Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Jerusalem in International Diplomacy:

The Religious

The Political

The 2000 Camp
  David Summit
  and Its

UN Res. 242
UN Res. 338
PLO Letter on
  Res. 181

Israel Letter on
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Map 2 -
  Distribution of
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Map 4 -
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Jerusalem in International Diplomacy

The 2000 Camp David Summit, the Clinton Plan, and their Aftermath

The Barak Government's Shift on Jerusalem

The July 11-24, 2000, Camp David Summit was the first serious official negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians over Jerusalem. It was also the first time since 1967 that an Israeli prime minister was willing to consider, albeit conditionally, specific proposals for re-dividing Jerusalem. Prime Minister Ehud Barak was elected in May 1999, having committed himself to keeping Jerusalem united.

As late as May 2000, he declared on Jerusalem Day: "Only those who do not understand the depth of the total emotional bond of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, only those who are completely estranged from the vision of the nation, from the poetry of that nation's life, from its faith and from the hope it has cherished for generations -- only persons in that category could possibly entertain the thought that the State of Israel would actually concede even a part of Jerusalem."

Barak's violation of these sort of commitments led to the collapse of his parliamentary coalition and his standing in Israeli public opinion. Additionally, Barak dropped reciprocity from the Oslo process. Just before the convening of Camp David, Interior Minister Natan Sharansky and other ministers of the Barak government in fact resigned, representing three coalition partners (Yisrael B'Aliyah, Shas, and Mafdal), leaving Barak with a minority government. Just after the summit, they were joined by Foreign Minister David Levy.

Most commentators attributed the Camp David Summit's failure to the differences between the parties over Jerusalem, although wide gaps remained over every major issue that was on the negotiating agenda. Nevertheless, Samuel "Sandy" Berger, President Clinton's assistant for national security affairs, insisted that the parties refused to move forward on other Israeli-Palestinian issues before knowing whether their differences over Jerusalem could be resolved.94 In this sense, Camp David was also a diplomatic test of whether the positions of the parties to the Arab-Israel conflict over the issue of Jerusalem could, in fact, be bridged.

Why Barak and Clinton even believed they could bridge the gap over Jerusalem and therefore proceed to such a high-level summit is not completely clear. Many times what was produced in informal back channel academic contacts, like the Beilin-Abu Mazen final status document, was mistakenly assumed to reflect real Palestinian positions. Deceptive reports on Palestinian flexibility heard even from more central PLO officials were not sufficiently authoritative and must have confused Israeli diplomatic judgment. As Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami subsequently noted in retrospect: "We discussed Jerusalem with the Palestinians before Camp David. The thing is that the Palestinian negotiators didn't know what Arafat wanted."95 Clearly, there was a decision to ignore or dismiss many of the past public Palestinian statements on Jerusalem based on UN General Assembly Resolution 181 or claims to western Jerusalem outlined in the previous sections, that were part of the public record.

"Hypothetical" Discussions

The diplomacy over Jerusalem at Camp David was designed so that the parties could consider ideas for solutions without binding themselves to the negotiating record of the talks. At the end of the summit, President Clinton specifically explained that the Camp David Summit was guided by the principle that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." Thus, even if the Israeli delegation found one point of a proposal to be acceptable, Israel did not make any firm commitment by expressing approval of the idea or by not rejecting it out of hand. The entire discussion of issues at Camp David was hypothetical, depending on Palestinian agreement on other matters.

Second, very little at Camp David was put in writing. Instead, the ideas raised in the summit were oral. Israeli position papers were not shared with other delegations but rather kept within the Israeli delegation.96 This served as a further protection against any discussion of proposals as constituting a binding commitment that would later be raised in a future negotiation. Finally, most of the ideas about Jerusalem were raised by the U.S.; Barak tried to keep his direct contact with Arafat to a bare minimum.

Thus, the Jerusalem negotiations at Camp David had three aspects: they were hypothetical (pending agreement in other areas), oral, and conducted through a third party. Together these attributes made Camp David more of a "brainstorming" session than a formal negotiation in which the parties move from paragraph to paragraph until they reach complete agreement. Capturing the dynamics of the summit, Arafat's deputy, Abu Mazen, recalled "in Camp David...the Israelis and Americans were releasing test-balloons regarding solutions to the Jerusalem issues."97 These very same attributes characterized the Israeli-Syrian negotiations in 1994-96, leading the Clinton administration to conclude that negotiations, under such conditions, could not bind either party. President Clinton himself stated on July 25: "under the operating rules that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, they are, of course, not bound by any proposal discussed at the summit."

Barak himself sought to clarify the status of what transpired at Camp David as follows: "Ideas, views and even positions which were raised in the course of the summit are invalid as opening positions in the resumption of negotiations, when they resume. They are null and void" (emphasis added). Realistically, despite the strong legal ground that Barak stood upon, he would have to contend with the possibility that the Palestinians would not be willing to forget the extent of Israel's concessions on Jerusalem at Camp David. The PLO could well follow the Syrian model in negotiations and insist that negotiations resume "from where they left off."

However, members of Barak's government did not act as though the Camp David proposals were removed from the negotiating table. Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami told President Mubarak on August 24: "We are not going back to square one" as he sought to enlist Egyptian help in coming up with a new diplomatic formula for the Old City of Jerusalem. Ben-Ami explained that Israel was interested in setting down in writing a "paper to express what the parties understand is the product of Camp David on some core issues."98 Thus, Barak's negotiating record at Camp David did not legally bind future Israeli governments, but as a matter of policy, he seemed prepared to continue to view Camp David as a basis for future negotiations.

Jerusalem at Camp David

Despite its loose diplomatic style, Camp David was predicated on the assumption, particularly among Israelis and Americans, that the gaps in the positions between the parties on all the issues, particularly Jerusalem, were indeed bridgeable. While the proposals at Camp David were, for the most part, oral, nonetheless, it is possible to discern clear U.S. and Israeli formulae that were considered during the talks. That the Palestinians were not prepared to float a compromise plan of their own is indicative of the fact that they were far less optimistic that the gap over Jerusalem could be bridged. Under such conditions, the Palestinian team was either itself not prepared to compromise or assessed that any flexibility it offered would be "pocketed" by the U.S. and Israel.

The discussions over Jerusalem went through several stages during Camp David. Originally, the Israeli team did not envisage significant Israeli concessions in the core area of Jerusalem, in and around the Old City. Israel had informally floated a trial balloon of conceding only outer neighborhoods, like Shu'afat and Beit Hanina. But in the discussions between Israelis and Palestinians held in Stockholm in the month prior to Camp David, the Israeli team had no mandate to discuss Jerusalem.99 Just before Camp David, Ben-Ami, in fact, suggested postponing the Jerusalem issue for two years, but Arafat refused.100

Even this early stage of Israeli informal concessions would have posed a difficult problem for many Jerusalem residents; those living in the Jewish neighborhoods of Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Ze'ev would have found themselves surrounded by areas of Palestinian sovereignty as their neighborhoods would have become virtual Israeli enclaves within Palestinian-controlled Jerusalem. The Palestinians did not find these kinds of proposals to be at all forthcoming in any case: thus Akram Hanieh noted generally about Israel's various Jerusalem proposals: "Israel was keen on getting rid of the Arab residents of Jerusalem while keeping Palestinian land."101

First Clinton Proposals for Dividing Jerusalem

The real Camp David negotiations over Jerusalem came in the form of U.S. proposals to the parties. The American bridging paper initially contained the following elements:

  • Palestinian sovereignty in the Muslim and Christian Quarters of the Old City.

  • Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish and Armenian Quarters.

