Jerusalem’s ultimate status and borders should be negotiated and resolved as part of an agreement between official Israeli and Palestinian authorities and endorsed by both peoples.
J Street would support the approach outlined in the Clinton parameters and other models of a two-state solution under which the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem would fall under Israeli sovereignty and the Arab neighborhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty. Negotiations have produced creative ideas for resolving the hardest issues, including sovereignty and management arrangements for the Old City and the Holy Basin that guarantees all Jews freedom of access and worship at the Wailing Wall, as well as freedom of access and worship to for all peoples to their respective holy sites.
J Street does believe that Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem and will be internationally recognized as such in the context of an agreed two-state solution. We believe that the surest way to achieve that international recognition for the Israeli capital in Jerusalem is through a negotiated and viable two-state solution whereby Jewish areas of Jerusalem are secured as the capital of Israel and Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem become the capital of the future Palestinian state.
In advance of negotiations, all sides should refrain from unilateral actions – including new construction of Jewish housing in the eastern part of the city, evictions, demolitions and mass revocations of Palestinians’ residency status– that will make the ultimate resolution of this issue even more difficult. J Street is therefore deeply concerned by ever-increasing tensions in Jerusalem and recent provocative actions being taken by the Israeli government and settler groups there, including approval of new Israeli housing construction in occupied East Jerusalem, the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and reports that Israel has stripped record numbers of Palestinians of their Jerusalem residency status in recent years.
American elected officials should respect the need for the permanent status of Jerusalem to be determined in the context of a negotiated two-state solution, and refrain from steps, rhetorical or practical, that inflame an already tense situation – for instance, calling for the immediate relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem.