Jerusalem the endless conflict

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Jerusalem - the endless conflict
Israel and the Palestinians are engaged in a complicated multi-layered conflict. Even though ongoing efforts are made to terminate the conflict between the two sides and various models are used and tried in order reach a Modus Vivendi, the progress is slow, frustrating and almost hopeless.

The federal thought offers a new concept – regional arrangements. Regional arrangements partly exist between Israel and the Palestinians regarding public health, water sources, sewage and some kind of commercial relations.

Progress in the dialogue and further enlarging the cooperation between the sides is depending on resolving essential problems like that of Jerusalem.

In order to manage the conflict and suggesting some resolutions, various models of arbitration and mediation are examined as a possible working method between the sides.
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not a new one. Over the last hundred years it changed from a low impact conflict (LIC) to one involving guerrilla warfare and terrorism. However, the relationship also included cooperation. Both sides are engaged in a complex game, with mixed results.

Both sides need one another in order to be able to build a viable future. However, the different methods taken by each side to achieve their interests make it difficult to reach a satisfying coexistence.

The most suitable model for this regional problem is the complex confederation model. It can be a basis for a possible solution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, without requiring the sides to compromise on values and norms, thus enabling the two societies to live side by side.

This framework can become operational only if three levels of interaction between both sides would exist:

a) Communication between the political elites, who can govern the form of interaction between the parties, its frequency and intensity.

b) Communication and willingness to solve functional and bureaucratic problems between the parties, by officials, public servants and bureaucrats, without turning each problem into a cardinal one. Thus, the political elite would be free to progress and create a political atmosphere of confidence to pursue its interests.

c) Cooperation and communication between the civil communities based on mutual gain and/or trust.

These three levels can evolve gradually, but in order to facilitate reaching a solution, the first two levels – the politicians and the bureaucrats, have to willingly and comprehensively work together.

Forms of Regional Cooperation

There are two main types of regional agreements:

a) Sociological-Functionalism Model: The "organic" regional agreement characterizes agreements between functionally-cooperative states, where civic culture is both state-and community-oriented. Regional agreements evolve as a consequence of cultural affinity, mutual understanding, and shared values and outlook, even if the different sides do not share the same religion or faith. Therefore, we can relate to sociological functionalism as an understanding between two or more different cultural-based societies, which are willing to accept heritage diversity. Not only are the cooperating societies able to disregard those cleavages but they do not even perceive them as an impediment.1

b) The “Economic Model” describes a type of agreement characteristic of states which, as a result of economic pressure, decide that they would benefit from economic cooperation, which then ultimately leads to social and cultural exchange.2

The most important benefit from the expansion of regional arrangements is the decline of violent conflict, and the resort to diplomacy in order to solve conflicts. Although worldwide security, disarmament, and deterrence have not yet been achieved, and nation-states continue to advance their security interests, a decline in traditional wars must be noted as a consequence of the ongoing development of regional agreements.
Regional Arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians

What are the possibilities for the development of a regional arrangement between Israel and a future Palestinian state? This question is posed in light of the success of such arrangements elsewhere in the world, the resolution of traditional conflicts such as in South Africa and Ireland, and the strengthening of positive, cooperative forces in those countries.

Since the 1970s, various plans for confederation between Israel and Jordan, and later between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians, have been drawn up, without any institutionalized results. The primary reason for failure has been the absence of trust between the parties, who failed to discern the benefits of such cooperation. However, the establishment of a confederation between Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan remains an attractive idea. Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, was the first to raise this possibility in 1993, albeit without any success. Further development was made by solving the problem of representation of the Palestinians during the Oslo process, by which Israel formally recognized the Palestinian leadership as its partner for negotiations. Since then, the establishment of a Palestinian state became only a question of time. The Palestinian Authority (PA), the institutionalized and legally-elected entity, can negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. The quest for economic development would benefit both sides. Nevertheless, can the Israelis and Palestinians realize the mutual advantages that could end the traditional mistrust and the conflict itself?

Unfortunately, the developments in the Palestinian Authority invalidated this model, as the radical Islamic party Hamas scored an overwhelming victory in the Palestinian legislative elections on January 26th, 2006, taking 76 of 132 seats, and deposing the former ruling party, Fatah, which won only 43. The immediate result was a renewed wave of violence against Israel, resulting in the cessation of all communication between Israel and Gaza.

In order to reach one type or another of regional arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians, a few major goalposts must be reached:

* The development of regional arrangements which include constitutional boundaries and agreed-upon methods of collaboration

* The development of a regional identity without abandoning either side's national one.

* Agreement on norms and terminology of communication, thus reducing the influence of propaganda.