  • The Temple Mount area was to remain under Israeli sovereignty with a new concept of "custodianship" for the Palestinians which would be formally granted to them by the UN Security Council and Morocco. There was a second American proposal put forward as well for the Temple Mount. The Palestinians, according to Abu 'Ala, understood this second proposal to mean that sovereignty would be divided "vertically and horizontally": the Palestinians would control everything above the ground, while Israel would have sovereignty over everything underneath the ground. The U.S. was willing to entertain an Israeli request for a Jewish place of prayer on the Temple Mount itself. Arafat would obtain a headquarters, or a "sovereign presidential compound" (according to one version), inside the Waqf compound on the Temple Mount, access to which would be assured without any Israeli checkpoints through a tunnel, bridge, or a special road from Abu Dis.102

  • The outer Palestinian neighborhoods like Shuafat and Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem would be put under Palestinian sovereignty, while the inner neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarah, the area of Salah ad-Din Street, Wadi Joz, Silwan, and Ras al-Amud, around the Old City, would only be under functional Palestinian control within the framework of Israeli sovereignty. The Palestinians understood this to mean local self-rule in these areas.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak did not accept the U.S. proposals straight out, but was willing to consider them as a basis for negotiation, if Yasser Arafat would do the same.103 Thus, while Barak did not legally bind the State of Israel by formally accepting the Clinton proposals, by not rejecting them out of hand he placed himself in a position of being the first Israeli prime minister since 1967 to be politically willing to divide Jerusalem. Barak, however, made clear that he insisted on preserving Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount.104 This conditional approach by Barak essentially placed the burden of acceptance or refusal of the proposals on the Palestinians; that President Clinton considered Barak's response as adequate, without pushing any further for an unconditional Israeli acceptance, prior to turning to Arafat, meant that Washington, in some sense, helped Israel avoid any responsibility for Camp David's failure.

Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami articulated a vision for the Old City that was very different from the U.S. proposals: "a special regime in the Old City is what we should try to build. Since we have a two-kilometer square, this is the Old City and full of holy sites -- Muslim, Christian, Jewish -- populations that mingle in the Jewish Quarter, you have Jews in the Muslim Quarter. You have Jews and Muslims in the Armenian Quarter. Half of it is Jewish. So to divide sovereignty in such a limited space is ridiculous."105 Clearly, Barak's willingness "to consider" U.S. proposals did not mean that the Israeli government accepted them.

The Barak government continued to seek new formulae for resolving the Jerusalem issue, after Camp David, as well. These efforts included proposals for "Divine sovereignty" as a solution to the Temple Mount. Despite U.S. and Egyptian mediation efforts in these post-Camp David negotiations, none of these proposals managed to close the gap between Israel and the PLO.

Palestinian Reactions to Camp David

Yasser Arafat rejected the U.S. proposals for Jerusalem. He argued before President Clinton that no Palestinian could concede Jerusalem, and more specifically he insisted upon the Arab interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 242: "I want a peace based on the implementation of Resolution 242, as it was implemented on the Egyptian and Jordanian fronts. The Resolution must be implemented in full on the Palestinian territories....Why did you not ask Egypt during Camp David '78 to give up an inch of Sinai?" Arafat also used Islamic argumentation before American negotiators: "Jerusalem is not a Palestinian city only, it is an Arab, Islamic, and Christian one. If I am going to take a decision on Jerusalem, I have to consult with the Sunnis and the Shiites and all Arab countries." Finally, Arafat denied core Jewish claims in Jerusalem, even insisting before U.S. officials that there never were Jewish temples on the Temple Mount.106

Arafat's post-summit comments on the negotiations revealed the bottom line of the Palestinian position on Jerusalem: the PLO's demands for sovereignty "not only refer to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Temple Mount mosques, and the Armenian Quarter, but it is Jerusalem in its entirety, entirety, entirety."107 Arafat's claims extended to the Western Wall: "The British Mandate administration stated as early as 1929 that the Western Wall is the Al-Buraq Wall and that it is considered a Muslim religious endowment (waqf) to which Palestinians hold historic rights."108 Arafat repeated his claim to the Western Wall, to which he would give the Jews access, during an interview with NHK, the Japanese News Agency, in Tokyo after the Camp David Summit: "I have offered them free access to pray at the Western Wall...they will have an open corridor to reach the Western Wall."109

This was also the position of Faysal al-Husseini who indicated that the Palestinians wanted full control of all four quarters of the Old City, but would allow "some sort of arrangement" with Israel regarding the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall.110 The Palestinian Authority Mufti, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, reinforced this point about Palestinian ownership of the Western Wall: "Arafat can tell them (the Israelis): 'Give me sovereignty over Jerusalem, and I will make it possible for you to reach the Al-Buraq Wall and pray there. I promise you freedom of worship.' [However] granting free access to the Wall does not mean that the Wall will belong to them. The Wall is ours."111

These sorts of Palestinian assertions were widespread. Even more moderate voices adhered to this position. Palestinian Legislative Council member Ziad Abu Ziad stated: "My comment to you was that the (international) committee determined that the wall was part of the mosque and was thus Waqf property."112 Hasan Asfour, one of the young key Palestinian negotiators who accompanied the Oslo process since 1993, also stated: "With regard to the Al-Buraq Wall, which the Jews call the Wailing Wall, the Israelis were told that the Palestinians do not object to free worship by Jews at this site. But, the Israelis must realize that this is a Palestinian concession. They should not view this as a right. It is a Palestinian concession. This is so because the British-Jewish agreement of 1929 gave Jews the right to worship there based on the premise that the Al-Buraq Wall is an Islamic waqf."113

Abu Mazen used the same argumentation: "[W]e agreed that they could pray next to the Wall, without acknowledging any Israeli sovereignty over it. We relied on the resolution of Britain's 1930 Shaw Commission. The Commission acknowledged that the Wall belongs to the Muslim Waqf, while the Jews are allowed to pray by it as long as they do not use the Shofar." Abu Mazen also rejected the subsequent proposals for Divine sovereignty over the Temple Mount.114 Speaking on Palestinian television, Abu Mazen was very clear on this point: "We don't agree to UN sovereignty in Jerusalem or Islamic sovereignty. Sovereignty can only be Palestinian. There is no place for dividing sovereignty and there is even no place for Divine sovereignty. Any agreement requires recognition of our sovereignty."115

In the aftermath of Camp David there was also evidence that the Palestinians retained residual claims to the western side of Jerusalem, as well. Birzeit University conducted a public opinion poll during November 2000 on the issue of Jerusalem and the peace process. When asked "if East Jerusalem comes under Palestinian sovereignty, will you accept Israeli sovereignty over West Jerusalem?," 74.3 percent of respondents replied in the negative (21.1 percent said yes, while 4.6 percent were not sure).116 Reflecting this view, Faysal al-Husseini proposed his own modified post-Camp David proposals for the "land swap" concept raised at the summit. Instead of agreeing to Israeli annexation of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem on the basis of a land swap with Israeli territory in the Negev, Husseini insisted that the land swap be made on the basis of exchanging East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods for land in West Jerusalem that was occupied by Palestinians prior to 1948.117

What is significant in all these statements is that the rejection of the Clinton proposals at Camp David was not confined to Yasser Arafat alone, but rather was widespread. Arafat's deputy, Abu Mazen, was no less forceful in asserting Palestinian claims right up to and including the Western Wall. Moreover, this firm Palestinian position extended beyond the PLO leadership from Tunis to the local Palestinian leadership, as well. Nor were these positions confined to the "older generation" of Palestinian leaders.118 It would thus be an error to assume that in a post-Arafat era, Palestinian positions might significantly change on the Jerusalem question.

Even Ben-Ami, who sensed a greater flexibility in negotiating positions from the younger Palestinians at Camp David, like Arafat's economic advisor, Muhammad Rashid, and the head of Preventive Security in Gaza, Muhammad Dahlan, cautioned in this regard: "I would caution against the illusion that when there is a sharp transition from Arafat to post-Arafat, the (Palestinian) mythological rules will be broken. For there to be legitimacy there needs to be continuity. Those who come after Arafat will want to build their positions on the basis of their being his successors."119

The Palestinian position on Jerusalem was not always identical to that of all Arab and Islamic states, which stressed Islamic holy sites more than the strict implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 or the line of June 4, 1967. For example, after a meeting of the Jerusalem Committee of the Islamic Conference, Egyptian President Husni Mubarak told Le Figaro: "I think the Western Wall adjacent to the Haram can be left to the Israelis along with the Jewish Quarter." The Palestinians disagreed and tried diplomatically to explain the differences between Egyptian and Palestinian policy on Jerusalem; they clarified that Mubarak did not negate their demand for full sovereignty over all of East Jerusalem, but only reiterated Arafat's offer of free access to the Western Wall.120 This disagreement highlighted the Palestinian demand for sovereignty over the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall.

