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Western Wall must remain under Jewish sovereignty: Palestinian official

The Western Wall in Jerusalem is below the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site
Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites (AFP/file photo)

One of Judaism's holiest sites, the Western Wall in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, must remain under "Jewish sovereignty," a senior member of the Palestinian president's Fatah party said on Saturday.

"We understand that the wall ... is sacred for Jews," Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah, told Israel's Channel Two television.

"At the end of the day it must be under Jewish sovereignty, there is no doubt about it," he said.

The Western Wall is the last remnant of the supporting wall of the second Jewish temple, built by King Herod and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

The holiest site where Jews can pray is in the Old City of East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move not recognised by the international community.

It is situated below the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Speaking in Hebrew, Rajoub, who is also head of the Palestinian football federation, said, however, that the Al-Aqsa compound "is ours".

The legal and diplomatic status of Jerusalem is one of the key points in the Middle East conflict.

Israel considers the entire city to be its eternal and indivisible capital, but the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Last month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem will always be the capital of the Jewish state.

"The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty," he said.

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