* Progression towards the acceptance of political parties and the political game by each side.

* Coping with the issue of Jerusalem on functional levels in order to minimize emotional involvement.

* Debating openly the question of the use of the two religions, Judaism and Islam, as a political instrument, serving both sides.

While pragmatic arrangements are ongoing in Gaza since the Oslo accords, the control of the future of Jerusalem has started in earnest. Each political campaign in Israel and the PA is influenced by the core issues: the refugees, the right of return and the issue of Jerusalem. Solving these issues could pave the way to a regional agreement.

This paper discusses various solutions to the complex situation of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem – The current situation

The 1948 War of Independence left Jerusalem's Old City without Jewish residents and under Jordanian rule for nineteen years,3 until Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank and redrew the boundaries of the city. Regarding the holy sites in Jerusalem, the Israeli military government decided to maintain the status quo.4 The Christians were given de facto sovereignty over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and parts of the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Most of the Temple Mount was left in Muslim hands, and Jews were granted free access to the Western Wall and to the walls of the Temple Mount. Jews were permitted to visit the Temple Mount but not to pray there. In addition, no flags bearing symbols of sovereignty were raised in the precincts of the Temple Mount. As to the legal status of united Jerusalem, the majority of the international community has accepted Israeli control of the western part of the city but not the eastern part. Although Israeli authorities regard the eastern portion of Jerusalem as part of the State of Israel,5 the international community has rejected this approach.

The extension of Jerusalem's jurisdiction in 1967 was not undertaken according to protocol, with the minister of the interior setting up a commission of inquiry and holding an ordered discussion on the matter, but by an amendment to the "order for arrangements of rule and law" of September 1948, whose wording (clause 11b), permitted completion of the "unification" seventeen days after the end of the war. The order, published the following day by the government secretariat, specified a municipal line that did not appear on a map but referred to imaginary lines between points of reference. In no place in the judicial proceedings does the name of Jerusalem appear, and the government's desire to hide and blur the annexation, out of fear of a grave international response, is evident.

In essence, there were five major principles that determined the new boundaries of the city.6 The first and most important principle was demographic-territorial: annexing extensive areas to Jerusalem in order to ensure its expansion and development, while avoiding inclusion of densely populated refugee camps and Arab villages within the precincts of the city. In practice, the total area annexed to Jerusalem came to 17,500 acres, of which only about 1500 acres were Jordanian Jerusalem. The rest of the area belonged to twenty-eight villages, a small number of which were annexed in full and the rest in part (map 1). The number of Palestinians who overnight became residents of Jerusalem and the holders of Israeli identity cards was 69,000, representing 23 percent of the population of the unified city.

In 2005, the number of Palestinian residents was 231,000, representing 33 percent of the unified city population. The number of Jews living in the ten Jewish neighborhoods of the post-1967 addition was 179,000, representing 40 percent of the Jewish population in the entire city.

Map 1. Jerusalem's Borders after 1967

The second principle was to separate Jerusalem economically from its West Bank environs. In practice, however, East Jerusalem has remained the urban and economic heart of the West Bank. The largest population in the West Bank, about 800,000 Palestinians, is concentrated in East Jerusalem and its suburbs, and significant economic activity is also present in the area.

The third principle was strategic/security oriented. Since those dealing with the subject were convinced that the boundaries they drew would be the borders of the state in the near future, they included a significant portion of the hilltops surrounding Jerusalem. In practice, over the years Israel built new neighborhoods on these hilltops – Ramot Alon and Ramat Shlomo in the north and Gilo in the south – so that today Mount Gilo in the south, Nebi Samuel in the north, and the outer heights of Ma'ale Adumim in the east, outside the boundaries of the annexation, are those commanding the city that has expanded. These neighborhoods are included in the planned security border of Jerusalem.

During the Barak government, in the Camp David negotiations, the Palestinians accepted the demilitarization of their future state and its independence of a foreign army and heavy weaponry.

The fourth principle was to include within the city boundaries important facilities such as the Atarot airport, the slaughterhouse in Shuafat, and the cemetery in the Mount of Olives. In practice, the airport is currently not being used nor is it needed, the slaughterhouse has ceased operation, and few burials take place on the Mount of Olives, although the site retains religious and ownership of land and previous land arrangements. historical significance.

The fifth principle was to consider areas that lay within the boundaries of the municipalities of Bethlehem, Beit Jalah, and El Bireh to be annexed as part of the 5,250 acres of Palestinian land and expropriated for the construction of Jewish neighborhoods. Although according to the 1950 Israeli law on abandoned assets the government could have expropriated the land and private property of the Palestinians, it avoided this measure. However, to advance construction of the separation fence, on April 8, 2004, the Israeli government authorized the expropriation from their legal owners of private property valued at millions of dollars, without right of appeal.7 In negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the Taba talks of January 2001, which were based on the Clinton proposal of December 2000, understandings were reached that the Jewish neighborhoods would remain under Israeli sovereignty in a final settlement. During 2007, Arab sheiks and Jewish religious investors competed in buying properties in the old city.