The Palestinians Initiate the Al-Aqsa Intifada

The results of the Camp David Summit posed a serious problem for Yasser Arafat. Barak's conditional acceptance of the Clinton proposals juxtaposed against Arafat's total rejection of the American plan created a strong impression in the international community that the Palestinians were responsible for the failure of Camp David. As a result, as Arafat, after Camp David, sought international support for a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, he discovered that major powers in the international system, including France, were not prepared to assure him that they would recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state. Realizing the need to reverse international sympathy away from Israel, back to the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority began preparing for a renewal of violence against Israel, which would put supposedly unarmed civilians against armed Israeli soldiers -- like the Intifada of 1987.

While foreign commentators associated the outbreak of what the Palestinians called the Al-Aqsa Intifada with the visit of Likud Party Chairman MK Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount on September 28, 2000, the Palestinians have clearly linked the outbreak of the violence to preparations made weeks earlier. Thus, the Palestinian Minister of Communications, Imad al-Faluji, stated in the official Palestinian Authority daily, Al-Ayyam, on December 5, 2000, that plans for the outbreak of the current intifada began the moment the Palestinian delegation returned from Camp David, at the request of Yasser Arafat.

Speaking at the 'Ein Al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon during late February 2001, Faluji was even more explicit: "Whoever thinks that the intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong....This intifada was planned in advance."121 Arafat's advisor for strategic affairs, Hani al-Hassan, who was also a member of the PLO Central Committee, admitted: "The present intifada enabled the Palestinians to change the old rules of the game, and thwarted Barak's attempt to place responsibility for the stalemate in the peace process [on the Palestinians]."122

Already in August 2000, the Palestinian Justice Minister, Freih Abu Middein, confided to another Palestinian Authority daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, that "violence is near and the Palestinian people are willing to sacrifice even 5,000 casualties."123 Clearly, leading Palestinian officials were expressing their awareness that some kind of major public disorders were about to erupt. The Palestinian Authority Police Commander echoed this awareness as well, stating: "The Palestinian Police will be leading together with all other noble sons of the Palestinian people, when the hour of confrontation arrives."124 This was stated at least six weeks before Sharon's Temple Mount visit. The actual outburst began a day earlier when an Israeli soldier was killed by a roadside bomb at Netzarim junction, in the Gaza Strip, followed by an attack by a Palestinian police officer on his Israeli counterpart during their joint patrol in Kalkilya.

The outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada should have frozen the post-Camp David negotiations over Jerusalem. After all, fundamental assumptions of the entire Oslo process, that had begun in 1993, were put in doubt. First, the idea that Jewish holy sites might be protected by the Palestinian Authority was shattered. Under Oslo, Jewish holy sites had begun to be transferred to Palestinian territorial jurisdiction. Yet at the outset of the riots, Jewish holy sites came under repeated armed assault.

On September 29, 2000, the Western Wall became the target of a rock throwing mob who hurled stones from the Temple Mount, in the presence of Palestinian Authority religious and security officials. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, large crowds of Jewish worshippers had to be evacuated from the Western Wall area. The Palestinian mob had been incited by the sermon given by Sheikh Hian al-Adrisi at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, who declared: "It is not a mistake that the Koran warns us of the hatred of the Jews and put them at the top of the list of the enemies of Islam....The Muslims are ready to sacrifice their lives and blood to protect the Islamic nature of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa."125

In Nablus, Joseph's Tomb came under constant gunfire and was eventually sacked and burned by Palestinian mobs after it was finally evacuated by Israel on October 7, 2000. Palestinian authorities made preparations to convert the tomb into a mosque. At the Jerusalem-Bethlehem border, Rachel's Tomb came under repeated Palestinian sniper attack. Finally, on October 12, 2000, the ancient Shalom Al Yisrael synagogue in Jericho was attacked by Palestinians as well. After the synagogue was sacked, many of its holy books and relics were publicly burned.

The attack on Jewish holy sites reflected a general refusal on the part of the Palestinian Authority leadership to acknowledge the Jewish attachment to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and other religious sites. As already noted, this came out explicitly during the Camp David Summit. But on the ground it was expressed in another way. The Waqf had been eroding Israeli authority on the Temple Mount since September 1996, when Israel Antiquities Authority supervisors were first expelled. But it was at the end of September 2000 that these archeological supervisors were completely prevented from returning to oversee the Waqf's construction efforts which included the completion of two huge underground mosques. Some 13,000 tons of rubble from the First and Second Temple periods, containing archeological artifacts, were removed by the Waqf in hundreds of trucks and dumped in various waste sites in the Jerusalem area.

In March 2001, it was reported that the Waqf had brought a heavy stone-cutter onto the Temple Mount and was cutting stones from ancient structures.126 The Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority stated: "I can categorically state in an unequivocal manner that there is archeological damage being done to antiquities on the Temple Mount."127 The Waqf showed no regard for the damage it caused to the remains of the ancient Hebrew heritage on the Temple Mount, making its behavior similar to the Taliban attacks against the pre-Islamic Buddhist presence in the Bamian Valley of Afghanistan in 2001, rather than resembling the occasionally more tolerant attitudes toward the Jewish presence in Jerusalem demonstrated by some of Jerusalem's earlier Islamic rulers.

Second, on the security level, the Al-Aqsa Intifada exposed further basic weaknesses in the original Oslo arrangements. Since the implementation of Oslo II in early 1996, Gilo had been the only population center inside of municipal Jerusalem which was a few hundred meters (and hence within automatic rifle range) from Area A, where the Palestinians exercised exclusive security control (and hence excluded an Israeli security presence). Exploiting their immunity from Israeli ground movements, Palestinian units, chiefly belonging to the Fatah Tanzim militia, regularly opened fire on Gilo from positions in Beit Jalla during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Israel responded with counter-fire from Gilo to Beit Jalla, but did not patrol or set up its own positions in Beit Jalla to prevent the town's infiltration by Tanzim snipers.

A similar situation could have evolved from Abu Dis toward the Mount of Olives and the Old City. In May 2000, the Barak government authorized the transfer of Abu Dis from Area B status to Area A; it nonetheless made the transfer conditional upon the disarming of the Tanzim, which the Palestinian Authority failed to implement. Thus, the Israel Defense Forces retained their freedom of action in Abu Dis, unlike the situation in Beit Jalla. The Israeli experience with Palestinian Authority behavior with respect to Jewish holy sites and regarding the overall security situation only reinforced a deep sense of mistrust toward any peace arrangements that placed historic elements of the national Jewish heritage in Palestinian hands and increased Israeli vulnerability to the PLO any further.

The Clinton Plan for Jerusalem

These experiences did not alter the determination of the Barak government to go forward with its post-Camp David diplomacy, including consideration of new American proposals for Jerusalem that were more forthcoming for the Palestinians than what was proposed at Camp David. On December 23, 2000, President Clinton met with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in the White House and read aloud the new American plan for Jerusalem. Just like at Camp David, Clinton did not present his proposals in writing. Moreover, U.S. officials came to refer to the plan as the "Clinton Parameters," indicating that the proposals only sought to set out roughly the expected outlines of a settlement; clearly, further negotiation between the parties was envisioned to produce a detailed agreement. Significantly, according to notes taken by Giddi Grinstein, who worked for Israeli negotiator Gilad Sher, the oral presentation made by Clinton was to be regarded as "the ideas of the President." And if the ideas were not accepted, Clinton stated, "they are not just off the table; they go with the President as he leaves office."128 Clinton's proposals could be summarized as follows:

Division of Sovereignty in Jerusalem

The "general principle" put forward was that "Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish areas are Israeli." This principle of assigning sovereignty was to be applied to the Old City, as well. Clinton urged both sides "to create maximal contiguity." This new Clinton proposal was even more favorable to the PLO than the earlier Camp David ideas, since it transferred Palestinian residential areas in the inner neighborhoods around the Old City to full Palestinian sovereignty instead of just giving the Palestinians functional powers in the framework of Israeli sovereignty.

Temple Mount

The Clinton proposals contained several alternative solutions for the Temple Mount:

  1. Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount and Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall "and the space sacred to Judaism of which it is a part," or Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall "and the Holy of Holies of which it is a part." This proposal would also contain a firm commitment by both sides not to excavate beneath the Temple Mount or behind the Western Wall.

