Dilemmas facing the final status negotiations on the city are the mix of populations and the lack of an agreed legal basis for sharing the city.
Looming final status talks on Jerusalem led the American Committee on Jerusalem to arrange a Washington, DC panel discussion on the subject. Discussants were a leading Palestinian sociologist, Dr. Salim Tamari, director of the Institute of Jerusalem Studies and author of a new book on the subject, Jerusalem 1948, and a leading researcher on Jerusalem and its neighborhoods, and Dr. Jerome Segal from the Center for international and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM) and the founder of the Jewish Peace Lobby.
Congressman John Conyers (D MI) arranged for the Rayburn hearing room where the two described the current status of Jerusalem before some 70 congressional staffers and journalists on Oct. 22.
Dilemmas facing the final status negotiations on the city are the mix of populations and the lack of an agreed legal basis for sharing the city. Dr. Segal suggested “disaggregating” the neighborhoods that remain rural in composition from the key urban areas of West Jerusalem, the Old City and East Jerusalem.
Dr. Tamari emphasized practical problems faced by municipal government in dealing with the religious communities and providing services to a city that include two political capitals. He pointed out that many of the 190,000 Arabs presently living in East Jerusalem were in fact refugees from West Jerusalem villages and from villages presently in Israel. Many are within sight of their former homes.
The discussion following the presentation on the Hill made clear that both speakers wanted the U.S. Congress to stay out of the Jerusalem question, but fear that this probably is not going to happen. Dr. Rashid Khalidi, president of the American Committee for Jerusalem, said that further conferences of this kind, aimed at educating the Hill on the subject of Jerusalem, were scheduled for early in the year 2000.