Palestinian Official Calls US Proposals on Jerusalem \'Nonsense\'
A top Palestinian official on Saturday derided US compromise plans on the status of Jerusalem as "nonsense," saying the Palestinians could not understand what US President Bill Clinton was proposing.
"The status of Jerusalem (in the US plan) is not clear. ... It's nonsense," Palestinian international cooperation minister Nabil Shaath told Egyptian radio.
Clinton has reportedly proposed that Israel give the Palestinians sovereignty over the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, while the Israelis would still control the area underneath that includes the Wailing Wall, Judaism's most sacred place.
Shaath said the Palestinians do not understand the meaning of "surface sovereignty and underground sovereignty."
The status of the holy site is a main stumbling block in negotiations. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has vowed never to give up sovereignty over the area, which Jews call the Temple Mount, while Palestinians have said no deal would be acceptable without the mosque compound.
But both sides have accepted the Clinton plan in principle, despite their reservations -- CAIRO (AFP)
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