In reviewing many of the new books on Jerusalem that have appeared
in the past two years, as an Israeli, I expected to find a fair
amount of myth-mongering, especially when I saw that several book
jackets invoked Jerusalem 3000 - the Israeli celebrations of King
David's establishing Jerusalem as his capital - celebrations
denigrated by Palestinians and many Israelis for their slanting of
history in service of Jewish claims to the city. But the authors
were more balanced than the publicists. While several of these
books use partisan language, referring to the "liberation of
Jerusalem" in 1967 or describing it as "unified" under Israeli
rule, all acknowledge a past that begins before King David and is
broader than the annals of Jewish history.
In his new book City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem,
quoted above, Meron Benvenisti notes that academics in Israel no
longer respond to attempts to coopt their studies in support of
nationalist claims. Such "liberation from the bonds of politically
committed research" presumably takes time and the results are not
seen immediately outside academic circles. This would explain the
greater degree of polemic I found in some Palestinian contributions
and why the more scholarly of the Israeli- or Jewish-authored books
that I examined were, by and large, more even-handed than the more
popular ones. Beyond looking for bias, I also scrutinized the books
for what they had to say about solutions to the problems of sharing
the city. I continue, then, with City of Stone.
The book opens with the Jerusalem 3000 celebrations and a tour of
the Museum of the City of Jerusalem. Like visitors passing through
the halls of the actual museum, we travel through eras and epochs
in the city's long history, with Benvenisti as narrator explaining
- sometimes with sarcasm, sometimes with understanding - how
identity is constructed and legitimized through selective emphases
and the development of symbols and ceremonies.
A Tribal Struggle
The Jews have no monopoly on myth-making in the city, of course,
and thus a parallel addressing of Palestinian myth point by point
would be extremely valuable. Benvenisti says mildly, "It is hard to
estimate the extent to which the Palestinians themselves believe
the Canaanite-Philistine myth [of their origins], and one hopes
that this absurd attempt to give a historical basis to their claim
to Jerusalem is simply a political argument that they themselves do
not take seriously." One hopes - but later in his introductory
chapter he tells us that "history may be written by victors, but
the vanquished have not relinquished their version and are busy
cultivating it." An example is the Museum of Islam on the Haram
Al-Sharif (the Temple Mount), where, Benvenisti says, visitors
seeking to learn the history of Jerusalem "will find no trace of
After Benvenisti's initial chapter, history is treated thematically
rather than strictly chronologically. His topics - which include
Jerusalem's changing boundaries, its holy sites, the struggle for
municipal control, and the saga of building and development that
begins before recorded history - reveal how cartography, planning
and construction, commerce, statistics, and, of course, politics
and religion can be pressed into the service of ethno-partisan
He suggests that model-builders exaggerate the global import of an
unsolved Jerusalem problem. "Jerusalem's fame (and thus the
obsession with its 'resolution') is due primarily to the fact that
its conflict is being played out on a historical stage decked with
powerful symbols and myths and pervaded with an air of sanctity.
Take away Jesus, Muhammad, David, Jeremiah, Omar and Godfrey de
Bouillon, and the preoccupation with Jerusalem shrinks to the level
of a petty family quarrel among cousins vying for their
inheritance" (p. 207). Here the author ties his familiar thesis
that the nature of the struggle between the Israelis and
Palestinians is essentially "tribal" to his thesis about the
chances for resolution: "The conflict over Jerusalem is not so much
a conflict as a condition ... typical [of] intercommunal
conflict... Conditions have no solutions; there are just solutions
to some of the problems they cause" (p. 223).
Dismissing the Models
Benvenisti argues that when the various plans are stripped down to
their essentials, there are three basic models - and he dismisses
the utility of all of them. But such simplification does not take
into account the possibility that a variant of a model may have the
elements that make the larger concept viable.
