In 1947 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted
Resolution 181, which proposed the ending of the British Mandate
and the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.
However, Part III of the Resolution dealt with the City of
Jerusalem as follows:
"The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum
under a special international regime and shall be administered by
the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council shall be designated to
discharge the responsibilities of the Administering Authority on
behalf of the United Nations." The future of the holy places was
not considered in Part III, because it had already been dealt with
in preceding parts for Palestine as a whole.
Unfortunately, Part III of Resolution 181 has, unlike the ending of
the Mandate and the partition of Palestine, not yet been
implemented, although the reason for it is as true today as it was
in 1947: The General Assembly correctly saw that only through
internationalization could the conflicting claims of the Jews and
the Arabs (and perhaps of the Christians) be reconciled.
The failure to implement the Resolution has led to more than 50
years of conflict, during which Jerusalem has been a battlefield
and suffered death and destruction without its problems coming any
nearer to a solution. However, it is not too late to implement the
Resolution now, and internationalization holds out the promise of a
brilliant future for the city. It already has all the amenities to
rival, say, Geneva, i.e., the hotels, conference venues and
communications, all of which could no doubt be developed further
once the international city becomes an oasis of peace and
The most important thing is that the city should never be divided
de jure as it unfortunately still is de facto. East and West should
become mere geographical indications, as they are in other major
cities, and anyone should be able to settle in any part of a united
Jerusalem. This can become reality only if and when the city is
Proposals such as that part of the city should become the capital
of a Palestinian Arab state and part be capital of the State of
Israel are unacceptable because they actually confirm and
legitimize the division of the city. Nothing should be done to
encourage or promote this.
A great deal of mystique, mysticism and mythology needs to be swept
away. The exhibition of 3,000 years of Jerusalem in the Citadel of
David clearly shows that Jerusalem has been ruled by many different
powers in its history and that, therefore, its status as "the
eternal Jewish city" is a myth. The Arabs should look to Mecca as
their undisputed historic center.
The time has come for Jerusalem to cease to be a battlefield and
only internationalization can ensure this. The fact that it will
give neither the Jews nor the Arabs all they want is perhaps the
best indication that it is the right solution. Once this is
recognized, work on practical procedures and administrative
arrangements can begin. Internationalization of Jerusalem is no
more "impossible" than was the removal of the Berlin Wall, the
unification of Germany and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Why Joint Venture with Israelis?
Having come across your magazine on the Internet, I wonder what
could the actual purpose of your project be. The Board of Editors
is greatly staffed with Arabs. Some of the names may not be really
known. Still I wonder why should Palestinians have joint ventures
with Israelis? Please do not tell me you want to promote peace! We
are sick of those insipid statements! Besides, you are located in
Jerusalem. Who gives any of you, whether Arab or Israeli, the right
to claim that Jerusalem is located in Israel, not in Palestine, as
stated in your address?
The Journal Is 'Must Reading'
I have received a copy of the Palestine-Israel Journal and also
visited your Web site. The Journal is "must reading" for anyone
interested in the Palestine-Israel conflict and the prospects of
peace. It is also in itself a unique contribution to the process of
building bridges between the two peoples and creating the common
social and intellectual experience and understanding that are vital
to the success of peace efforts.
The Palestine-Israel Journal is very dear to my heart as
coordinator of the PEACE dialogue group, and I shall, of course,
recommend it to the members of the group.
Yes, Indeed, There Is Only One Cyprus
This is in response to a letter sent to the editors of the
Palestine-Israel Journal by Mieke van de Capelle, who objected to
the biographical note describing Husam Mohamad as an assistant
professor of international relations at the Eastern Mediterranean
University in "North Cyprus." Although I agree with Van de
Capelle's argument that a recognized political entity called "North
Cyprus" does not exist, I do believe that the letter to the editors
went too far in its accusation against myself and the Journal as
well. The inclusion of North Cyprus was used purely for
correspondence purposes and in no way intended to make a political
statement that undermines the legitimate presence of one Cyprus
with its Greek and Turkish communities. I look forward to seeing
the two communities merge within a united Cyprus. As Palestinians
who lived under military occupation, we have used terms such as
"West Bank," "via Israel" in our communications with the rest of
the world. Such usage of these terms was never intended to give
legitimacy to the State of Israel in its control of the occupied
It is my belief that Cypriots, Greeks and Turks, should be reunited
within a unified federal republic of Cyprus that would guarantee
the political rights and claims of both communities. However, in
much of the history of the Cyprus conflict, especially in the last
four decades, the two Cypriot communities fought with each other
mostly on accounts that were created by their "motherlands."
Because of such a background, each side does not recognize the
other. I, in no way, intended to support either party or to make a
statement of one side against the other. I support both communities
and would like to see them reunited within a new framework based on
principles of peace, justice and political equality.