  2. Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount and Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall and "shared functional sovereignty over the issue of excavation," requiring the mutual consent of the parties before any excavation could take place. This second alternative eliminates the idea of Israeli subterranean sovereignty on the Temple Mount that was advanced at Camp David.

Clinton's final summary of his Jerusalem proposal was presented publicly in his parting address to the Israel Policy Forum on January 7, 2001: "First, Jerusalem shall be an open and undivided city, with assured freedom of access and worship for all. It should encompass the internationally recognized capitals of two states, Israel and Palestine. Second, what is Arab should be Palestinian, for why would Israel want to govern, in perpetuity, the lives of hundreds and thousands of Palestinians? Third, what is Jewish should be Israeli. That would give rise to a Jewish Jerusalem larger and more vibrant than any in history."

Risks to Israeli National Security

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians fully accepted the Clinton Plan; indeed, the Palestinian position was closer to outright rejection. The Israeli cabinet conditioned its acceptance of the proposals upon their acceptance by the PLO; moreover, the Israeli government prepared a list of reservations regarding the details of the Clinton Plan. As the Israeli head negotiator, Gilad Sher, noted: "Israel was willing to explore these ideas as a basis for further negotiations, but the Palestinians gave their so-called 'positive' answer, which was negative for all intents and purposes."129

No less significant than the official Israeli response was the reaction of the heads of Israel's security establishment to the Clinton proposals. The Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. General Shaul Mofaz, severely criticized the Clinton Plan as a virtual disaster for Israel, before the Israeli cabinet: "The Clinton bridging proposal is inconsistent with Israel's security interests and, if it will be accepted, it will threaten the security of the state" (emphasis added).130 With respect to its Jerusalem component, Mofaz added: "The proposed plan will turn Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem into enclaves within Palestinian sovereignty that will be difficult to defend."131 Avi Dichter, the head of Israel's General Security Services (GSS), was concerned about how the Clinton Plan would address the problem of terrorism in light of the situation that had emerged whereby Palestinian security services, that were supposed to fight terrorism, were now engaged in terrorism themselves.

There was a further fundamental problem that the Clinton Plan for Jerusalem created for Israel's overall national security. The plan was based on Palestinian sovereignty over Palestinian-populated areas in Jerusalem and keeping Jerusalem undivided. Yet conceivably, a Palestinian resident of a Palestinian state could move freely from the West Bank to a Palestinian sovereign section of Jerusalem. From a Palestinian neighborhood, that same individual could cross into an Israeli Jerusalem neighborhood (and then into Israel) since no border checks were to be introduced into the heart of Jerusalem itself. In other words, the Clinton Plan would have created a gaping hole in the separation of Israel from a West Bank Palestinian state, through which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians could move in order to take up residence in Israel. Given the relatively high Israeli per-capita GNP (in comparison with the Palestinians) and the Palestinian ideological determination to exercise some "right of return," the Clinton Plan arrangements for Jerusalem could pose a demographic threat to Israel that could only be alleviated by placing border controls in the heart of Jerusalem, and thus dividing the city.

Palestinian Reservations

The Palestinians had their own forceful argumentation against the Clinton Plan that they presented in the form of a letter from Arafat to Clinton:

We seek, through this letter, to explain why the latest American proposals, that were presented without any clarifications, do not meet the required conditions for a lasting peace. In their present form, the American proposals may lead to the following: 1) partitioning the Palestinian state into three different cantons connected by roads either for Jews only or for Arab [sic] only. These roads will also divide the cantons which may jeopardize the viability of this state; 2) partitioning Palestinian Jerusalem into several islands detached from one another as well as from the Palestinian state [emphasis added]; 3) forcing the Palestinians to concede the refugees' right of return.132

The Palestinian critique of the Clinton Plan included the formulae proposed for the Temple Mount: "it seems that the American proposal recognizes, in essence, the Israeli sovereignty underneath the Haram (al-Sharif), since it implies that Israel has the right to excavate behind the Wall (which is the same area underneath the Haram), but it voluntarily concede [sic] this right."133 Implicit in this Palestinian objection is a residual claim to the Western Wall, itself, which the PLO leadership, in fact, voiced after Camp David. Clearly, the Palestinians were concerned that Israeli sovereignty over the Wall would lead to Israeli sovereignty behind the Wall and hence subterranean Israeli sovereignty under the Temple Mount plaza. This would be consistent with the PLO claim, according to the 1930 Shaw Commission from the period of the British Mandate, that the Western Wall is an integral part of the Temple Mount.

The last chapter of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations during the Barak period took place in Taba, Egypt, during the latter part of January 2001. Unlike the Camp David Summit and the Clinton Plan, the Taba negotiations were mostly bilateral, with only a low-level American diplomatic presence. Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami heralded the Taba talks as producing a near breakthrough toward an Israeli-Palestinian agreement: "We have never been closer to an agreement." Yet Ben-Ami's Palestinian counterpart, Abu 'Ala, had exactly the opposite assessment of the marathon talks: "there has never before been a clearer gap in the positions of the two sides."134

Abu 'Ala appeared to present a more accurate version of Taba. The Palestinian line appeared to have hardened on the issue of settlement blocs. Israeli negotiators tested with the Palestinians the idea of creating a special international regime for the "Holy Basin" -- an area including the Old City and some areas outside the walls including the Mt. of Olives cemetery. The Palestinians rejected the proposal, insisting on Palestinian sovereignty instead.135

Lessons for the Future

It is important to carefully analyze the failure of the Camp David diplomacy over Jerusalem in order to draw lessons for future diplomatic initiatives, especially by Israel or the U.S.:

1. Unbridgeable Gaps Between Israel and the Palestinians

Despite the unprecedented concessions offered by Prime Minister Ehud Barak regarding Jerusalem, especially in comparison with every preceding Israeli prime minister since 1967, the PLO did not offer any corresponding readiness to compromise on territorial matters. Generally, Yasser Arafat insisted on receiving 100 percent of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. He was only willing to concede land in these territories if he received equivalent compensation, in terms of a land swap, from unpopulated territories inside of pre-1967 Israel, like the Halutza area of the Negev.

It was not even clear whether the land swap concept, based on the Halutza area, could be applied to Jerusalem at all. Official Palestinian statements indicated little or no willingness to compromise on land inside the Old City of Jerusalem; residual Palestinian claims to sovereignty in the Jewish Quarter and even with respect to the Western Wall were repeatedly voiced in the post-Camp David period. There were also Palestinian voices that sought special land swaps for Jerusalem, utilizing land in the western side of the city in exchange for Israeli populated areas in East Jerusalem. Finally, while Barak was willing to forgo exclusive Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, albeit stipulating that he would not accept exclusive Palestinian sovereignty, the PLO would accept no alternatives to Palestinian sovereignty, period.

The Taba negotiations illustrated the problem Israeli negotiators had in reading Palestinian positions. Foreign Minister Ben-Ami asserted that the parties "had never been closer to an agreement." Yet the Palestinians presented a completely contradictory assessment; Saeb Ereqat said that Taba "emphasized the size of the gap between the positions of the two sides."136 It appeared that throughout the negotiating process from Camp David to Taba, Israeli and American assessments of the Palestinians were based more on wishful thinking than on hard analysis.