Over the years, few solutions were suggested in order to solve the issue of concerning Jerusalem. For example: joint governance over the holy places; one capital for two states; internationalization of the holy sites; dividing the city according to ethnic lines, with each nation governing its own people.

The importance of the borders of Jerusalem is threefold: Jerusalem is a holy city for the three monotheistic religions; a symbol of sovereignty; and, by demarcating the city, defines the size of the future Palestinian state.

The PA exerted all efforts toward safeguarding East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine. PM Qurei stated: “The PA is giving priority to the significant issue of Jerusalem because it could wreck the peace process.”8

Historical Solutions:

By the unification of the city in 1967, Palestinian citizens received the Israeli citizenship and were entitled to receive social benefits from the state. Yet they were not allowed to participate fully in the politics. As Israel is anxious to keep the Jewish majority in the city, Arab-Palestinian neighborhoods endanger this notion. Therefore each Israeli government made an effort to mark the city's borders – the Rabin government included Abu-Dis in the Greater Jerusalem district, whereas Ehud Barak, who took part in negotiations with Arafat during the Clinton administration period, saw no necessity in the Arab neighborhoods Shuafat and Beit-Hanina and was willing to negotiate new borders for the city.

Sharon's intention to build 3,500 new housing units and Israeli police headquarters in the area just east of the Jerusalem municipal borders, between Maale Adumim and East Jerusalem (termed E-1), posed a new problem: the new Jewish area would sabotage the efforts to revive the diplomatic negotiations over the West Bank. The main goal of the construction of the Maale Adumim settlement bloc was to separate the northern part of the West Bank from its southern part, which would prevent the creation of territorial contiguity and isolate East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian objection to this move was fierce: “What is happening is very dangerous. Israel is expanding the border of Jerusalem to the Jordan Valley. Who will accept that? Who will accept swapping Jerusalem for Gaza or for the West Bank?” Qurei asked.

After American pressure on Israel, on September 3rd, 2005, Ehud Olmert, Sharon's deputy, declared that the plans for developing that area were withheld.
The Geneva Accord

An unofficial solution was agreed upon between the Israelis and the Palestinians during meetings in Geneva. The Geneva Accord is a joint Israeli-Palestinian effort that suggests a detailed model for a peace agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict- proving that peace is possible, demonstrating that partners for peace do exist and that there is a solution to every problem. The talks leading to the Initiative began after the failure of the Taba talks in 2001 and were conducted between teams comprised of “The Palestinian Peace Coalition” (PPC)9 and public Israeli political and non-political persons. One of the main activities on the Israeli side of the Geneva Initiative has been the establishment of a legally incorporated Not-for-Profit structure: H.L. Education for Peace Ltd, which has been registered as a Not-for-profit Ltd Company (NPO) with the official Registrar of Companies.

The solution for the problem of Jerusalem included both religious and functional opportunities:

1. Religious and Cultural Significance: The Parties recognized the universal historic, religious, spiritual, and cultural significance of Jerusalem and its holiness enshrined in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and committed themselves to safeguard the character, holiness, and freedom of worship in the city and to respect the existing division of administrative functions and traditional practices between different denominations. Conflicts regarding religious issues between the parties will be solved by a consultative body.

2. Capital of Two States
The Parties shall have their mutually recognized capitals in the areas of Jerusalem under their respective sovereignty.

3. Sovereignty
Sovereignty in Jerusalem shall be in accordance with attached Map 2. This shall not prejudice nor be prejudiced by the arrangements set forth below.

4. al-Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount (Compound)
An International Group composed of the IVG and other parties to be agreed upon by the Parties, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), shall hereby be established to monitor, verify, and assist in the implementation of the clause.10 No digging or excavations or constructions will be completed without the approval of both parties. The security of the compound will be maintained by the Palestinians, and visitors will be allowed access to the site. At the end of the withdrawal period the state of Palestine shall assert sovereignty over the Compound.

3. The Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall shall be under Israeli sovereignty.

The Western Wall Tunnel shall be under Israeli administration, including:

a. Unrestricted Israeli access and right to worship and conduct religious practices.
b. Responsibility for the preservation and maintenance of the site. The Northern Exit of the Tunnel shall only be used for exit and may only be closed in case of emergency.

