LET THE RESHAIM FALL, AND FALL HARD!
Yossi Beilin is the Rasha #2, after Peres.
'Peres wants to yield sites to Vatican'
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
President Shimon Peres wants to give up Israeli sovereignty over key Christian holy sites to the Vatican, according to an Army Radio report Monday, a proposition which is reportedly opposed by Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
According to the report, the issue ruffled feathers among senior Israeli officials.
Beit Hanassi could not be reached for comment, as it does not issue statements to the press while the president is abroad.
Army Radio said that the president was exerting pressure on the government to give up sovereignty over six sites including the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Coenaculum on Mount Zion, the Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and the Church of the Multiplication on the Kinneret.
On Sunday, according to the report, Beit Hanassi requested that the Interior Ministry sign documents conceding sovereignty on the sites, however the interior minister refused.
Yishai was quoted as saying that he opposes all yielding of sovereignty.
"Every concession like this limits the Israeli government's ability to function as a sovereign government in the area," he said.
Referring to Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming visit to the region scheduled for May 11-15, he said, "I am certain that the aim of the pope's visit is not to cause damage and not to gain sovereignty."
Relinquishing sovereignty over the sites would mean that they would legally belong to Vatican City, and that any Israeli request to pave roads, or lay water, sewerage or electrical infrastructure would have to be approved by the Vatican.
"If we were sure that this present to the Christian world would bring millions of Christian pilgrims here, then we would have a good reason to think about it," Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov was quoted as saying.
(DS: HE SHOULD BE FIRED; IS THIS HIS CRITERION: WE ARE WILLING TO SELL ERETZ YISRAEL FOR ENOUGH MONEY???)
"But since we're not sure that it will happen, why should we give out gifts?"
Former Meretz chair Yossi Beilin, however, was quoted in the report as saying that Israel had not behaved satisfactorily in recent dealings with the Vatican. "We need to compromise with them," he said.
The Army Radio report also quoted Beit Hanassi as saying that the negotiations had been going on for long enough, and that the time had come to compromise with the Vatican and come to an agreement.
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