Part of the problem of bridging the gap between Israel and the PLO over the issue of Jerusalem, or over any final status issue, for that matter, could be the result of a far more fundamental problem with the PLO's approach to peace negotiations that became more evident during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Leading Palestinian spokesmen revealed that they ultimately had no intention of ever reaching a final peace with Israel. Thus, Yasser Abd Rabbo, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Information, confessed on a television program broadcast on November 17, 2000, on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network that "there is a consensus among Palestinians that the direct goal is to reach the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the June 4, 1967, borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, [but] regarding to the future after that, it is best to leave the issue aside and not to discuss it."137

In a similar spirit, Faysal al-Husseini, the Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs who has been associated with relatively moderate political views, addressed a forum of Arab lawyers in Beirut where he asserted:

There is a difference between the strategic goal of the Palestinian people, who are not willing to give up even one grain of Palestinian soil and the political [tactical] effort that has to do with the [present] balance of power and with the nature of the present international system. The latter is a different effort from the former. We may lose or win [tactically] but our eyes will continue to aspire to the strategic goal, namely, to Palestine from the river to the sea. Whatever we get now cannot make us forget this supreme truth.138

A month earlier, Salim Za'anun, the Chairman of the Palestine National Council, stated in an official PA newspaper that the PLO Covenant calling for Israel's destruction was never changed and, hence, remained in force.139

Of course, these statements could be the product of the heated political environment created by the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Yet, throughout the post-1993 Oslo period, there was considerable evidence that the PLO leadership's ambitions extended beyond any arrangements within the 1967 lines, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 242, and extended into Israel itself. Arafat referred to the original Oslo Agreement as another Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which was a temporary truce from the time of Muhammad.140 The repeated references of PLO spokesmen in 1998-99, including at the United Nations, to UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 as a territorial basis for a peace settlement further indicates Palestinian ambitions well beyond the West Bank and Gaza Strip alone. If these hard-line positions were the true bottom line of PLO negotiators, then no diplomatic initiative could close the gap between the parties.

Finally, Barak's readiness to consider American proposals for the re-division of Jerusalem were not even acceptable to the general Israeli public. Thus, even if the PLO unconditionally had accepted the Clinton Plan, which it did not, it is far from clear that the plan would be approved in a national referendum of Israelis. On January 8, 2001, nearly 400,000 Israelis protested against these proposed concessions outside of the walls of Jerusalem's Old City. Diaspora Jewry joined the protest; the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ronald S. Lauder, actually spoke to the demonstrators -- his attendance was approved by a majority of American Jewish organizations (by a 14 to 9 vote), but because Conference decisions required unanimity, he appeared only in a personal capacity. The heads of the Israeli security establishment, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Shaul Mofaz and GSS head Avi Dichter, pointed out serious security deficiencies with the Clinton Plan. Finally, Israel's chief rabbis ruled that Israel must retain its own sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

Additionally, it is important to recall that the Al-Aqsa Intifada actually began when a Palestinian police officer shot and killed his Israeli counterpart in a joint patrol in Kalkilya; Israeli readiness to experiment with joint patrols in the sensitive Old City of Jerusalem was limited, at best. The deteriorating security situation, including Palestinian sniper attacks on Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, assaults on holy sites, and the damage caused to ancient Jewish archeological artifacts, only reinforced the view that Jerusalem must remain united, under Israeli sovereignty and effective control.

2. The Non-Binding Nature of the Camp David and Post-Camp David Discussions

In international legal terms, the only diplomatic activity that can legally bind the State of Israel is a signed international agreement that is ratified, in accordance with past Israeli practice, by the Knesset. Nonetheless, in the past there have been efforts, at least, to politically bind the State of Israel to the negotiating record of even failed peace talks. In 1996, for example, Syria insisted on resuming negotiations with Israel "from the point where negotiations broke off," ignoring the change in Israeli government policy that transpired after the May 1996 elections; both the U.S. and Israel rejected this Syrian policy in September 1996. A similar Palestinian effort cannot be ruled out in the future that would be intended to lock in the concessions of the Barak government to the Camp David negotiating record without committing the PLO to any corresponding concessions.

Yet the entire pattern of Camp David diplomacy was designed to preclude this sort of diplomatic course of action. As noted above, President Clinton himself summarized the negotiations on July 25 by re-stating the guiding rule of the summit, that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." Thus, there could be no locking-in of Israeli concessions on Jerusalem without locking in concessions in every field: borders, refugees, security arrangements, etc. For that reason, Clinton concluded in a public declaration that the parties were "not bound by my proposal at the summit."

Even in the post-Camp David diplomacy, these principles were preserved. Thus, when the Clinton Plan was presented to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on December 23, President Clinton himself stated that these were his ideas and that "they go with the President as he leaves office." The U.S. Peace Coordinator, Dennis Ross, repeated this principle in an interview on January 19, 2001: "The President's ideas leave [the White House] with the President."141 Thus, Ross concluded that "the new administration is not obligated in any way, shape, or form by these ideas."

After the landslide victory of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the February 6, 2001, elections, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrote a letter to President George W. Bush stating that the ideas raised with the Palestinians for a peace settlement during his term in office would not obligate his successor.142 Secretary of State Colin Powell confirmed that this was the U.S. understanding of the legal status of Israel's past proposals on Jerusalem: "Prime Minister Barak, who is still acting prime minister, the caretaker prime minister until Mr. Sharon forms a government, has pulled those concessions off the table."143 In summary, neither the Camp David Summit, nor the failed Clinton Plan, nor Taba legally or politically obligated successive U.S. or Israeli governments in the future. Thus, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could declare at the annual American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference on March 19, 2001, that "Jerusalem will remain united under the sovereignty of Israel forever."

3. The Cost of Failed Negotiations

Both the U.S. and Israel incorrectly assumed that the diplomatic gap between Israel and the PLO over the subject of Jerusalem could be bridged. This was largely due to a misreading of the Palestinian position on Jerusalem. Flexible utterances in academic back channels or in private conversations with Arafat aides did not stand the test of real negotiations. It could be asserted that at least the real positions of the parties are now known and that nothing was lost in trying to reach a final peace settlement that included a resolution of Israeli-Palestinian differences over Jerusalem. However, this kind of assertion would be wrong.

The failed negotiations over Jerusalem led to violence that the Palestinians intentionally chose to call the Al-Aqsa Intifada, for good reasons. Since 1929, the struggle over Jerusalem has always been a convenient vehicle for mobilizing the Palestinian populace, as well as the Arab and Islamic worlds, more generally. This has been especially true of any struggle over the Temple Mount. A failed negotiation over Jerusalem can thus potentially convert an Israeli-Palestinian national struggle over land and boundaries into an inter-religious struggle with region-wide implications.

Both Israel and the U.S. paid a price for this development. In times of war, intelligence errors can be costly; the same is true for errors in diplomacy, as well. Egypt recalled its ambassador from Israel as a result of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, while Jordan failed to send its ambassador back to Israel. Israeli relations with North Africa and the Gulf states were frozen. U.S. officials discerned a deepening rage in large parts of the Arab world, that even led to demonstrations in places like Oman and Saudi Arabia, where political activism in the streets was previously very limited. It is probable that while the compromises on Jerusalem in the Clinton Plan that were demanded of Israel were unacceptable to most Israelis, nonetheless, the American compromises demanded of the PLO were not popular in the Arab world, either.

There are two courses of action that should be pursued by Israel and the U.S. in the period ahead. First, it is clear that a completed final status negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians is premature at this time. Israel and the PLO would be better advised to focus on areas where they can reach agreement: meaning a new, long-term, interim understanding that sets aside the explosive issue of Jerusalem for the future.

The new Bush administration, which is interested in restoring U.S. relations in the Gulf, in part, in order to better deal with Iraq, can become deeply engaged in the issue of Jerusalem, like the Clinton administration. But such involvement could easily lead to demands for a policy of "linkage" in many Arabian Gulf states: the price for a more robust containment bloc against Iraq might become linked to impossible Israeli concessions on Jerusalem that cannot be delivered.

A better approach would entail creating a "firewall" between the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the Gulf, by keeping the issues in both sub-regions of the Middle East apart. During the last year of the Reagan administration, the U.S. Navy substantially enhanced its presence in the Persian Gulf as its ships convoyed re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers. At just about this time the first Palestinian Intifada broke out, yet the Gulf states did not make their own protection by U.S. forces dependent on the Palestinian issue. This model is still relevant for 2001. The question of Jerusalem should not be tied to the overall bilateral relations between the U.S. and each of its Arab partners. In exchange, Arab states should not be pressured by the U.S. to approve specific proposals in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations or to provide political cover for concessions that the U.S. or Israel may ask of the Palestinians.


  1. Faysal al-Husseini spoke on June 16, 1999, at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington, D.C. He stated: "You can't say that Jerusalem is Abu Dis or that Abu Dis is Jerusalem....When we're talking about Jerusalem, its center is the Old City. From there we must find a solution (emphasis added)." See Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine web site: For Abu 'Ala, see "Symbols, Semantic Key to Jerusalem Compromise" by Savi Bashi, Associated Press, January 31, 2000.

