I still plan to comment on the Obama Israel speech at AIPAC—which contained some important affirmations on the change he offers on this issue too: prioritizing the peace process—from day one, supporting Israeli-Syria negotiations, understanding why Iraq was a disaster in a regional context, and hard-bargain diplomacy with Iran. And the debate he ignited with that Jerusalem comment: “And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.” Since clarified: “Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations.” Bottom line, words are also codes and the code of “undivided Jerusalem” can be re-interpreted to mean barbed wire—but it sends the wrong signal.
I won’t get into it more now. Israel and Palestinian leaders are negotiating the division of Jerusalem anyway. So, I will leave you with 3 references before we get to the fun stuff…
1) This is what the Clinton parameters of Dec. 2000 have to say on the subject:
Jerusalem: The general principle is that Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish ones are Israeli. This would apply to the Old City as well. I urge the two sides to work on maps to create maximum contiguity for both sides.
2) Here is Dennis Ross on the subject from his book The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace: On page 774-5, Dennis calls it an Israeli myth
that all of Jerusalem, including the exclusively Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, must remain Israeli lest the division of East Jerusalem rob Israel of its link to its Jewish heritage.
And in this NYT op-ed from January 2007, he says the following:
The basic trade-offs require meeting Israeli needs on security and refugees on the one hand and Palestinian needs on territory and a capital in Arab East Jerusalem on the other
3) And here is current Israeli Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon speaking at the Israel Policy Forum last December:
In 1967, after the Six Day War, Israel annexed twenty-eight villages that historically were part of the West Bank and defined them as Jerusalem. They had never been Jerusalem. Now, they are part of Jerusalem. So the response to those who say, “You want to divide Jerusalem,” is to say that we are not diving anything…On Jerusalem, it’s clear and in the interest of both sides that east Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state and that its Arab neighborhoods will be under Palestinian sovereignty.
But hay, it’s almost shabbos, let’s not get Talmudic about dividing Jerusalem—far more enjoyable to watch is this splendid clip from Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”…enjoy.