Jerusalem’s ultimate status and borders are matters that can only be resolved as part of a negotiated agreement between official Israeli and Palestinian authorities and endorsed by both peoples.
J Street believes that Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem and will be internationally recognized as such in the context of an agreed conflict-ending resolution, through which the majority-Jewish areas of Jerusalem are recognized as the capital of Israel and Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem become the capital of the future Palestinian state.
Negotiations have produced creative ideas for resolving the hardest issues, including sovereignty and management arrangements for the Old City and the Holy Basin that guarantee all Jews freedom of access and worship at the Western Wall, as well as freedom of access and worship for all peoples to their respective holy sites.
In advance of a negotiated resolution, all sides should refrain from unilateral actions – including new construction of Jewish housing in the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, evictions, demolitions and mass revocations of Palestinians’ residency status – that will make the ultimate resolution of this issue even more difficult.
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. J Street therefore regards the Trump administration’s relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem — and claims by President Trump that he had thereby taken the status of Jerusalem “off the table” as a highly provocative and counterproductive step that has demonstrably eroded the United States’ credibility as a mediator in the conflict.
J Street believes the next US administration should reinstate an independent US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem that is physically and institutionally separate from the US Embassy. While the next administration is likely to keep the US Embassy in Jerusalem, it could offset much of the harm caused by the Trump administration’s move by declaring that it is the intention of the United States, upon the achievement of a negotiated resolution to the conflict, to open an embassy in East Jerusalem to the Palestinian state.