4. The Old City
The Parties agree that the preservation of this unique character of the city together with safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the inhabitants. The Parties shall act in accordance with the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List regulations, in which plan for the Old City. Police duties will be fulfilled by IVG forces.

5. Mount of Olives Cemetery
The Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives shall be under Israeli administration;

6. Municipal Coordination
(a) The two Jerusalem municipalities shall form a Jerusalem Co-ordination and Development Committee ("JCDC") to oversee the cooperation and coordination between the Palestinian Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli Jerusalem municipality. The JCDC and its sub-committees shall be composed of an equal number of representatives from Palestine and Israel. Each side will appoint members of the JCDC and its subcommittees in accordance with its own modalities.

(b) The JCDC shall ensure that the coordination of infrastructure and services best serves the residents of Jerusalem, and shall promote the economic development of the city to the benefit of all. The JCDC will act to encourage cross-community dialogue and reconciliation.

7. Israeli Residency of Palestinian Jerusalemites
Palestinian Jerusalemites who currently are permanent residents of Israel shall lose this status upon the transfer of authority to Palestine of those areas in which they reside.11

The problem with this solution is that a large part of the Israeli public regards a unified Jerusalem in its present borders as a single entity and opposes its partition. This position was formalized in the mythical status awarded to these boundaries as a result of the legislation, "Jerusalem: The Capital of Israel, 1980." Against this Israeli attachment to the idea of a unified Jerusalem lie Palestinian religious and nationalist claims to the city.

A Unified City?

Herein lay the five principles that governed the idea of the expansion of the city. Despite thirty-eight years of "unification," however, Arab East Jerusalem is de facto separate from the western part of the city and from the Jewish neighborhoods in the east.12 Infrastructure standards are entirely different: 50 percent of East Jerusalem is without water mains and drainage systems, and 50 percent of East Jerusalem lands have no detailed and approved zoning plans, which make the planning of roads and infrastructures and the provision of construction permits in accordance with zoning plans difficult at best. Despite the virtually unrestricted access by Arab labor to the Jewish employment market in Jerusalem, the reality is two sectoral employment markets in the two parts of the city. The same applies to the transportation and education systems.

The Ayalon-Nussiebeh Solution

The Ayalon-Nussiebeh formulation “the National Census” (2003), based on popular support, by product of the Clinton Solution, adopted two principles to assert the legitimacy of the two-states for two people solution: "Both sides will declare that Palestine is the only state of the Palestinian people and Israel is the only state of the Jewish people" and "Palestinian refugees will return only to the State of Palestine; Jews will return only to the State of Israel." This formulation was possible because it also included clear positions regarding borders and Jerusalem that enabled a "package deal" to be agreed upon.

Regarding those issues, Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh agreed that in Jerusalem sovereignty would be divided between the two states, except for the holy places where neither would hold sovereignty, but Israel would serve as guardian over the Wester Wall and Palestine would serve as guardian over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. On borders, they agreed to the principle of using the June 4, 1967 as the basis with acceptable 1:1 territorial exchanges.

The Geneva Initiative addressed this issue as follows: "As part of the accord, the Palestinians recognize the right of the Jewish people to their own state and recognize the State of Israel as their national home. Conversely, the Israelis recognize the Palestinian state as the national home of the Palestinian people." Once again, this was an acceptable formula because of the comprehensive nature of the Geneva Initiative.

The Clinton Solution

Clinton proposed partitioning the city according to the principle that Arab areas are Palestinian and the Jewish ones are Israeli. This principle would similarly apply to the Old City. The Israeli and Palestinian delegations accepted this proposal and advanced towards a solution in the Taba talks,13 and the unofficial Geneva accord, concluded in October 2003, draws a border that incorporates the specific proposal of the president (map 2).

Map 2. Two Capital Cities of Jerusalem (Geneva Accord)

The collapse of the political process following the Camp David summit led to a norm of violence in which both sides felt betrayed and without a "partner" for negotiating an acceptable solution. Moreover, public pressure reacting to the violence and terrorism of the intifada propelled the Israeli government to set up a "seam" zone and security fence, including around Jerusalem. The route approved by the government in June 2002 and in October 2003 intended to expand Jerusalem's boundaries with an additional security region. All the hilltops commanding Jerusalem and located outside its boundaries have been included in the seam region: Mount Gilo in the south, which also overlooks Bethlehem and Beit Jalah, and Nebi Samuel and the Sheikh Zeitun range in the north, which also dominate Betunia and Ramallah.