Rather than drawing up models, Benvenisti advocates a
process-oriented approach: a down-to-earth debate that grapples
"with the exigencies of a changing reality, with no shortcuts via
once-and-for-all solutions." Progress should be measured in terms
of agreement on even "the pettiest of issues." Benvenisti, who
fully understands Palestinian reservations about the Oslo accords,
nonetheless credits them with the potential for a powerful enough
dynamic to move toward agreed-upon goals.
While the reader of Benvenisti's often poetic narrative will be
much the wiser, the scope of the book works against the in-depth
storytelling that is Benvenisti at his best (exemplified in
Jerusalem: The Torn City , which covers the backdrop to the
1948 war through the dramatic changes of the post-1967 period).
More detail is found in parts of Benvenisti's Intimate Enemies:
Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land, published in 1995, one year before
City of Stone. The early chapter "City of Strife" contrasts images
of Jerusalem: the idealized city versus its hard stone edges.
Benvenisti looks to very recent history to portray the two
directions in which Palestinians and Israelis, the intimate
enemies, can proceed. The first cycle of violence fueled by tribal
instinct is illustrated in the early part of the book by the events
surrounding the massacres on Haram Al-Sharif in October 1990. In
the second part, reconciliation is symbolized by the famous
handshake between intimate enemies, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser
Arafat, on the White House lawn less than three years later.
More passages gripped me in this book than in City of Stone,
perhaps precisely because there is more analysis. A few examples:
Israel's Independence Day and Jerusalem Unification Day typifying
the divide between two Israeli political cultures (p. 38); a
revealing portrait of former mayor Teddy Kollek, for whom the
Intifada was a personal insult that ravaged the myth of coexistence
he needed to believe in (pp. 40-44); the fading Israeli perception
of Arafat as demon: "Arafat drinking Israeli water, reading by
light supplied by the Israel Electrical Corporation, and sending
faxes through Israeli telephone lines is a domesticated Arafat"
Benvenisti disparages latter-day solution-mongers early on, after a
very concise rundown of previous ideas. His bottom line remains:
"The problem is not a need for theoretical solutions, but the
willingness of both sides to use the available plans as tools for
resolving the conflict."
Frustrating for the Unfamiliar
Benvenisti engages and disengages from his subjects, seldom, if
ever, writing "I," though he is a deeply involved member of one of
the societies he studies and a deeply knowledgeable observer of
both. On page 46 of Intimate Enemies he refers to a list of plans,
"including this author's Borough plan." In City of Stone, he
distances himself - the plan (whose antecedents date from the
1920s) is attributed to Teddy Kollek. Sometimes he speaks
disparagingly of plans categorizing Jerusalem's problems in terms
of holy places, municipal arrangements, and sovereignty (see City
of Stone, p. 216). Two decades earlier, these were the divisions he
employed as an organizing principle for presenting numerous plans
in the appendix to The Torn City.
Benvenisti's distancing contributes to a pattern that will be a
source of frustration for readers who are familiar with his
subjects, but lack his encyclopedic knowledge: incidents,
processes, and plans are often described without full
identification. This is even more frustrating in Intimate Enemies,
with its fuller accounting of events, than in City of Stone. Who is
the speaker introduced by "As one Israeli general said"? Are East
Talpiyot and Jabal Mukaber the neighborhoods discussed on page 277
Benvenisti mocks the policeman on the Haram who doesn't know the
names of the spiritual leaders he calls "the Red Mufti" and "the
Little Mufti," but we never learn what they should be called.
A dearth of documentation in both books is, likewise, maddening. On
the rare occasions that a citation appears, it is not of the
English translation if the original work is in Hebrew (for example,
Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari's well-known Intifada ). In
Intimate Enemies, Benvenisti's own previous works are not even
listed, while in City of Stone there is no indication as to which
are not in English, and some of the years of publication are
With or without references, however, Benvenisti has no peer in
explaining the background to present-day passions, attachments, and
complexities characterizing the larger conflict, through the
history of Jerusalem. His eloquence is at its peak in the final
chapter of City of Stone, as he describes the fierce stratification
of Jerusalem's communities - Jewish, Muslim and, especially,
Christian sects - as reflected in the strict divisions of the
city's burial grounds. The dead of countless conquests and
conflicts, ancient and modern, their hopes and aspirations buried
with them in two-dozen cemeteries, bear witness to a struggle over
Jerusalem in which "there are no victors and no vanquished."
