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Jerusalem
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1 - Jerusalem Under Oslo
2 - Background
3 - The Israeli Position
4 - The Palestinian Position
5 - During the Interim Period
6 - Proposals


6 - Proposals

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."

More 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.

Israelis 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 management.

As outlined in the published Beilin-Eitan Plan,

Jerusalem, 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.

Other 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.

While 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.

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