In Malta, discussing Jerusalem

Well, on Thursday I was finally able to get out of Washington… I had a long layover in Munich yesterday and got here to Malta, to the U.N. conference on Palestine, about an hour after the start of the session I was scheduled to speak in… No matter, they were running hopelessly behind schedule, so the session started around 20 minutes after I appeared. I didn’t have time to print out my presentation but delivered it by read it on my laptop. Not ideal, but not too bad, I felt.
Wow. I’m really impressed with the U.N. information system. They already have a press release out about the session I took part in, and you can read there the words I would have delivered in dulcet tones had I not been rushing a little through the end of my presentation on Jerusalem. (I gave them the text on a thumbstick. Must get it back.)
Working on the paper, which I did Wednesday and in the Munich transit lounge yesterday, really helped me think through several things about the Jerusalem Question that have been rattling around inside my head for a while now. I argued there that thinking seriously about how to establish a fair and sustainable governance system in Jerusalem could actually help everyone perform the same task regarding the whole of the area of Mandate Palestine… And numerous people– going back to early work that Naomi Chazan, Rashid Khalidi, and others did ways back in the 1980s, and continuing until today– have done some good, often very fair-minded and visionary work on Jerusalem issues.
Within a two-state model for the whole of Mandate Palestine, Jerusalem could be either divided or shared under some form of a corpus separatum model, and I explored in the paper how we might design a CS 2.0 for Jerusalem that would not have the imperialistic overtones of CS 1.0. Dividing it between the two states would almost certainly be a horrendous process, and could lead to the prolongation of many of the gross inequities of the existing, settler-dominated order things there. (See, for example, the Geneva Initiative’s proposal for how to divide Jerusalem.)
It also would still require a huge amount of coordination between the governments of the two states– something that Mick Dumper underlined in this important recent essay.
Wouldn’t it be better, therefore, to go back to the old CS model and explore how that could work in the two-state context– which was, after all, the context in which the CS idea was first presented, during the Partition Plan of 1947, which remains the UN’s last definitive word on territory and governance issues in the whole of Mandate Palestine.
I note, too, that the EU has recently, slightly tentatively, revived its interest in the CS idea.
So you could look at how to devise a fair, sustainable CS model for Greater Jerusalem in the context of a two state solution… and each of the two states could indeed have its national capital well within the city.
My idea of this is laid out a bit more in my paper. As soon as I’ve cleaned it up a bit, I’ll upload it here for you all to see.
Alternatively, once you’ve done all that work on how to govern Jerusalem, why bother with preserving those other territorial units within Mandate Palestine (the rest of the independent states of Israel and Palestine)? Why not just expand the concept of the shared Jerusalem to the whole area and have one state in it that is equitably shared, accountably governed, and to which everyone with a legitimate claim on the land could return?
… Anyway, those were some of my ideas. I also underlined the perilous, extremely oppressive situation in which Jerusalem’s 260,000 Palestinians are currently forced to live and the hair-trigger nature of the situation in the city, which must be of great concern to the whole world community.

One thought on “In Malta, discussing Jerusalem”

  1. If Israel would tear down their fenced and gaurded condo communities on Palestinian land and remove the check points that are thick as maggots in the West Bank their might be room for a solution. Until then nothing is going to be accomplished about the situation in Jerusalem. Therefore no peace will be found.

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