The ruling of the Supreme Court in June 2004 in the petition submitted by residents of the Palestinian village of Beit Surich, joined by residents of Mevasseret Zion and the Council for Peace and Security, forced the Israeli government in February 2005 to approve an alternative route for the fence that balances Israeli security with Palestinian lifestyle needs. This new route will reduce slightly the amount of Palestinian land separated from its owners and the number of Palestinians on the western side of the fence, but it does not substantively mitigate the separation of East Jerusalem from the Palestinian population of the West Bank (map 3).

Map 3. The "Seam" Zone of the Jerusalem Region

As to 2008, the five principles are problematic: as long as the city is not able to develop and create new job opportunities, the demographic, and economic and expansion problems are not solved. The security issue continues to be unsolved, as long as free pass is ensured to the East Jerusalem's residences.14

The Period of Transition
At the core of interim period proposal is a narrower seam zone. Map 4 and table 1 depict this proposal, which ensures the security needs of the Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern and western parts of the city and preserves the fabric of life of the Palestinian population in Jerusalem and the greater metropolitan area. Significantly, the proposal does not call for changing the legal status of the city and its residents and does not affect the social services they are entitled to. The following principles underlie the proposal for a more limited seam zone:

  1. Ongoing IDF, General Security Services (GSS), and Israeli police operations on both sides of the security barrier, until an agreement is reached between the sides.

  2. Security of the Israeli neighborhoods in Jerusalem in a protected region separate from the Palestinian neighborhoods. The form of separation will be based on a different profile than the existing one. It will be possible to incorporate a decorative electronic fence or maintain a separation based on the existing topographical route.

  3. Contiguity between Jerusalem and the large Israeli residential areas in the metropolitan area (Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev) and their inclusion in the protected region.

  4. Creation of a system of crossings that will permit entrance by Israeli residents – Israelis and Palestinians – into the Israeli protected region (exit from it will not be controlled).

  5. Retention of most of the existing barrier with seven crossings that will be "routinely open" for Palestinian needs and Israeli traffic bypassing Jerusalem, while maintaining security through random checks or absolute control, subject to the current security assessment. This barrier will create a region for preliminary monitoring of terrorist activities before they reach the protected region.

  6. Maintaining access by both populations to the sites holy to the three religions.

Table 1: Jerusalem during the Transition Period*

East Jerusalem

Approved Jerusalem region**

Proposed Jerusalem region***

Monitoring region

Protected region

Area (acres)


















* All data refers to the area and the population outside the 1967 borders.
** The proposed region is a combination of the monitoring region and the protected region.
*** The proposed area combines the monitoring and protected areas.

For example, a Palestinian bearing a Palestinian Authority identity card may leave the bloc of villages to the south of Highway 443 (on the Modi'in – Givat Ze'ev road), drive on the road, enter the monitoring region near Beit Horon at a point that is "routinely open," cross, and leave for Betunia in the region of the Ofer refugee camp at a similar point. Alternatively, he may reach the Palestinian neighborhoods in northern Jerusalem, Shuafat and Beit Hanina, and cross to the east and the south under a bridge in the region of the Shuafat refugee camp without being delayed. The entry to the monitoring region will be controlled and modified by Israeli security forces based on security evaluations. If he is also authorized to enter Jerusalem he may use one of the three following crossings: Bidu in the north, "Checkpoint 300" near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem in the south, and Mount Scopus in the east. An Israeli who does not wish to enter Jerusalem may use the same route and continue to the Jordan Valley or the Dead Sea without delay. Entry to the city itself will be through the checkpoints for Israelis (map 4).

Map 4. The Jerusalem "Seam" Zone during the Transition Period

On the assumption that the Israeli government and the PLO can end the conflict only through resuming negotiations on a permanent settlement, this proposal enjoys the following advantages:

  • The security for Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods is improved, because they are included in a protected region without a Palestinian population that participates in the Palestinian struggle.

  • The legal status of the city and of its residents is not harmed and the Palestinian residents will continue to enjoy municipal services, social security payments, and other institutional services. However, if the Israeli government coordinates with the Palestinian Authority, it will be possible to transfer the neighborhoods in whole or part to Palestinian responsibility with the status of Area B.

  • The Israeli and Palestinian routines in the Jerusalem region and in the city itself will be preserved in their present alignment – the western part of the city and the Jewish neighborhoods with the State of Israel, and the Palestinian neighborhoods with the West Bank. This will halt the increasing tendency of the emigration of Palestinian holders of Israeli identity cards into Israel, as well as the decrease in the standard of living in East Jerusalem, an economic reality that provides fertile ground for terrorist organizations to recruit new operatives.

  • In physical terms, the proposal can be feasibly implemented and does not delay the completion of the fence approved by the government.

  • The proposal permits postponing the specific political argument regarding the boundaries of Jerusalem because it preserves the municipal status quo, although some people will claim the exact opposite, since the boundaries of the protected region are determined on a demographic basis.

