A cabinet minister close to Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that Israel could give up sovereignty over the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied east Jerusalem under a future peace deal with the Palestinians.
"We are approaching a historic moment of compromise on Jerusalem and we must make painful concessions, renouncing one way or another our sovereignty over the Temple Mount if necessary," said Israeli Absorption Minister Yuli Tamir.
She was speaking on Israeli public radio ahead of separate meetings with US officials between Israel and Palestinian negotiators aimed at restoring peacemaking after almost three months of deadly violence.
The site, known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the al-Aqsa mosque cmpound or Haram al-Sharif is one of the most emotive issues to be settled in any peace agreement.
"What is vital for us is to obtain the most important thing, the renunciation by the Palestinians of the right of return of refugees to territory under Israeli sovereignty," Tami added.
"This right of return is our greatest concern because we want to maintain the character and the Jewish majority in Israel and renouncing this right is the only way to achieve that," she added -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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