Archeology, History, Art, Religion, Politics
Nitza Rosovsky's collection City of the Great King: Jerusalem from
David to the Present, title notwithstanding, begins with
archeologist Magen Broshi's survey of four millennia of history.
Next, F.E. Peters focuses on the holy sites that hang "suspended
like a sword over future negotiation." Later chapters in the
section "The Heavenly City" look at aspects of pilgrimage and at
Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Jerusalem, the latter chapters almost
de rigueur for edited volumes, but well done.
Many chapters in the section "The City in Literature, Art, and
Architecture" offer a strictly historical treatment, while others
bring a more contemporary perspective. A chapter on maps and
mapping, for example, ends for all practical purposes with the 19th
century; a pity, when there is so much to say about political
map-drawing in Jerusalem since. In contrast, the chapter "Geography
and Geometry of Jerusalem" starts with early images of Jerusalem
and continues to the modern period, with the works of Marc Chagall
and Palestinian artists Taleb Dweik and Nabil Anani.
In the first of two historical chapters in the central section,
"The Earthly City," Arthur Hertzberg shows how the fate of
Jerusalem took a back seat in the priorities of the early Zionist
movement and became central with a non-Zionist population influx.
To redress an imbalance, I focus below on the second chapter since,
with a single exception (the next book discussed), the other books
reviewed here do not have Palestinian authors, though they may
Muhammad Muslih depicts the political as well as religious
importance of Jerusalem to the Palestinians, but his real
contribution lies in the survey of Palestinian conceptions of
Jerusalem in this century, which he examines "as a prerequisite to
finding a solution." Palestinian literary sources from 1917-1948
reveal a pluralistic city in. which diverse communities coexist.
From 1948-67, Jerusalem's centrality was commonly demonstrated
through the filter of Pan-Arab rather than Palestinian nationalist
sentiment. He identifies four outlooks since 1967. Contemporary
pluralists "tend to view Jerusalem as a city whose significance
transcends a single community or state." The exclusivists aim to
establish the primacy of Arab claims. In the third category, which
overlaps the second, are the legalists; although much of the
subject matter is documentary, Muslih says, "the spirit is markedly
nationalist." The oppositionists, like the exclusivists, emphasize
the primacy of Palestinian claims, out of conviction, but also "to
use the emotional question of Jerusalem to undermine Arafat and the
deal he struck with Israel."
Edward Said, a pluralist par excellence, is author of the keynote
essay to Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process? a
collection edited by Ghada Karmi and published for the
International Campaign for Jerusalem.
There are important chapters in this volume (the Israeli and Jewish
positions expressed here, it must be said, are hardly
representative), and Said's is first and foremost among them. He
minces no words in writing about what Israeli mythologies and the
ability to promote them have meant for Palestinian lives. (He is
equally scathing when it comes to the Palestinian Authority's
record on Jerusalem.) He argues persuasively that, in order to
press Arab-Palestinian claims to Jerusalem, the history of loss
must be understood. Said repeatedly laments Israeli attempts to
Judaize a multicultural city, and he advocates a jointly held
capital that is true to its complex mixture of religions, histories
and cultures. Neither the essay nor the book taken as a whole has a
clear answer for how to pursue reconciliation, on one hand, and the
redressing of grievance, on the other. However, projecting the
positive and inclusive image of Jerusalem that Said champions will
certainly go a long way.
Karen Armstrong, one of Jerusalem Today's authors, makes clear in
Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths that she sees a human need for
mythology. "[This book] is merely an attempt to find out what Jews,
Christians, and Muslims have meant when they said the city is
'holy' to them ... This seems just as important as deciding who was
in the city first and who, therefore, should own it, especially
since the origins of Jerusalem are shrouded in obscurity."
