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European Council on Foreign Relations





By - 10 December 2013

The Oslo Accords defined East Jerusalem as an issue to be settled in a final status agreement, and it is difficult to envisage a two-state solution that does not address this issue. The Palestinians recognise Israeli claims to West Jerusalem, while the fate of the Old City remains a contentious issue. Israeli fears over continued access to the holy sites in the event of a final status agreement persist and have traditionally been part of the equation during peace talks. Conversely, there is no Israeli consensus regarding acceptance of occupied East Jerusalem as being Palestinian.

Proposals for the shared, joint, or divided administration of East Jerusalem have long accompanied the peace process. The Clinton Parameters envisioned dividing sovereignty in East Jerusalem beyond the Old City walls along ethnic lines and, for the Old City itself, suggested Jewish sovereignty over the Western Wall and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The informal Geneva Initiative endorsed and further fleshed out these provisions. The Olmert-Abbas talks, which followed the 2007 Annapolis conference, apparently were based on a more international solution for the Old City. The applicability of these proposals, however, in part depends on the demographic and political alignment on the ground.

While the diplomatic process on Jerusalem has long stagnated, the realities on the ground keep changing. This category tracks these changes and evaluates to which degree they strain or sustain the possibility of sharing or dividing sovereignty in Jerusalem.


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