  2. Israel Kimchi, Shalom Reichman, and Joseph Schweid, The Metropolitan Area of Jerusalem (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1984), pp. 8-9.

  3. In 1845, more than a half century before the first Zionist Congress set out the territorial aims of political Zionism, the Prussian Consul General in Jerusalem, Dr. Schultze, estimated that there were 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims, and 3,390 Christians in the city. From that moment, the Jews were to remain the largest single religious community. Their numerical dominance increased, despite periods of first Turkish and then British restrictions on their entry into Palestine. Two years after Dr. Schultze's estimate, a British visitor, Dr. John Kitto, wrote in his book, Modern Jerusalem: "Although we are much in the habit of regarding Jerusalem as a Muslim city, the Moslems do not actually constitute more than one-third of the entire population."
      ...On April 15, 1854, The New York Daily Tribune ran an article that declared: "The sedentary population of Jerusalem numbers about 15,500 souls, of whom 4,000 are Musulmans and 8,000 Jews." The author of the article was Karl Marx.
      ...In the last decade of the nineteenth century, the influx (of) Ashkenazi Jews, especially from Tsarist Russia, raised the Jewish population to more than 28,000 in 1896. At the same time the Christian Arabs and the Muslim Arabs each numbered less than 9,000....By 1914 the Jewish population had reached 45,000 out of 65,000. Only the coming of the First World War halted the continuing demographic dominance of the Jews, many of whom were expelled to Egypt or deported to Turkey.

    (All of the above are from Martin Gilbert, "Jerusalem: A Tale of One City," The New Republic, November 14, 1994. A French source, Father Abbe J.J. Bourasse, estimated in the late 1850s that the Jewish population in Jerusalem numbered 7,000 out of a total population of 15,000 (5,000 Muslims and 2,500 Christians). See David S. Landes, "Palestine before the Zionists," Commentary, vol. 61, no. 2 (February 1976), p. 51.

  4. Estimates of the British Consul, Noel Temple More, in 1864, see Martin Gilbert, Jerusalem: Illustrated History Atlas (Jerusalem: Steimatsky Publishers, 1994), p. 47.

  5. See Terence C.F. Prittie, "Jerusalem Under the Mandate" and Lottie K. Davis, "First Americans in Jerusalem" in Alice L. Eckardt, ed., Jerusalem: City of the Ages (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1987).

  6. Jerusalem Post, November 1, 1994.

  7. Jerusalem Post, September 27, 2000, citing the 1999 Statistical Yearbook for Jerusalem, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

  8. Israel Kimhi, Arab Building in Jerusalem 1967-1997 (Boston: CAMERA, 1997), p. 38.

  9. In a viciously anti-Turkish pamphlet, for example, Arnold J. Toynbee argued in 1917, during the First World War, for removing Istanbul (Constantinople) from Turkish sovereignty, but notably these sorts of arguments did not endure in subsequent decades:

    Constantinople, since the Turks conquered it from its last Christian Emperor in 1453, has been the political capital of the Ottoman Empire. But ever since it has been a city at all, it has also been the strategical and economic key to the Black Sea, conditioning the security and dominating the economic development of all peoples bordering on the Black Sea coasts. It is the most cosmopolitan city in the world. It is the Turk's at present by right of conquest, but that right justifies his expulsion by war if it justifies his original intrusion, and on broader considerations of population, sentiments, traditions and monuments of the past, Constantinople is more truly the capital of all the Christian peoples of the East. But it is not the exclusive possession of any of its native inhabitants, whether their presence there dates from more ancient or from comparatively recent times.

    Arnold J. Toynbee, The Murderous Tyranny of the Turks (London: Nodder & Stoughton, 1917).

  10. Martin Kramer, Islam Assembled: The Advent of Muslim Congresses (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), pp. 106-112.

  11. Document 54, "Statement made by Israel's Prime Minister, Gold Meir," in Ruth Lapidoth and Moshe Hirsch, eds., The Jerusalem Question and Its Resolution: Selected Documents (Dordecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994), p. 285.

  12. [T]he Commission herewith declares that the ownership of the Wall, as well as the possession of it and of those parts of its surroundings that are here in question, accrues to the Moslems. The Wall itself as being an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area is Moslem property. From the inquiries conducted by the Commission, partly in the Sharia Court and partly through the hearing of witnesses' evidence, it has emerged that the Pavement in front of the Wall, where the Jews perform their devotions, is also Moslem property.

    Report of the Commission appointed by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the approval of the Council of the League of Nations, to determine the rights and claims of Moslems and Jews in connection with the Western or Wailing Wall at Jerusalem, December 1930 (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1931).

  13. J.C. Hurewitz, The Struggle for Palestine (New York: Shocken, 1976), p. 21.

  14. Tawfik al-Khalil, Jerusalem From 1947 to 1967 (Amman: Economic Press, n.d.), pp. 90-92.

  15. Uzi Benziman, "Israeli Policy in East Jerusalem after Reunification," in Joel Kraemer, ed., Jerusalem: Problems and Prospects (New York: Praeger Books, 1980), p. 112.

  16. Whether the Ark of the Covenant contained both the Ten Commandments and the Torah is a matter of rabbinic dispute from the time of the Mishnah. See Encyclopedia Talmudit, Volume II, entry on the Ark of the Covenant (Jerusalem: Yad Ha-Rav Herzog, 1990) (Hebrew).

  17. Document 100, "The Report of the Commission of Investigation into Events on the Temple Mount," in Lapidoth and Hirsch, The Jerusalem Question and its Resolution, p. 466. Nonetheless, there is considerable evidence that Jews historically prayed on the Temple Mount even if this practice was discontinued. Rabbinic writings indicate that Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount was permitted by the early Arab rulers of Jerusalem. See Menahem Elon, "A City Knit Together: The Heavenly Jerusalem and the Earthly Jerusalem," in Mordechai Naor, City of Hope: Jerusalem from Biblical to Modern Times (Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi, 1997), p. 317.

  18. The Armenian historian Sebeos has written: "As the Persians approached Palestine, the remnants of the Jewish nation rose against the Christians, joined the Persians and made common cause with them." Jerusalem was captured in May 614 and placed under the rule of a Jewish leader, Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph. See H.H. Ben-Sasson, ed., A History of the Jewish People (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976), p. 312.

  19. Jacob Mann, The Jews in Egypt and in Palestine Under the Fatimid Caliphs (New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1970), pp. 55-59, 166.

  20. Maimonides was born in Cordova, Spain, in 1135, fled to Fez, Morocco in 1160, and in 1165 visited Jerusalem, before settling in Cairo; the Baal Shem Tov once reached Istanbul, planning to head for Eretz Yisrael, but was forced to return home. His brother-in-law settled in Jerusalem.

  21. Salo Wittmayer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews: Late Middle Ages and Era of European Expansion, 1200-1650, Volume X (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965), p. 95. See also entry on "Jerusalem" in the Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume VII (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1906), pp. 131-132.

  22. Shmuel Berkovets, The Battle for the Holy Places: The Struggle over Jerusalem and the Holy Sites in Israel, Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza District (Or Yehuda: Hed Arzi Publishing House, 2000), p. 109 (Hebrew). Berkovets details which Islamic scholars took this position. See also Dan Bahat, "The Physical System," in Yehoshua Praver, ed., The Book of Jerusalem 638-1099 (Jerusalem: Yad Ben Tzvi, 1987), p. 66.

  23. W. Montgomery Watt, Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1968), p. 347.

  24. S.D. Goitein, "Al-Kuds" in Bosworth, Van Donzel, Lewis and Pellat, eds., The Encyclopedia of Islam (new edition) (Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1980), volume V, p. 326.

  25. Emanuel Sivan, "The Sanctity of Jerusalem in Islam in the Period of the Crusades," in Yehoshua Praver and Hagai Ben-Shamai, eds., Sefer Yerushalaim 1099-1250 (Jerualem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 1991), pp. 287-288.

  26. Carl Brockelman, History of the Islamic Peoples (New York: Capricorn Books, 1960), pp. 231-232.

  27. Joel Kraemer, "The Jerusalem Question," in Joel Kraemer, ed., Jerusalem: Problems and Prospects (New York: Praeger Books, 1980), p. 34.

