IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsA Proposal for the Future of Jerusalem’s Old City

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Proposal for the Future of Jerusalem’s Old City

Three former Canadian diplomats with extensive experience in the Middle East have spent six years developing a formula for the passionately contested final status of Jerusalem’s Old City, and on July 13, they came to IPI to present their findings.

The three, Michael Bell, Michael J. Molloy and John Bell, developed the project at the University of Windsor in Ontario and they circulated a 131-page booklet outlining in great detail their proposal, which is known as The Jerusalem Old City Project.

Their study departs from the traditionally heavy focus on sovereignty and explores instead a special regime for Jerusalem whereby governance of the Old City would be overseen a joint body of Israelis and Palestinians and managed by a third party commissioner appointed by the two countries. By definition, it could come into effect only after the adoption of a two-state solution.

Speaking before a projected map of the Old City, each of the three authors talked about the sensitivities of working in the context of competing historical claims to the Old City and the challenge of producing a formula which might gain the support of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Michael J. Molloy: “Our proposal starts out with the idea that the special regime has to come out of the treaty between the two peoples. It can’t be imposed from the outside. It can’t be dropped in by the U.N. or anybody else. It’s gotta’ be organic to their peace process.”

John Bell: “We don’t say a lot about sovereignty and that’s intentional. Our own view, debatable, is that our proposal is sovereignty-neutral, meaning it could be applied under a situation of divided sovereignty of the Old City, deferred sovereignty or no agreement whatsoever. That’s our view. Others have debated us on this. They say that what we’re proposing does have implications and in that sense, very frankly, considering this special regime may not be the first choice of either Israelis or Palestinians. It could be a good fallback should sovereignty prove to be a massively difficult issue as it was in 2000.”

Michael Bell: “It is the holy site for Jews, and nothing’s going to change that just as it is a holy site – a very important holy site for Muslims, and nothing’s going to change that belief, which is deeply embedded in the cultural, social, historic, geopolitical and mystical consciousness of both parties.”

The discussion was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI’s Vice President for External Relations.

 Read transcript

The Global Observatory

As Russia and the West Joust, Ukraine Risks Deeper Divisions and More Violence
The longer this stand-off continues, the greater the risk that divisions will harden into permanent fault-lines and doom Ukraine to a bitter and potentially violent disintegration.

Key Global Events to Watch in April
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

April 05, 2014
IPI Opens Middle East Regional Office
International Peace Institute President Terje Rød-Larsen inaugurated IPI’s new Middle East Regional Office with a recognition of the area’s critical importance to the world and the rapid political changes underway in the countries of the region, and he asserted that IPI has an “important role” to play there.

April 03, 2014
In Horn of Africa, Links Between Disaster, Conflict, and Displacement
What are the links between climate change, conflict, and the displacement of people? A panel of experts discussed this nexus and its implications in the Horn of Africa at the International Peace Institute on April 3rd in an event cosponsored by the Nansen Initiative.

March 26, 2014
Derek Plumbly on Lebanese Resilience Amid Rising Challenges
Lebanon has exceeded expectations in dealing with the continuing fallout from the crisis in neighboring Syria, said Derek Plumbly, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, on March 26th. Speaking at the International Peace Institute, Mr. Plumbly praised the Lebanese people for “actually sustaining a measure of stability in their country.”

View More