Saturday, November 12, 2011

Architect for Peace - Chapter 5 - Jerusalem


What is the Value of Jerusalem?


The city of Jerusalem has been fought over for centuries. Greeks, Romans, Persians, Christians, Muslims, Jews and others have controlled the city since its creation. There are only 2 reasons that people would fight over a city:
  1. It’s valuable
  2. It’s in the way
In this case, Number 1 is more applicable than number 2. So if so many people think Jerusalem is valuable, then just what is the Value of Jerusalem?

In the past, Jerusalem was a center of trade. Caravans crossed the desert from the Far East consisting of spices, fabrics, gold, myrrh, frankincense and much more. These items were destined for Europe, and Jerusalem was the perfect transit point (the sea route to Europe was treacherous).

Today Jerusalem is at best a regional trade center. It isn’t a port city which is essential for today’s (container ship) economy – so its (prime) value is no longer (mainly) in commerce. So what is its value today?

Because of its location and history, Jerusalem is a center of culture. It is the most holy site for both Judaism and Christianity and an important site for Islam. This culture draws religious scholars (from 3 faiths), scientists (archaeologists, anthropologists, others) and tourists.

Here’s a question for you to answer, if there were a lasting peace in the Middle East, would you visit Jerusalem? I think the answer to that question is YES for millions if not billions of people. I think that – right there – is the Value of Jerusalem. Just about everyone wants to visit – to celebrate the history and culture of the city.

The Compromise

In order to have Israel give up (sole) control of Jerusalem -  that would be the only thing that they give up. And "give up" is not quite accurate - Israel would agree to share the control of Jerusalem. But whom would they share "control" with?

By using a business analogy - control should be shared with "stakeholders" - people/groups with a vested interest in keeping Jerusalem "healthy". I listed some of them above. Now for my proposal.

The sovereign government of Jerusalem

Motto: Unfettered access to the holy city for all who come in peace.

The city will be governed by a city council. This council will consist of (appointees) :
  • The Canadian Governor General - Council president (with full veto power).
  • An Israeli Government Official - Council vice president (veto power over Western city decisions).
  • A Palestinian Government Official - Council vice president (veto power over Eastern city decisions).
  • Three religious representatives (Christian,Muslim,Jew) - Council members (veto power over religious decisions).
  • Science adviser (archaeologist,anthropologist) - Council member (no veto).

In addition, there would be an advisory council (with no voting power) consisting of:
  • Two NGOs (Sierra Club, Red Crescent, DWB, etc.).
  • Six citizens living in Jerusalem - consisting of 2 Jew, 2 Muslim, and 2 Christian members.

The future of Jerusalem is to have good tourism income, great scientific access (excavations), along with traditional religious customs. Any future building in the city would need to improve upon these strengths (more hotels than apartments, more seminaries than factories, more museums than stadiums ).

More thoughts in Appendix A


No comments:

Post a Comment