  28. Moshe Sasson, former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, has made the point that Arab states have not made holy cities into their political capitals. The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh, not Mecca; the Shi'ite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala were not made into the capital of Iraq. The only exception to Sasson's thesis, however, is Mecca, which for a short time served as the capital of the Hijaz, under the Hashemite throne, prior to the Saudi conquests. Ma'ariv, July 7, 1994.

  29. Moshe Gil, "The Jewish Settlement," in Yehoshua Praver, ed., The History of Jerusalem: The Early Islamic Period (638-1099) (Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben Zvi, 1989), p. 137. This eighth century practice has also been recorded by the Muslim historian Mujir al-Din in 1496.

  30. Zwi Weblowsky, The Meaning of Jerusalem to Jews, Christians and Muslims (Jerusalem: Intratypset, 1977). Mordecai Chertoff, "Jerusalem in Song and Psalm," in Alice L. Eckardt, ed., Jerusalem: City of Ages (New York: University Press of America, 1987).

  31. Marshall J. Breger and Thomas A. Indinopulos, Jerusalem's Holy Places and the Peace Process (Washington: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1998), pp. 30-31.

  32. Middle East Insight, vol. xiv, no. 1, January-February 1999, p. 32.

  33. See footnote 3.

  34. Ibid.

  35. Ruth Kark and Michal Oren-Nordheim, Jerusalem and Its Environs: Quarters, Neighborhoods, Villages, 1800-1948 (Jerusalem: Academon, 1995), p. 103. At one point about 1,000 Jews lived in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City; they began to purchase houses in the Muslim Quarter in the 1860s, but after the riots of 1929, all but a few found it impossible to live there. See Nadav Shragai, The Temple Mount Conflict (Jerusalem: Keter Publishers, 1995), pp. 190-191 (Hebrew).

  36. See, for example, the analysis of Paul S. Riebenfeld, who served as a Zionist delegate to the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations from 1937 to 1939. "The continued validity, however, of rights derived from a Mandate after the expiry of the League and the Mandate system was spelled out in the Charter of the United Nations, in its Article 80, which in the literature is often referred to as 'the Palestine clause.' The reason is that this provision, which is part of Chapter XII, dealing with International Trusteeship, was drafted as a result of Zionist representations at the San Francisco conference in order to protect, in addition to the existing rights of any states, also those of 'any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.' It mentions 'peoples.' The rights referred to were in particular those of the Jewish people as the beneficiary of the Palestine Mandate, in an international system based on the membership of states." Douglas J. Feith, William V. O'Brien, Eugene V. Rostow, Paul S. Riebenfeld, Malvina Halberstam, and Jerome Hornblass, Israel's Legitimacy in Law and History (New York: Center for Near East Policy Research, 1993), pp. 41-42.

  37. This logic certainly guided the thinking of the Jewish leadership at the time; see Walter Eytan, The First Ten Years (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1958), p. 65.

  38. Chaim Herzog, The Arab-Israeli Wars (New York: Vintage Books, 1982), pp. 59-61.

  39. Statement by the Minister of State of the United Kingdom in the House of Commons, April 27, 1950, in Lapidoth and Hirsch, The Jerusalem Question and its Resolution, p. 147.

  40. Stephen Schwebel, "What Weight to Conquest," American Journal of International Law 64 (1970):346-347. Israeli spokesmen subsequently adopted Schwebel's analysis in making Israel's case before the international community. See Chaim Herzog, Who Stands Accused? Israel Answers Its Critics (New York: Random House, 1978), pp. 90-91.

  41. Julius Stone, "Israel, the United Nations and International Law: Memorandum of Law by Julius Stone," in John Norton Moore, ed., The Arab-Israel Conflict, Volume IV, The Search for Peace (1975-1988) (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), pp. 816-817.

  42. Meir Rosenne, "Legal Interpretations of UNSC242," in UN Security Council Resolution 242: The Building Block of Peacemaking (Washington: Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, 1993), p. 5.

  43. See chapter by Vernon Turner in ibid., p. 27.

  44. "There is debate as to the discrepancy between the French text and the English text (of Resolution 242). Since this matter has been raised many times, it should be noted that, in international law, if there is any difficulty in interpreting the language of the texts, the original text is used as the reference point. Since the resolution was a British proposal, it is the English text that prevails." See Rosenne, "Legal Interpretations of UNSC 242," pp. 31-32.

  45. Abba Eban, An Autobiography (New York: Random House, 1977), pp. 448-451.

  46. On the Temple Mount itself, the Waqf administers the entry of visitors and worshipers. Israel does not intervene in the religious affairs of the Temple Mount, even when inflammatory speeches are given. For example, on March 19, 1993, Sheikh Muhammad Jamal, the assistant to the Jerusalem Mufti, said in a Friday sermon: "the Jewish presence in Palestine is temporary and we must crucify Palestinians collaborating with Israel" (Kol Yisrael, March 19, 1993). Israel placed a police presence on the Temple Mount after an Australian Christian fundamentalist, Dennis Michael Rowan, set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. The unit is under the command of an Israeli Muslim officer and is manned by members of the three faiths. In 1969, Palestinian Arab leaders claimed that "occupying powers (like Israel) as such cannot escape their security responsibilities" for the Temple Mount; the Waqf, they argued, was not meant to fulfill this role. Clashes between Palestinian rioters and Israeli police erupted on the Temple Mount on October 8, 1990, leaving 20 Palestinians killed and 53 wounded ("Commission of Investigation into the Events on the Temple Mount," in Lapidoth and Hirsch, The Jerusalem Question and its Resolution, pp. 486-470).

  47. Cited in Yehuda Blum, The Juridical Status of Jerusalem (Jerusalem: Leonard Davis Institute, 1974), p. 31.

  48. Ibid.

  49. Abba Eban, An Autobiography, p. 442.

  50. Statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the Knesset in response to the UN Resolutions concerning Jerusalem, October 26, 1971, in Lapidoth and Hirsch, The Jerusalem Question and its Resolution, p. 285.

  51. Menachem Klein, Doves over Jerusalem's Sky: The Peace Process and the City, 1977-1999 (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1999), pp. 62-63 (Hebrew).

  52. "Peres/Holst Letter Regarding Jerusalem," Israel Information Service Gopher, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem.

  53. Marshall J. Breger, "The New Battle for Jerusalem," Middle East Quarterly, vol. 1, no. 4 (December 1994):29-30.

  54. The Washington Declaration, Israel-Jordan, The United States, July 25, 1994, Israel Information Service Gopher, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem.

  55. Agence France Presse, June 27, 1995.

  56. "Interview with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres in Jerusalem," MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, July 25, 1994, Israel Information Service Gopher, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem.

  57. The head of Israel Military Intelligence, Major-General Moshe Yaalon, moreover, stated that Arafat gave a green light to Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP to attack Israeli soldiers and settlers. Jerusalem Post, September 29, 2000.

  58. Said K. Aburish, Arafat: From Defender to Dictator (New York: Bloomsbury, 1998), pp. 7-13.

  59. David Makovsky, Making Peace with the PLO: The Rabin Government's Road to the Oslo Accords (Washington: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1996), p. 42.

  60. Some would argue that the Palestinians have limited ambitions that are largely confined to East Jerusalem: "whereas Israel lays claim to the entire city (within its enlarged municipal borders) and has declared it its eternal capital, Palestinians who seek a settlement generally regard only East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state." See Mark A. Heller and Sari Nusseibeh, No Trumpets, No Drums: A Two-State Settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (New York: Hill and Wang, 1991), p. 116.

  61. Khaled A. Khatib, The Conservation of Jerusalem (Jerusalem: PASSIA, June 1993), p. 117. Alternatively, there are references to diluting Israeli sovereignty in western Jerusalem, even if explicit claims are made only on the eastern half; thus, at the opening of the Madrid Peace Conference, Hadar Abd al-Safi declared: "Our homeland has never ceased to exist in our minds and hearts, but it has to exist as a state on all the territories occupied by Israel in the war of 1967 with Arab Jerusalem as its capital in the context of that city's special status and its non-exclusive character." See Document A.5 in The Palestinian-Israeli Peace Agreement, A Documentary Record (Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1994), p. 20.