She begins with these shrouded origins, bringing the insights of
anthropology, as well as the evidence of archeology in pondering
why this spot became sacred space. Jewish, Christian and Muslim
history in the city is then treated consecutively - similar to the
approach of Thames A. Idinopoulous's Jerusalem Blessed, Jerusalem
Cursed (1991). The book's discourse is often quite Christian, with
emphasis on the "duty of compassion." Presumably wishing to appear
even-handed, Armstrong repeatedly offsets her judgments of Israel
with criticism of Christian behavior, usually Western Christian
behavior. This device leaves the city's Muslim residents as
innocents by default (and has not been enough to mollify Jewish
critics). Arguably, she draws a lot of conclusions for someone
exploring her subject with the reader, but I appreciated reading
scholarship that included a call for social justice.
"What can the history of Jerusalem teach us about the way forward?"
she asks. She names often-heard suggestions for the future, but
voices her reservation: "unless the underlying principles are
clear, all these solutions remain utopian."
Scholars and Polemics
Those sensitive to language that indicates a pro-Israel orientation
will certainly find it in the next few books, but they have much to
recommend them. City of Hope: Jerusalem from Biblical to Modem
Times by Mordechai Naor, written to "bring fruits of broad
scholarship to a general readership" is touted as the first major
publication to mark the beginning of the Jerusalem 3000
commemoration. The book begins with David, after a scant mention of
Jebusite predecessors, and ends with a full-color reproduction of
the Jerusalem Covenant that Israel's leaders signed in 1992,
pledging loyalty to the city and resolving to maintain sovereignty
over it. A very one-sided epilogue by Menachem Elon, former deputy
president of Israel's Supreme Court, surveys traditional literature
about Jerusalem and the laws concerning Jerusalem and the Temple
These are elements that will surely alienate parts of a truly
general readership. Yet despite the framing, the main text bears
out the thesis that scholars do not lend their work to polemic. Its
coffee-table book format notwithstanding, this volume is packed
with information, including numerous tidbits that I found in none
of the other books. Predictably, the post-1967 history is the most
problematic, more in terms of what is not said (about the new
neighborhoods, for example) than what is. The narrative would be
choppy if not for the big, bold subheadings interspersed between
every few paragraphs, but with this convention and the lavish
illustration, the book is an easy read and the history of Jerusalem
whirls by quickly. Each chapter opens with a very helpful detailed
color map of the city during the time period covered.
The jacket of Hershel Shanks's Jerusalem: An Archeological
Biography invokes Jerusalem 3000 and continues with breathless
hype: the "account debunks many long-standing theories -Solomon's
Stables were not built by Solomon, nor were they a stable, and the
Garden of Gethsemane ... was not a garden but a cave." But here,
too, there is more within than the cover indicates. First telling
us that 3,000 years is only a little more than half of Jerusalem's
life, Shanks reconstructs history through archeological findings,
with a focus on the biblical period through the Byzantine era, when
there were few sources other than the clues left behind in remains.
The last few hundred years are summed up primarily by listing
conquests, ending in 1967 when "Jerusalem was reunited under
The lavishly illustrated book is clearly aimed at a lay audience.
The author's chatty style, with frequent use of the first person,
at times borders on the condescending. A glossary would have been
appropriate, as the definitions of terminology are inconsistent.
Shanks does provide a considerable service in supplying the
background to controversies among scientists and archeologists that
the lay person encounters with some regularity in the daily
Jerusalem: In 3000 Years was written, as well as compiled, by the
late Nahum Tim Gidal, a documentary photographer of considerable
renown. All text appears in English, French, and German. Many of
the earlier illustrations (maps and engravings, as well as
photographs) are from Gidal's own collection. All illustration is
in black-and-white, lending the book a more somber appearance but
losing nothing in conveying a history pictorially.