  • The proposal provides a political channel for the solution of the conflict without obstructing implementation of an agreement based on the Clinton proposal.

  • The proposal includes a saving of hundreds of millions of shekels in the construction of crossings in the security fence required for preserving the Palestinian fabric of life.

There are those who oppose the very foundation on which this proposal is based – partition of Jerusalem in accordance with Clinton's proposal. In addition, the proposal includes certain shortcomings:

  • Opposition from the Israeli Right for the demarcation of a political route based on a demographic line that excludes the City of David and the Mount of Olives from the Israeli area.

  • Opposition from the Palestinian residents of the city for the control of their passage between the eastern and western parts of the city. The wall, the security fence and road blocks contribute to their difficulties.

  • Palestinian criticism on Israel's capacity to close the monitoring region to the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria.

  • Increase in construction and operating costs of the barrier, which will essentially depend on two systems (notwithstanding the savings specified above).

  • Reduction of the time and space for terrorist penetration from Judea and Samaria into the western part of the city, because of the "routinely open" concept of the entrances to the monitoring region partially bordering on the protected region.

Overall, however, it appears that this proposal is not only viable, but will lay the groundwork on both sides in terms of routine and public opinion for a redefinition of "unified" Jerusalem as two capitals for two independent states.

The Permanent Solution: Proposal for the Historical Area

This is the proposal Shaul Arieli from the TAU.15 A permanent solution on Jerusalem will necessarily include a settlement for the area of historical significance, which includes and extends beyond the Old City boundaries. Map 5 depicts the region containing the holy sites, consisting primarily of religious institutions and cemeteries. Some of this region is physically bounded by the Ottoman walls built at the beginning of the sixteenth century, which in themselves do not have any kind of sanctity that requires factoring them in as an exclusive criterion.

Construction of new walls around the designated region, without harming the existing walls, will lead to a physical distinction between the holy places and the rest of the city (map 5 and table 2). The walls will be constructed as a joint project among Israelis and Palestinians. Their underlying concept will be to designate a region for joint use rather than announcing a divisive boundary, although with a capacity for separation from the greater urban area based on existing architectural solutions.16
Map 5. The Historical Region of Jerusalem

Table 2. The Historical Region

Perimeter (meters)


Area (acres; 1 acre = 4046.85 square meters)


Construction of a new wall (meters)


Existing : new gates






The Current Situation

After a recent governmental meeting on Jerusalem, Mayor Uri Lupolianski summarized its conclusions. “East Jerusalem, may God forbid, no longer be under Jewish sovereignty . . . Hamas will conquer Jerusalem within twelve years. In order not to lose the city to Hamas . . . there is a need for a strategic plan.”

Within days, news of the latest plan to construct thousands of dwelling units in existing and new settlement communities in East Jerusalem appeared. Ha’aretz noted that the purpose of the construction, according to Deputy Mayor Yehoshua Pollak, is to “produce a linking corridor between Jerusalem and the Etzion bloc in the south of the city and between Jerusalem and the settlements in the Bet El region north of the city (see the Report March April 2007)

Wallaja, an area that straddles the Green Line, is viewed as a critical link in the effort to fortify a wall of Israeli settlement south of the city. A territorial swath of Israeli settlement is meant to link the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Malha with the settlements of Gilo, Beitar Illit, and the Etzion bloc. A suburb of 10,000 units is envisioned to be filled by the exploding population of poor, ultra Orthodox “Haredim,” ultimately supporting a population of more than 50,000.

“If you can control Wallaja,” noted Pollak, “you establish a connection via the Tunnels Road with the Etzion bloc.”

A far smaller plan--involving 500 units--is being promoted for Kidmat Zion on land in the Abu Dis Jerusalem border owned by Irwin Moskowitz, an American patron of settlement in the environs of the Old City.

“Because of the political considerations restricting expansion of the city east towards Ma’ ale Adumim [the reference is to U.S. opposition to the E 1 plan],” concluded Pollak, “it is necessary to construct a barrier” along the length of the almost completed separation barrier. 17

Mediation – another route yet not accomplished.

As seen above, the problem of Jerusalem is far from a conclusion. The mediation could be a normative way to solve the problem, by a new approach, which was never been tried.