  62. Letter dated March 22, 1999, from the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations addressed to the Security Council. A/53/869, S/1999/308, March 23, 1999.

  63. Al-Ayyam, April 23, 1999. All of Sha'ath's quotations come from MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 31, April 23, 1999.

  64. Jerusalem Post, May 18, 1994.

  65. Yediot Aharonot, August 3, 1994. Cited by Peace Watch, "The Standing of Israel and the Palestinians in their Commitments in the Matter of Jerusalem" (Hebrew).

  66. Ha'aretz, May 29, 1995.

  67. Hanna Siniora, "The Siniora-Amirav Model," in Jerusalem Perspectives Towards a Political Settlement (Tel Aviv: New Outlook/United States Institute for Peace, 1993), pp. 30-31.

  68. Walid Khalidi, "Toward Peace in the Holy Land," Foreign Affairs (Spring 1988): 771-789.

  69. PASSIA Annual Report, 1992 (Jerusalem: PASSIA, 1993), p. 37.

  70. Yitzhak Reiter, The Waqf in Jerusalem (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1991), p. 60 (Hebrew).

  71. Asher Susser, In Through the Out Door: Jordan's Disengagement and the Middle East Peace Process, The Washington Institute -- Policy Papers, No. 19 (Washington: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1990), pp. 24-25.

  72. Jordan Television Network, Amman, October 12, 1993, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service, October 14, 1993.

  73. Jerusalem Post, October 23, 1994.

  74. "Jordanian Crown Prince on Regional Development, Jerusalem and Other Issues," Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Radio, Amman, November 1, 1994, BBC-Summary of World Broadcasts (ME), November 3, 1994.

  75. "Prime Minister Majali Responds to Criticisms of Treaty with Israel," MBC TV, October 30, 1994, BBC-Summary of World Broadcasts (ME), November 2, 1994.

  76. ABC News Interview with Peter Jennings; BBC-Summary of World Broadcasts, May 20, 1999.

  77. Israel Wire, August 31, 1999.

  78. His Majesty King Abdullah II, Speech from the Throne opening the 3rd Ordinary Session of Jordan's 13th Parliament, November 1, 1999.

  79. Clyde R. Mark, The U.S. Embassy in Israel: Arguments in Favor of and Opposed to Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, March 22, 1984. This document is included in U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, Legislation Calling for a Move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (Hearings and Markup) (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984), p. 355.

  80. Donald Neff, "Jerusalem in U.S. Policy," Journal of Palestine Studies, XXIII, no. 1 (Autumn 1993):24.

  81. Both documents are contained in U.S. House of Representatives, Legislation Calling for a Move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, pp. 350-351.

  82. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, The Search for Peace in the Middle East: Documents and Statements, 1967-79 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979), p. 290.

  83. Arthur J. Goldberg, Letter to the Editor of the New York Times, March 6, 1980, cited in Shlomo Slonim, Jerusalem in America's Foreign Policy, 1947-1997 (The Hague: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998), p. 202.

  84. Ibid., pp. 200-201.

  85. William B. Quandt, Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1986), pp. 388-396.

  86. Jeffrey S. Helmreich, "The Israel Swing Factor: How the American Jewish Vote Influences U.S. Elections," Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints No. 446, January 15, 2001.

  87. Allan Gerson, The Kirkpatrick Mission: Diplomacy Without Apology, America at the United Nations 1981-1985 (New York: The Free Press, 1991), pp. 56-69.

  88. Morris Abram, UN Geneva, February 1, 1990.

  89. Middle East Insight, volume IX, no. 1, p. 15.

  90. Cable News Network, "Text of Amb. Albright's Speech to the UN on Mideast," March 18, 1994.

  91. "U.S. Rules Out Office in East Jerusalem," United Press International, July 17, 1994.

  92. Peace Watch, Meetings and Diplomatic Visits in Orient House in East Jerusalem From November 1993 Until the Beginning of November 1994.

  93. The Forward, July 23, 1999.

  94. Interview with Charlie Rose on the Middle East Peace Talks, July 27, 2000.

  95. Maariv, April 6, 2001.

  96. Haaretz, July 28, 2000.

  97. Al-Hayat (London-Beirut), November 23-24, 2000, translated by MEMRI, November 28, 2000.

  98. Jerusalem Post, August 25, 2000.

  99. Haaretz, July 28, 2000.

  100. Jerusalem Post, August 4, 2000, and Newsweek, November 27, 2000.

  101. Undated manuscript of English translation of Akram Hanieh combined newspaper articles.

  102. Haaretz, July 28, 2000; and Yotam Feldner, "The Formulae for a Settlement in Jerusalem," MEMRI, September 13, 2000.

  103. Haaretz, July 28, 2000.

  104. Hanieh manuscript.

  105. Interview with Charlie Rose, September 12, 2000.

  106. Clyde Haberman, "Dennis Ross's Exit Interview," in New York Times Magazine, March 25, 2001.

  107. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 28, 2000, translated by MEMRI, August 4, 2000.

  108. Al-Hayat, July 27, 2000, translated by MEMRI, August 4, 2000.

  109. Japanese News Agency, NHK, August 15, 2000, cited by MEMRI, August 28, 2000.

  110. Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2000.

  111. Kul Al-Arab, August 16, 2000, translated by MEMRI, August 28, 2000.

  112. Interview with Ziad Abu Ziad, December 31, 2000,

  113. Voice of Palestine, September 17, 2000.

  114. Al-Hayat (London-Beirut), November 23-24, 2000, translated by MEMRI, November 28, 2000.

  115. Cited in Haaretz, October 20, 2000.

  116. Birzeit University Development Studies Program, "The Palestinian Intifada and the Peace Process," November 6-8, 2000.

  117. "East Jerusalem and the Holy Places at the Camp David Summit," August 28, 2000. MEMRI Special Dispatch.

  118. Ben-Ami subsequently noted, somewhat differently, "We are seeing the battle between the generations. The older generation was distanced. It knew in its heart the only thing it wanted and knew it wasn't getting it. The younger Palestinian generation, on the other hand, tried to be pragmatic, but it did not have enough legitimacy." Maariv, April 6, 2001.

  119. Ibid.

  120. Yotam Feldner, "The Formulae for a Settlement in Jerusalem," MEMRI, Report 40, September 13, 2000.

  121. Al-Safir (Lebanon), March 3, 2001, MEMRI.

  122. Al-Ayyam, October 12, 2000, MEMRI.

  123. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 24, 2000, MEMRI.

  124. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 11, 2000, MEMRI.

  125. Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, First Statement of the Government of Israel, 2000, p. 38.

  126. Jerusalem Post, March 30, 2001.

  127. Jerusalem Post, March 22, 2001.

  128. New York Times, January 6, 2001.

  129. Gilad Sher, "An Inside Look from Camp David to Taba," Peacewatch, no. 318, April 18, 2001, Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

  130. Yediot Ahronot, December 29, 2000.

  131. Maariv, December 29, 2000.

  132. "Arafat's Letter of Reservations to President Clinton," January 3, 2001, MEMRI.

  133. Ibid.

  134. Al-Ayyam, January 28, 2001, MEMRI.

  135. Al-Ayyam, January 29, 2001, MEMRI.

  136. Al-Quds, January 28, 2001, MEMRI.

  137. MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 155, "Three Palestinian Viewpoints on the Intifada and the Future of the Palestinian State," November 22, 2000.

  138. Al-Safir (Lebanon), March 21, 2001, MEMRI. This was not the first time Faysal al-Husseini made such an assertion. In December 1992, Husseini stated: "We must bear in mind the slogan of the present phase is not 'from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River'....[Yet] we have not and will not give up on any of our commitments that have existed for more than seventy years"; see Benjamin Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World (New York: Bantam Books, 1993), p. 225.

  139. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, February 3, 2001, MEMRI.

  140. Palestinian Authority and PLO Non-Compliance with Signed Agreements and Commitments: A Record of Bad Faith and Misconduct (Jerusalem: Government Press Office, 2000), p. 10.

  141. Jerusalem Post, January 19, 2001.

  142. Jerusalem Post, February 9, 2001.

  143. CNN Late Edition, February 11, 2001.