Unfortunately, despite graphic success, the book is seriously
flawed. That it is largely a documentary of Jewish Jerusalem is
legitimate enough, were it more clearly labeled as such. But it is
marketed as a general Jerusalem photo-history. The text is not only
lackluster but polemical - occasionally so early on, predictably
more so after 1967, and outrageously so by the time the recent
history is presented. The administration of Teddy Kollek is shown
as an enlightened rule committed to developing both sides of the
city, for example, and the Intifada is introduced by blaming
poverty in Gaza exclusively on the Arab states. Such text seriously
undermines the value of the photographs.
A Century in Jerusalem
The next books treat more limited blocks of Jerusalem's long
history. Martin Gilbert's Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century relies
heavily on the accounts of eyewitnesses, many of them Protestant
expatriates and other visitors from English-speaking countries. The
prejudices and biases of the writers and their times are blatant,
enabling the reader to easily discern the filters through which
they see events. As the century proceeds, the biases become more
subtle and English-language sources bringing a Jewish perspective
are more abundant, resulting in less balance, despite the author's
clear attempt to be even-handed.
Gilbert, an eminent historian, bears the title "Commander of the
British Empire," so it perhaps should be no surprise that British
rule appears quite enlightened. The first hint otherwise comes in a
reference on page 127 to the Collective Punishment Ordinance. The
beginnings of Palestinian nationalism are shown as far back as
1917. As the conflict between Arab and Jew escalates during the
1920s, it is faintly gratifying to read amidst the horror stories
accounts of individuals from each community saving members of the
other. An intriguing reference to the activism of Palestinian women
during these years mentions three by name (Matil Moghanam, Zlikha
Shihabi and Zahiya Nashashibi), but there is no citation for those
seeking to know more (p. 127).
In the coverage of the 1940s in particular, a preponderance of
Jewish human-interest sources biases the portrayal of the drama. I
am not aware of many English-language sources on the Arab side that
the author could have relied upon, but an ideal one would have been
Hala Sakakini's Jerusalem and I (Jordan: Economic Press, 1990), a
memoir that includes the story of the Sakakinis' flight from their
beloved home in the Katamon neighborhood.
Gilbert does well by Palestinian nationalism at the close of the
war, demonstrating that "Palestinians never gave up their desire
for some form of independence from Jordan" (p. 247). While
description of the 1967 war reflects Israeli perception, King
Hussein's dilemmas are presented sympathetically, and the depiction
of the two-year post-war period includes Anwar Nusseibeh's
perspectives along with Teddy Kollek's. For anticipating the 21st
century, other books may be better, but Gilbert provides an
enjoyable and informative read on the past 100 years.
Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, the US-based authors of To Rule
Jerusalem, spent 20 years interviewing Jerusalemites and their
neighbors in a series of visits. Their ambitious volume runs to
almost 500 pages of text. The space devoted to communities not
described elsewhere is a virtue of this book. We see the origins of
ultra-Orthodox dynasties and the tensions between the haredi world
and the Zionist culture surrounding it; the rifts in Israeli
culture that led to the formation of the Shas party; the
complicated relations between local and diaspora Palestinians; the
sometimes converging, sometimes diverging Palestinian and Jordanian
interests, and much more, as background to understanding the
individuals introduced in the book. At times, the fact that we do
not have an insider's view of any of the communities actually
becomes a strength.
The authors, professors of religious studies and sociology, treat
us to such passages as "Islam, like Judaism, is a political
religion, a faith meant to be conjoined with power" (p. 347) and
draw cogent parallels between Jewish and Muslim zealots. What the
authors are not is historians, and though the book is extensively
researched, the methodology seems questionable. Relying heavily on
interviews, they present a great deal of anecdotal information
without the means of evaluating it. When, for example, a wedding
celebration is disrupted by Muslim Brothers who disapprove of
socializing between men and women, is this a common occurrence or
an aberration? Moreover, while myriad citations accompany a text
that is not based on interviews, the sources are not always wisely
chosen (reporting on Palestinian internal violence would be more
credible using the data of Palestinian human-rights groups rather
than the Israeli daily press).
In terms of plans for the future, this book is strong on
Palestinian and Israeli initiatives alike, official and unofficial.