There are six types of mediation:

a/ The rational scientific type, based on the game theory rules therefore almost impossible to reach a constructive solution thus minimizing the frustration of each side, even though their winnings are impressive. The discussions are based on the concept of “aspiration level – target point.”

b/ The pragmatic model, based on the American point of view that radical ideologies are no longer valid, therefore each conflict is reduced to a simple one, enabling the sides to reach an agreement.18 Unfortunately, in this complex conflict, no negotiator would reduce the status of Jerusalem to territory alone without relating to the emotional impact of the city on both sides.

c/ The transformative model – is based on the flexibility of the goals. The model assumes that each side is aware of the importance of the goals, and a transformative mediator will be able to change the value of the goals, thus enabling both sides to develop empathy towards the other by empowering each side and recognition of interests and needs.19

d/ The alternative narrative model is based on a new discursion of the conflict that will alter and exchange the old narrative. The dominant narrative usually undermines any effort to solve a complex problem, as it is locating both sides according to a series of assumptions, thus maximizing the contradictions and differences between the participants. Instead of a dead end-route, a new narrative could bridge the gap between the sides. The main difficulty is to overcome the mistrust between the sides that will finally enable a new narrative.20

e/ The intercultural model assumes that “the identity negotiation perspective” that draw the lines between groups and their needs, causes distress for the negotiators who are not familiar with other cultures. Therefore, the success of the process depends on the negotiator ability to expose the cultural communication that will enable a new language creation. By using these new symbols, the hostile communication will be replaced by a more moderated one.

The weakness of this model is in the base facts that one can free himself from cultural judgments, thus annulling stereotypes and biased views. The problem of Jerusalem, as a religious symbol is that both sides find it impossible to reduce their demands, as it includes all the stereotypes and belief of the monotheistic religions.

The commentary paradigm

The commentary paradigm, another branch of the pragmatic style mediation, assumes that a conflict can be solved by juridical commentary and interpretation of the law. This trend is based on the realization that the law-community is a moralistic-political community. The judge sets up his judgments and considerations, especially on complicated conflicts, thus disproving the popular belief that “hard cases make bad law”.

Observing the past, we note that the five first mediation models failed in ending the conflict: the Geneva Accord is rational type mediation, and as emotions are impossible to translate into a rational solution. The Geneva Accord transferred the power and prestige into the hands of an international force, thus crowning it into an almost unlimited power.

The Clinton solution is based on the pragmatic model, consequently to the American worldview and the transition to one power era. Even though the solution is based on the naïve worldview that the two people could resolve their ongoing historical conflict, both sides did not rush to sign the contract.

The intercultural models are irrelevant as cultural gaps between the two sides and between them and the mediator are too wide to overcome it.

Arieli's solution is based on the historical areas and its requirement to end the conflict. According to the mediation models, Arieli exchanges values – he is ready to give up territory in order to govern the historical sites. But he never related to the holy Muslim and Christian sites.

The situation nowadays is therefore complicated – the greater Jerusalem and the interlaced neighborhoods are making any solution impossible.

The commentary paradigm is the only one that judges the situation on a moralistic and ethical base. The pursuit of justice is therefore based on the idea of the morality of the law. As the participants are not seeking just to maximize their gains, but they are willing to accept compromises that seem to be fair, and they will reject every solution that is perceived as unfair, the outcome of the arbitration must reflect this notion.

The conflict is aimed to transform the participants in two moral levels: to reinforce their ego and their ability to communicate. The major aim of the arbitration is to develop “empowerment” and “recognition” as the first stage towards solution. Empowerment is the result of transforming each side to be relaxed, self assured and decisive. This psychological situation will enable the participant to classify his interests and possibilities realistically.

Recognition is another stage in recognizing the needs of the other, by being more attentive to his needs and more communicative. The opponent ceases to be an enemy and becomes a partner to negotiations.21

This model enriches the pragmatic model by suggesting using pre- mediation a psychological process to prepare both sides to the mediation and the possible solutions. Emphasizing the relativistic morals of each community is designed to further relate to the law, thus creating a new frame of law based on common morality. Bush and Folger assume that during the conflict process, both sides are less restrained and irrational therefore they lack the basic qualities to conduct a fruitful negotiation process. Only when both sides define their “red lines” the mediation can take place.

The role of the mediator is important – he exercises positive and optimistic mood uses feelings not as obstruction but as an opportunity to transform the participants, thus empowering them. By not enlarging the items of the arbitration but focusing on the agreed upon issues, he can conclude successfully the process.

This kind of arbitration is possible only if relational morals and relational worldview are accepted by both sides. The destruction of the holistic concept of truth in the conflict and transforming it into relativistic truth and morals will enable the mediator and both sides to find new solutions.


The problem of Jerusalem is in the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Being a holy city for all religions, both sides, the Israeli and the Palestinian, are claiming their rights to declare sovereignty over the city.

During the years, various attempts were made by the international community and private mediators to solve the dispute between the sides.

Three models are valid when conducting arbitration:

a/ the rational model

b/ the functionalist model

c/ the commentary paradigm.

