Friday, March 12, 2010
Dr. Aaron Lerner
11 March '10
How did the philosopher get out of the pit?
He assumed a ladder and climbed out.
And that's pretty much what people do when they assert that dividing Jerusalem is workable.
Let's make this clear.
It doesn't matter how neat the collection of dotted, hatched and other lines and colored zones may appear on the map.
Nor does it matter what kind of alphabet soup titles you can come up with for the various and sundry international forces to be deployed on the scene.
Or even the dazzling security gizmos included in the plan.
At the end of the day, the moment you allow yourself to go beyond best case assumptions, these schemes all collapse.
The geography is simply too tight and intertwined to support it.
What's the fallback position?
Interesting question: Beyond the rhetoric, does the Palestinian leadership realize that if they stand firm on Jerusalem at the negotiating table they may never reach a deal?
Are the Palestinians going to wager their destiny on international acceptance of a unilaterally declared state with a divided Jerusalem and that that acceptance can ultimately push Israel out? (Hint: there are many important countries that could give a damn about Jerusalem, but have reasons much closer to home not to want the precedent a unilaterally declared state would be),
Or do they have a face saving fallback position?
Can the Palestinian leadership, for example, find a way to develop a strong national pride in their possession of the authority to appoint the Mufti of Jerusalem and pay the salaries of the Waqf on the Temple Mount?
Yes. There are ways down the tree.
And the biggest favor that third parties can do for the Palestinians is to let them know that they are, indeed, up on a tree when it comes to their demands and expectations for Jerusalem.