Friedland and Hecht themselves seem to advocate, or at least
predict, a future Jerusalem as a federal metropolitan district,
with a central Israeli government devolving to the Palestinians
authority to share in ruling the city.
Rochelle Furstenberg's collection, Images of Jerusalem: City of
David in Modern Hebrew Literature, is a study guide published by
the women's Zionist organization Hadassah; its selections of works
by well-known Israeli authors reveal perceptions of the city as
well as providing good reading material. A larger collection is The
Jerusalem Anthology: A Literary Guide, compiled by Reuven Hammer.
The sources - exclusively Jewish - range from biblical selections
to contemporary speculations about the future. Alongside Teddy
Kollek's articulation of the Jewish claim to Jerusalem is A.B.
Yehoshua's appraisal, first published in 1981: "The city must
remain united from a human point of view, but diversified from the
point of view of sovereignty ... the solution must be an organic
one, coming from within through a process of patience and
goodwill." With literature an important mirror of culture and
attitudes, it is a pity that there is no similar compendium in
English on the Palestinian side.
Solutions are the sole concern of Whither Jerusalem? Proposals and
Positions Concerning the Future of Jerusalem by Moshe Hirsch, Ruth
Lapidoth and Deborah Housen-Couriel. In this updated version of a
Hebrew volume published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel
Studies, the Hebrew University researchers provide an introduction
to the legal status of the city and detail 55 proposals from early
in the century to the present. The identical format for each
proposal provides date, source, historical background and identity
of the authors. When applicable, particulars are categorized under
the headings of "national aspirations," "holy places," and
"municipal administration." Some comparison of similarities and
differences between the plans follows, but with its detailed
lexicon of terms and selected bibliography, the book is primarily
useful - very useful - as a reference book.
The historical focus of Jerusalem: In the Shadow of Heaven is the
narrowest of all the books reviewed here. With all the photographs
contemporary, a few inclusions taken as recently as 1994 actually
make the book seem dated. Despite studied neutrality, the editorial
frame of reference comes across as Israeli, but with occasional
hints of critique, such as the description of the late Yeshayahu
Leibowitz as an "outspoken critic of Israel's policies in the
Despite oversimplifications and inaccuracies in labeling the
pictures, there is some lovely poetic text in the introduction:
"The history of Jerusalem is a history of zealous dreams and
righteous bloodshed. Over and over again, the city and its people
have been swept away - cleansed in the name of the empire and
religion, in the words of the Second Book of Kings, as one wipes a
dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. Memories, however, have
not been washed away in the successive waves of conquest. Instead,
they have accumulated, layer on layer, like the city's crumbling
While the recent trade books are largely authored by Jews, Israeli
and otherwise, and outside observers, Palestinians are better
represented in locally produced publications of the past two years.
Most of the publications are collections; an exception is seen in
three contributions from PASSIA (Palestinian Academic Society for
the Study of International Affairs). In Sami F. Musallam's The
Struggle for Jerusalem: A Programme of Action for Peace, the first
chapter, "The Sermon on Jihad" (Arafat's controversial 1994 speech
at a Johannesburg mosque), aims to justify to skeptics the course
embarked on by the PLO in Madrid. The next chapters recount the
battle over institutions in Jerusalem, in particular, Orient House,
and recount the tensions between Jordan and the Palestinian
Authority. For explication of what lies behind the positions of the
Vatican, the Hashemites, Israel, and others on Jerusalem,
Friedland's To Rule Jerusalem is far more enlightening, but the
chronological presentation of statements and documents in The
Struggle for jerusalem does tell a story.
Musallam's ideas on how to proceed toward the future, introduced
early in the book, are detailed in the final chapter, which is
called, somewhat paradoxically, "The Battle for Jerusalem: A
Programme of Action for Peace." In fact, most chapters are titled
"The Battle for Jerusalem," with the subtitle changing each time.