The first two models are invalid for the case of Jerusalem, as the ratio behind the models won't secure any viable solution for both sides. As long as the sides won't agree upon the essence of the city and its suburbs, any negotiation is doomed to failure. The Geneva Accord and the Clinton solution, both were situated in the functionalist-rationalist solution. The Arieli map regarded mostly the old city, and the enlargement of the Jewish quarter, including in its borders both Jewish and Christian historical sites. In order to end the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, Arieli suggested a new wall that will mark the new borders of Jerusalem. The Israeli and the Palestinian settlements are not included in the district of Jerusalem. Even though his solution is plausible for the Israelis, any legal argument will be declined by the Palestinians.

Therefore, only a promising arbitration model remains still valid – the commentary paradigm. This model is based upon the fact that conflicts won't be resolved unless the basis of the conflict will be psychologically changed and b
oth sides will look upon the morality of the conflict. Nowadays, the two nations – the Jewish Israeli community and the Muslim-Christian community regard Jerusalem as their spiritual and functionalist capital. Furthermore, both sides are unwilling to defuse the problem of the city to clusters and disconnect between the subject of the refugees, the borders of the city and its functionalist institutes so badly needed by both sides are not separated or decided upon. The religious institutes are not defined functionally; its maintenance and sovereignty are frequently submitted to juridical comments. Furthermore, no willingness for atmosphere change between the sides is noted and as time passes by, the antagonism only grows.

1 Regional groupings of this type which exist today include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and the Nordic Council.

2 Examples of this type of regional grouping include the European Union, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA). Each of these regional agreements differs from the others, although all seek to achieve a balance of interests among the participants. This is often possible when the synergic energy that exists in regional arrangements is exploited.

3 The Jordanians violated their commitment regarding freedom of access to the holy sites and desecrated the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives

4 The sensitivity of the holy places in Jerusalem caused dispute between the Zionist leaders regarding the destination of the old city: Herzl supported internationalization of the holy places, Weizmann opposed including the Old City of Jerusalem in the Jewish state and Ben-Gurion reached an agreement with Abdallah and divided the city into two separate entities.

5 According to the law "Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel, 1980," which repeated the law for amendment of the order for arrangements of rule and law (No. 11), 5727-1967.

6 Anna Hazzan, The Boundaries of Jurisdiction of Jerusalem 1948-1993. Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1995.

7 Meron Rappoport, Ha'aretz, January 22, 2005. Execution of this decision has been suspended by the attorney-general.

8 Memri special dispatch 858, February 4, 2005.

9 The PPC is the central non-governmental organization on the Palestinian side dedicated to promoting the Geneva Initiative. The PPC is devoted to promoting a strong partnership for a just and lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace through joint activism at the grassroots level, including activities addressing youth, women, professionals, politicians, trade associates, and other civil society institutions. Since its establishment, the PPC has been committed to a program of political education of peace, of public actions to oppose occupation and violence and to build active international support for a peace alternative. The PPC is located in Ramallah.

10 For this purpose, the International Group shall establish a Multinational Presence on the Compound, the composition, structure; mandate and functions of were also designed.


12 As described by a study group on Jerusalem, Peace Settlements for Jerusalem (Teddy Kollek Center for Jerusalem Research, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 2000).

13 See Gilad Sher, Just Beyond Reach: The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations 1999-2002, ed. Rami Tal (Tel Aviv: Yediot Ahronot, 2001), and Shlomo Ben Ami, A Front without a Rearguard: A Voyage to the Boundaries of the Peace Process, ed. Rami Tal (Tel Aviv: Yediot Ahronot, 2004).

14 On the 6th of March a Palestinian from the East Jerusalem attacked the "Yeshivat Merkaz Harav" in the Western city and murdered 8 Yeshiva students. As he was an Israeli citizen, a legal debate began whether his parents are entitled to benefits from the national security office.

15 Shaul Arieli, "Toward a Final Settlement in Jerusalem: Redefinition rather than Partition",

Strategic Assessment, Vol.8, No.1, June 2005

16 Yehuda Greenfeld, Keren Li-Bracha, Aya Shapira, Terminal on Border, Final project in the faculty for architecture and town planning, Technion, Haifa, 2004.


18 Roger Fisher and William Ury (1991). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in. Bruce Patton, editor, Harmondsworth : Penguin, 

19 Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger (1994). The promise of mediation: Responding to conflict through empowerment and recognition. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

20 John Winslade, Gerald Monk and Alisson Cotter (2001), “ A narrative approach to the practice of mediation”, 14 Negot J. (1998) 126.

21 Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger (1994). The promise of mediation: Responding to conflict through empowerment and recognition. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

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