014 (updated) 16/05/2014 10:56
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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray during a protest against Pope Francis'
upcoming visit on May 12, 2014, in the Old City of Jerusalem
(AFP/File Ahmad Gharabli)
Vatican City (AFP) -- Israel said it had "no intention" of giving the Vatican sovereignty over a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, following protests by ultra-Orthodox Jews ahead of Pope Francis' visit this month.

"Contrary to rumors in Israel, there is no intention to transfer to the Vatican sovereignty or ownership on the Tomb of David or the Cenacle," Israel's ambassador to the Vatican, Zion Evrony, said in a speech obtained on Wednesday.

The Cenacle is the reputed scene of Jesus' last supper, and the pope is planning to hold a mass on the site on Mount Zion near the walls of the Old City.

Jews revere the site as the tomb of Kind David, which is on the ground floor of the same building. It is also important for Muslims.

The site is currently part of long-running negotiations over Holy Land property between Israel and the Vatican, which hopes to be given the right to use the site.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews on Monday held a protest near the site, demanding that Israel retain sovereignty. They are also planning another demonstration on May 22 -- just three days before Pope Francis arrives.

Francis is traveling to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories between May 24 and 26.

Israeli President Shimon Peres told an Italian newspaper during a visit to the Vatican last year that a compromise had been reached on the Cenacle, and that "99 percent" of the issues concerning the site had been addressed.
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1 ) JoeFattal / USA
15/05/2014 17:31
Someone faith can't be denied concerning their religious beliefs. But in legal terms someone faith can be disputed in a court of law concerning land property. Orthodox Jews cannot be denied their religious beliefs, as to Christians and Muslims in an area where religion evolution first started. Jerusalem or any part of the Holy Land belongs to every religion and no one can claim that they are the sole ruler. It is a legal matter that needs to be addressed in a court of law than in the streets

2 ) louis / malawi
15/05/2014 22:13
the holy land shud be accessed by everybody who wants to nourish their faith or their curiosity.

3 ) ian / australia
16/05/2014 03:10
Ahem...has no-one noticed the Cenacle, Tomb of David and Mount Zion are all over the Green Line making them part of illegally occupied Palestine and that Israel, having NO sovereignty there, is in NO position to "transfer ownership" of anything to anyone? The ultra-Orthodox, in their otherworldly self-absorption, might claim ownership on religious grounds but they're nuts. In the sane world, like Joe says, the legal, POLITICAL status of East Jerusalem is disputed by no-one (well, almost no-one).

4 ) Moshik / ISRAEL
17/05/2014 03:08
Ian 3 - Just to keep the record straight Genecle, Tomb of David and Mount Zion are all located west of the Green Line, whatever that worth. Incidentally according to the scriptures, the notoriety of these sites begins, in the second Jewish kingdom. It worth mentioned that Jesus himself was Jewish! Moreover, I don't recall any Palestinians ever mentioned there...

5 ) ian / australia (1)
18/05/2014 03:08
#4 "Ian 3 - Just to keep the record straight Genecle, Tomb of David and Mount Zion are all located west of the Green Line..." You're right, Moshik. My mistake. I thought Mount Zion was in the no man's land between the Israeli and Jordanian lines, and hence not in Israel but I was wrong. So it's Israel's to do with it what it pleases. Cede it to the Vatican. Erase all trace of its Muslim history (by not restoring vandalised tiles etc.) Turn it into a synagogue. (Just as the Palestinians

6 ) ian / australia (2)
18/05/2014 03:10
(contd.) should control the sites on THEIR side of the border like the Old City including the Haram and HaKotel.) But I think the tradition that it's the site of the Last Supper (in the cenacle) predates the Tomb of David tradition by a thousand years. It was Crusaders in the 12th century who decided David was buried there even though the Bible says he "...slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David". But it's not a very compelling site, not being, by a long shot, the ACTUAL

7 ) ian / australia (3)
18/05/2014 03:12
(contd.) 1st century "upper room" of the Last Supper or in ANY likelihood the resting place of King David (if he existed). (Sites like the pools of Bethesda and Siloam, both in Palestine, are far more vivid and immediate as places Jesus ACTUALLY was!) And btw, Christians believe Jesus is God incarnated in human form, fully human AND fully divine, and died to save us ALL, so it's hardly meaningful to call him "Jewish" (though Mary, conceived without sin to be an immaculate vessel for

8 ) ian / australia (4)
18/05/2014 03:14
(contd.) the Incarnation, was). And you mightn't "recall any Palestinians ever mentioned there..." but, Moshik, the Bible is FULL of Palestinians. They're the people from Palestine. They weren't Muslims obviously because God hadn't yet revealed the "Recitation" to the Prophet (PBUH) but they're the ancestors of modern Palestinians when they were Canaanites worshipping El and Baal and Asherah and Yahweh. Moshik, they ARE you. (Even MORE you, than you.) Thanks for the correction.
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