At a program I attended to hear the writer, respondent Rana
Nashashibi, a well-known Palestinian activist, questioned this
pattern and whether a human aspect was not lost in the book's
emphasis on the struggle for power. "How do we see Jerusalem?" she
asked, calling for an ideology. Musallam, in reply, admitted he had
not concentrated his thinking on how he would like life in East
Jerusalem to look. There are, however, several positive, proactive
suggestions in the "Programme for Peace," many calling for changes
in the way the Palestinian Authority operates.
Sadly, what Musallam sees as essential in terms of Israeli
acknowledgments of injustice, he is not likely to get. Palestinians
need and deserve admission and action from Israelis, and I believe
the author is correct that this would lead to a psychological
breakthrough. And Palestinian acknowledgment of Israeli attachment
to the city is needed as well, and could have the same effect. A
lack of understanding is blatant in the ending, which calls
Jerusalem the cultural and religious center of Palestinian life -
in contrast to Tel Aviv, the center of Israeli life.
PASSIA's Documentation on Jerusalem (no author or editor is given),
is packed with texts that show the background to the conflict.
Statements, documents, position papers, and resolutions articulate
the claims of the interested parties - including the Arab states,
the European Community and the United Nations - and their
objections to the claims of others. This extremely useful reference
book is rounded out by an index, a very up-to-¬date selected
bibliography, a historical chronology emphasizing Palestinian
experience under occupation, and a set of maps.
The third PASSIA publication is a monograph in English and Arabic:
The Judaization of Jerusalem: Israeli Policies Since 1967, by
Allison B. Hodgkins, which reports on actions and policies to
consolidate Israeli hegemony. The recent improvement in the English
of PASSIA's bilingual publications has not been emulated by Shu'un
Tanmawiyyeh, a quarterly journal on Palestinian development issued
by the Arab Thought Forum. A special issue, "Jerusalem: Capital of
Palestine" (vol. 5, nos. 2&3; Winter 1995-96) has a 55-page
section in English with six complete articles and summaries of five
others. Unfortunately, the value of the contributions taken from
Arabic is marred by poor translation and a plethora of distracting
typographical errors. Readers dependent on the English text will
gain the most from articles by outside observers Anne Latendresse
and Michael Dumper.
This journal's special issue, "Our Jerusalem" (Palestine-Israel
Journal vol. II, no. 2), was in a sense a response to Jerusalem
3000, its varied articles by Palestinians and Jews collectively
comprising an affirmation that the city can be shared. A similar
tone is evident in publications from the Harry S. Truman Research
Institute for the Advancement of Peace, at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, and IPCRI (the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and
Information). At the end of 1996, the Truman Institute, together
with the Center for the Study of International Relations of the
Free University of Brussels (ULB), published Brussels and
Jerusalem: From Conflict to Solution. Editors Joel Kotek, Simone
Susskind and Steven Kaplan bring together papers on Brussels, on
Jerusalem and on comparative perspectives, in an effort to see how
the Brussels model may be applicable to Jerusalem's problems. All
of the contributors on Jerusalem are residents of the city. The
Truman Institute has two more collections in the works, one edited
by Ifrah Zilberman on Palestinian society and politics in Jerusalem
since 1967, and another in cooperation with the Palestine
Consultancy Group, edited by professors Moshe Ma'oz and Sari
The latest IPCRI publication on Jerusalem is Negotiating the
Future: Vision and Realpolitik in the Quest for a Jerusalem of
Peace, edited (and with sections authored) by this writer in the
wake of seminars in 1996. In the first part, 23 individuals respond
to the challenge of offering visions for the future of Jerusalem.
Some share plans or aspirations; others concentrate on the
struggles that keep the vision at bay. The second part contains the
proceedings of mock negotiations on Jerusalem between Palestinians
and Israelis. IPCRI, too, has a book underway that looks at the
The Status of Jerusalem in the Eyes of Israeli Jews, a
collaborative research report by Israel's Guttman Institute of
Applied Social Research (co-¬investigators Elihu Katz and
Shlomit Levy) and the Center for International and Security Studies
of the University of Maryland (co-investigator Jerome M. Segal), is
available in two versions: a 154-page study with 140 pages of
appendix tables and a 90-page collection of excerpts and key
tables, both published in January 1997. The findings are an
important background for understanding where Israeli public opinion
is most flexible. A new companion study of Palestinian attitudes by
Segal and Nader Izzat Sa'id includes an essay by Segal on the
implications of both studies.
