by Zeev Raphael
The future of Jerusalem warrants constructive thought. It may come as a surprise to some, to learn what Theodor Herzl, the prophet of modern Zionism, had in mind for the city: “We shall exterritorialize Jerusalem, so that it will belong to nobody and yet everybody; and with it the Holy Places, which will become the joint possession of all Believers – a great condominium of culture and morality.” (“The Diaries of Theodor Herzl”, Gollanz, London 1958)
Our decision makers might bear this in mind when – hopefully soon! – negotiations with the Palestinians will resume. Translated into modern language Herzl’s vision may be expressed thus: Let Jerusalem become a united city, open to all and belonging to all its inhabitants. Let Jerusalem be the capital of both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. Let us turn Jerusalem into a modern symbol of Peace, without walls or barbed wire.
It may be recalled that an International Jerusalem enclave was part of the 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”
Within the context of a peace deal with the Palestinians this would be a small price to pay in exchange for full diplomatic and normal relations with 57 Arab and Muslim countries, - as proposed by the current Arab Peace Initiative.
In addition, our Prime Minister might launch a dramatic proposal to transfer UN Headquarters from New York to Jerusalem. This may appear to be a pretentious idea. But bearing in mind that Jerusalem is the center of three world religions, and that such a step might put a final end to this long and festering conflict, such a proposal may eventually become to appear realistic. It would make Jerusalem the World Center of the United Nations and transform the city into an international enclave. Such a development would have interesting implications for the status of the city, as well as for its economy and its security.
A scenario like this would surely match the future of Jerusalem as Herzl would have loved to see it. May this apparently impossible idea become a challenge to our decision makers.