Our policy

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 believes 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– as outlined in the Clinton parameters and subsequent discussions between the parties– 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.

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 to 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 Arab 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. 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 Arab neighborhoods of 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.

More from J Street

Tough Questions

“What’s wrong with building Jewish neighborhoods inside Jerusalem-the capital of the state of Israel?”

Any two-state solution must meet the Palestinian desire to establish a Palestinian capital in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. The reality is that Jerusalem is, in many ways, already a divided city almost completely divided between East and West. Building Israeli homes in and around the neighborhoods most likely to become part of a future Palestinian capital makes an eventual solution more difficult. Furthermore, it inflames tensions between Israeli and Palestinian Jerusalem residents, which is a source of ongoing violence in the city.

“Won’t both parties refuse to accept concessions on Jerusalem?”

Jerusalem is, for all intents and purposes, divided between Israeli West Jerusalem and Palestinian East Jerusalem. Israeli and Palestinian experts have drawn up proposals that allow each party to maintain sovereignty over their respective areas. Ultimately, a compromise can be arrived that respects the historic and legitimate claims of both sides with special arrangements for the old city and Holy Basin.


Watch our Youtube Live conversation “How to Share Jerusalem”

Further reading