So many legends and traditions adhere to Jerusalem that almost any
medium that conveys information serves to shatter a misconception
or two of the reader's. Even when they do not consciously set out
to counter mythologizing, these books expand the reader's horizons
beyond the slogans that often characterize discourse on the city.
It is to be hoped that more Palestinians will join the chroniclers
of Jerusalem, sharing the facts and fictions that give rise to
their longings for the city. The works that form Western
consciousness about Jerusalem and consciousness among the two
peoples need to reflect both narratives and a multiplicity of
voices. (A similar point is made by Edward Said in Jerusalem
Today.) With understanding as a foundation, the stones mined from
the metaphorical quarry of Jerusalem history could be used at last
for building a future.
1. A Palestinian source scorning all the myths can be found in Azmi
Bishara's remarks on the common roots of Jewish, Christian and
Muslim tales of origin, in "Jerusalem: Perspectives towards a
Political Settlement," a post-conference collection published by
New Outlook in 1993, which has meanwhile been
2. Karen Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths (New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1996). $30.00. Chaia Beckerman (ed.), Negotiating
the Future: Vision and Realpolitik in the Quest for a Jerusalem of
Peace Gerusalem: IPCRI, 1996).
3. Meron Benvenisti, City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996). $24.45.
4. Meron Benvenisti, Intimate Enemies: Jews and Arabs in a Shared
Land (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).
5. David Cohen and Lee Liberman (eds.), Jerusalem in the Shadow of
Heaven (San Francisco: Collins, 1996). $35.00. Documentation on
Jerusalem (Jerusalem: PASSIA, 1997).
6. Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, To Rule Jerusalem (New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1996). $39.95.
7. Rochelle Furstenberg and Carol Diament (eds.), Images of
Jerusalem: City of David in Modem
8. Hebrew Literature (New York: Hadassah, 1995).
9. Nahum Tim Gidal, Jerusalem: In 3000 Years (Cologne: Konemann,
10. Martin Gilbert, Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century (London:
Chatto & Wind us, 1996). £20. Reuven Hammer, The Jerusalem
Anthology: A Literary Guide (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication
Society, 1996). $17.95, traveler's edition.
11. Moshe Hirsch, Ruth Lapidoth and Deborah Housen-Couriel, Whither
Jen/salem? Proposals and Positions Concerning the Future of
Jerusalem (The Hague: Martinue Nijhoff, 1995). Available in Israel
through the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.
12. Allison B. Hodgkins, The Judaization of Jerusalem: Israeli
Policies Since 1967 (Jerusalem: PASSlA, 1996).
13. Ghada Karmi (ed.), Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace
Process? (London: Ithaca Press, 1996).
14. Elihu Katz, Shlomit Levy, and Jerome M. Segal, The Status of
Jerusalem in the Eyes of Israeli Jews (Jerusalem: Guttman Institute
of Applied Social Research, 1997). Available in Israel through
IPCRI. NIS 10.
15. Joel Kotek, Simone Susskind and Steven Kaplan, Brussels and
Jerusalem: From Conflict to Solution (Jerusalem: The Truman
Institute, 1996). $9.00/NIS 25.
16. Sami Musallam, The Struggle for Jerusalem: A Programme of
Action for Peace (Jerusalem: PASSIA, 1996).
17. Mordechai Naor, City of Hope: Jerusalem from Biblical to Modem
Times (Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi, Yediot Achronot-Chemed Books,
18. Nitza Rosovsky (ed.), City of the Great King: Jerusalem from
David to the Present (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard
University Press, 1996). $39.95.
19. Hershel Shanks, Jerusalem: All Archeological Biography (New
York and Toronto: Random House, 1995). $50.00.