In the search for Arab-Israeli peace, “Conventional wisdom” has long held that the thorniest issue for diplomats to resolve is the fate of Jerusalem and, for that reason, it belongs last on the agenda of negotiations. In recent years, some have offered the opposite argument: Because resolving Jerusalem is the sin qua non of any final peace agreement, it belongs on the top of the agenda, before all other issues. Whether first or last on the schedule of negotiations, as the May 1999 deadline looms for the expiration of the Oslo Accords and the completion of “final status” talks, Jerusalem is sure to be at the center of debate.
Jerusalem’s Holy Places and the Peace Process analyzes more than four hundred years of Jerusalem’s history to glean practical, operational lessons from Ottoman, British, Jordanian, and Israeli control of the city and its holy sites: what does and does not work. This study offers a useful guide to negotiators, diplomats, and city planners on how to apply history’s constructive lessons while avoiding its mistakes. It will be a useful tool in the hands of those committed to shoeing a future for Jerusalem based on peace, openness, civility, and tolerance–quantities befitting the Holy City.