Since 1947 the Holy See has been asking for Special International Status for the Old City: to grant access to the Holy Places of the three religions and also to avoid any unilateral change to the existing status of the shrines.
During a recent congress in Rome, the possibility of shared control of the Holy Places was discussed once again.
Palestinians and Israelis with the sharing of the international community can control the Old City for a temporary period, for 20-25 years, we call it special regime, maybe such special regime can be continued and become a permanent solution, or through these 20-25 years both parties could get to a better solution than this one.
I think that people who treat Jerusalem as mere real estate are mistaken: Jerusalem is the primordial genesis materials of which religious faith and national consciousness are made of. And that means that it is not only a moral cultural imperative, but a political imperative to incorporate the sensibilities of faith communities: if you fail to that, you will not arrive at a peace agreement, and if you arrive at a peace agreement it will not last because it will be undermine by the religious undercurrents.
Card George Cottier
Former Theologian of the Pontifical Family
Every religion has to defend its religious places without offending the other: from this basis, all the legal problems of ownership will be solved. Religions have a public aspect, even prior to a political one, so they need respect for the property and the protection of their places. When we talk about the Holy Places, some guarantees at the international level are also necessary.
The future of Jerusalem is one of the hardest chapters in the peace process. But the involvement of the religious authorities in negotiations might be in itself a step forward towards peace.