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08:15, 23 March 2018 Friday
13:16, 28 February 2018 Wednesday

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Jerusalem church reopens after Israel tax suspension
Jerusalem church reopens after Israel tax suspension

The move came one day after Israeli authorities decided to suspend plans to levy taxes

World Bulletin / News Desk

East Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre was reopened Wednesday after a three-day closure in protest of Israeli plans to levy taxes on property owned by churches in the holy city. 

The move came one day after Israeli authorities decided to suspend plans to increase taxes on the church property in the city. 

"Following these recent developments, we hereby announce that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre will be reopened to the pilgrims," the church said in a statement. 

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the tax plans had been suspended and that a committee -- to be led by Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi -- will include representatives of the finance, foreign affairs and the interior ministries, along with the Jerusalem Municipality, to “negotiate with church representatives to resolve the issue”.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is home to Christianity’s holiest sites. It is jointly administered by several Christian denominations, including the Armenian Apostolic and Roman Catholic churches, the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Tewahedo churches. 

There are between 10,000 to 12,000 Christians living in East Jerusalem, out of 300,000-strong Palestinian population in the city. 

East Jerusalem has drawn world attention since U.S. President Donald Trump on Dec. 6 officially recognized the holy city as the capital of Israel, triggering world outcry and protests across the Palestinian territories. 

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as capital of an independent Palestinian state. 

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Middle East war. 

In a move never recognized by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city in 1980 claiming it as its "eternal and undivided” capital.

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