Overlooking the "Old City" of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Michael C. Hudson, PhD, Professor of Government and International Relations at Georgetown University, in a 2000 essay titled "The Transformation of Jerusalem 1917-2000 AD," published in Jerusalem in History, wrote:
"Clearly there are no simple answers to the Jerusalem problem. Yet the
dangers to the city are too serious to permit it to fester unattended.
The many friends of Jerusalem in the world would be doing a service if
they would promote active and creative discussion about the city's
future. These include those who can speak for the three religions for
whom the city is so holy as well as those who can influence the
policies of the states and political communities directly involved:
Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan and the other Arab states. In the
search for an overall settlement ideas such as shared or dual
sovereignty, cantonization, or even repartition without walls might, if
properly developed, help solve not only the Jerusalem problem but the
The Jewish Peace Lobby, an American Jewish organization which seeks to promote a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in a 2001 article posted on its website titled "JPL & The Violence," wrote:
statement came at a time when others were pulling back from the
Jerusalem issues. Prime Minister Barak, at the time, had proposed an
interim agreement that would put off negotiations on the Temple Mount
(as well as other Jerusalem related issues).
took the position that 'Judaism does not demand exclusive Jewish
sovereignty over this site.' Indeed, the rabbis went further, citing a
passage from Isaiah affirming the Temple Mount as the 'house of prayer
for all nations,' they see the Islamic holy places on the Mount as
partial fulfillment of Isaiah's vision. They sought to allay Muslim
fears by reiterating the long-standing rabbinic view that Jews are not
permitted to visit the Mount in pre-messianic times. The rabbis did not
propose a specific solution to the Temple Mount issue; they sought to
demonstrate that WITHIN JEWISH TRADITION THERE IS A NON-EXCLUSIVIST
PERSPECTIVE WHICH WOULD ALLOW FOR CREATIVE SOLUTIONS."
Thomas A. Idinopulos, Phd, Director of Jewish Studies at
Miami University of Ohio and Marshall J. Breger, Phd, Professor of Law at Columbus School of Law, in an excerpt from their 1998 book titled Jerusalem's Holy Places and the Peace Process, posted on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy website, stated:
"More than sixty proposals for the solution of the Jerusalem problem
have been made since the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, each of which
recommends guarantees for the security of the holy places. Generally,
these proposals can be divided into two groups: those that propose that
Jerusalem should remain undivided under Israeli sovereignty, and those
that propose that the city should be physically or politically
separated under dual or shared Israeli and Palestinian control.
opinion polls show that the Israeli people overwhelmingly favor the
first kind of solution, often with some provision for the political
representation of Arab Jerusalemites and the 'Vaticanization' of the
Muslim sites. The PA's current position falls into the second category:
that Jerusalem be physically undivided but politically separated with
dual or shared sovereignty. Yet the Old City, with its close
neighborhoods and shrines, poses problems under this solution that are
usually met by subproposals giving Jews control over the Jewish
Quarter, Muslims control of the Muslim Quarter, and allowing Christians
to decide between Jewish and Muslim sovereignty. These subproposals in
turn face heavy criticism for their political utopianism.
solutions, which deal solely with the holy places and not questions of
Jerusalem's sovereignty or political determination, are of three sorts.
The first would create an interfaith committee of Muslim, Christian,
and Jewish representatives to administer the holy sites; this solution
is akin to League of Nations and UN proposals first for a special
commission and later for a corpus separatum. The second solution would
devolve control over a religion's holy sites, in a sort of 'functional
internationalization,' to committees comprising members of that faith.
This is easier said than done, however. The third approach would leave
the matter to various international guarantees such as the UN
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Hague
Conventions. As Israel already subscribes to many of these guarantees,
reaffirming its commitment to the protection of the holy places and
their respective religious communities' rights would be both a simple
and unilateral matter."
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) wrote in a 1997 entry titled "Jerusalem -- Proposals," published on its website:
"There have long been attempts to propose a resolution of the issue of
Jerusalem, leading former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisiti
to declare a 'peace plan industry.' Benvenisiti has commented that 'the
reason the problem of Jerusalem has not been resolved is not because of
the lack of theoretical solutions, but because Jerusalem is more than
the sum total of the components that can be dissected in a rational
manner.' Others see Jerusalem as an unresolvable issue, making any
final status agreement unlikely.
There are a number of currently popular proposals regarding a Jerusalem settlement:
Shared or Divided Sovereignty:
In recent months, there have been repeated calls for the 'sharing' of
Jerusalem by church and peace groups. While the exact modalities of
such a 'sharing' are not spelled out, this proposal calls for a
recognition of both Israeli and Palestinian claims on the city.
Opponents of this position argue that 'sharing' is tantamount to
dividing. As former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek points out, shared
sovereignty ends up meaning 'two competing authorities and ultimately
two sets of laws, two rates of customs and taxation, two police forces.
. . .These are an invitation to a boundary and a boundary is an
invitation to a wall.'
blatant is the call for divided sovereignty, in which Palestinians
would be given East Jerusalem, including the Old City, with Israel
retaining West Jerusalem. Issues such as post-1967 Israeli
neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city and religious access to
holy places will be arranged. While this position is consistent with
Palestinian public opinion it is contrary to the Israeli consensus.
Israeli Sovereignty with West Bank Concessions:
In the Allon Plus Plan, Prime Minister Netanyahu calls for an expansion
of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem to include the satellite
communities built since 1967. In return for Palestinian concessions on
Jerusalem, Palestinian sovereignty would be established in Gaza and
'enclaves' in the West Bank.
The Borough System or 'Functional Sovereignty':
This proposal was first initiated by Teddy Kollek through his nearly
three decades as Mayor of Jerusalem. According to this proposal,
greater powers would be given to local neighborhood councils. Thus,
primarily Palestinian neighborhoods would administer their local
matters as would ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.
supportive of this proposal claim it will grant Palestinians greater
power, while ensuring Jerusalem remains under Israel sovereignty. Some
Palestinian supporters see it as an opportunity to strengthen their
presence and institutions in Jerusalem, or even as a consistent
strategy of 'creeping sovereignty.'
Limited Palestinian Sovereignty:
Both the reported Beilin-Abu Mazen Plan and the Beilin-Eitan Plan call
for Israel to retain sovereignty over the current municipality of
Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority would instead establish the
capital of an independent Palestinian state in Abu Dis, a suburb of
Jerusalem. This suburb would be renamed Al-Quds, and would be the site
of the Palestinian parliament. Palestinian-majority neighborhoods in
the eastern part of the city would be granted wide-ranging autonomous
powers. According to reports, in the Beilin-Abu Mazen Plan, the Temple
Mount will be considered extraterritorial, under Palestinian
As outlined in the published Beilin-Eitan Plan:
the capital of Israel, within its existing municipal borders, will be a
single unified city within sovereign Israel. The Palestinians will
recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Israel will recognize
the governing center of the Palestinian entity which will be within the
borders of the entity and outside the existing municipal borders of
Jerusalem. Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem will be
granted special status. Within the framework of the municipal
government the Palestinian residents of Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem
will receive a status that will allow them to share in the
responsibility of the administration of their lives in the city.
similar proposals call for a Palestinian autonomy in Arab neighborhoods
which were not part of pre-1967 municipal Jerusalem, but which were
annexed by Israel in 1980.
there is growing Israeli support for this type of arrangement, it is
unclear if Palestinians would agree to an arrangement in which their
capital is not in municipal Jerusalem, and without the Temple Mount."