The rare decision by church leaders to close the ancient holy site with the busy Easter holiday approaching put extra pressure on Israel. AFP / Thomas COEX
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Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial, is set to reopen its doors after Israel backtracked Tuesday from a tax plan and draft property legislation that triggered a three-day protest.An Israeli committee led by Cabinet Minister Tzachi Hanegbi will negotiate with church representatives to try to resolve the dispute over plans to tax commercial properties owned by the church in Jerusalem, Netanyahu's statement said.Church leaders, in closing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, said church-owned businesses, which include a hotel and office space in Jerusalem, had enjoyed a tax exemption.While the review is underway, work on legislation that would allow Israel to expropriate land in Jerusalem that churches have sold to private real estate firms in recent years will also be suspended, Netanyahu said.
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