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Politics : War

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To: Nadine Carroll who wrote (2923)8/24/2001 6:04:44 AM
From: GUSTAVE JAEGER  Read Replies (1) of 23325
Follow-up to my previous post...

Negotiating Jerusalem:
Towards a Palestinian Agenda

Mick Dumper

Given the history of concessions made by the Palestinian leadership during the course of the Oslo process, most observers of the Camp David summit were surprised by the firm position taken by President Yasser Arafat over the question of Jerusalem. To a large extent the principled nature of his stand on this issue, in contrast to the obfuscation and fudging on the other Final Status issues, were the cause of the hero's welcome he received on his return to Gaza and the Arab world. Whatever other compromises had been made, on this issue Arafat had not consigned the Palestinians to be the people in Arab history who had sold out on Jerusalem.

Recognizing Palestinian Sovereignty and Accommodating Change

In the aftermath of Camp David and amid the recriminations and mutual disappointments, there is an opportunity to have a more considered look at the options available to the Palestinian leadership. First, is there sufficient room for maneuver to allow the Palestinians to re-engage realistically with the Israelis in the peace negotiations and simultaneously to retain their principled position within the Palestinian national consensus on Jerusalem? Second, but more important in terms of the long-term future of the city, how could an agenda be framed which would recognize some of the irrevocable changes that have taken place since 1967 and address the need to establish a sustainable framework which recognizes the challenges of the future? Third, United Nations Resolution 242 basically affirmed a return to the cease-fire lines of 1949 that were not the ideal division of the city by any means. Reifying those lines and divisions in a Final Status agreement would not necessarily create a harmonious environment for a modern city or serve the interests of the inhabitants of the city. A fixation on past borders will not help to consolidate a long-term agreement. Thus a realistic negotiating agenda based upon international legitimacy and a sustainable future would need not only to recognize Palestinian sovereignty in East Jerusalem and the Old City but also accommodate a changed and changing situation.

A national Palestinian consensus on Jerusalem has crystallized around the following components: Jerusalem will be the capital for both Palestinian and Israeli sovereign states within the pre-1967 internationally recognized borders and will be administered by two municipal bodies, one Palestinian and the other Israeli. The two municipalities will co-operate with regard to decision-making, provision of municipal services and infrastructure projects. In addition, there will be an equitable allocation of land use and respect for property rights, freedom of worship and access to Jewish, Islamic and Christian holy sites, and geographic contiguity of Palestinian-held areas of Jerusalem with the north and south West Bank. Finally, Jerusalem will be one city, open to all to circulate, live, and work.
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