The press and the blogosphere keep restating that U.S. President Barack Obama administration considers launching its own peace initiative.
The details mentioned are [n]either new [n]or surprising: Israel should live alongside a Palestinian state; the Arab parts of Jerusalem will be the Palestinian Capital, and there will be a land-swap to compensate the Palestinians for the major settlement blocs.
Zbigniew Brzezinski has recently fleshed out some details of this proposal and has added a crucial element that I have advocated in the past: Obama should come to the Knesset and present his peace proposal in person,
The only solution for the holy basin is, as Bill Clinton already proposed in the 1990s, internationalizing it, thus avoiding a ‘victory’ of one religion over another. Obama will have to address the humanity common to believers of all faiths. He will have to urge them to break the horrible link of filial sacrifice associated with the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem city. In doing so, he will have to receive the imprimatur of the Arab League in general and Saudi Arabia in particular.
history shows that the willingness of the majority of Israelis to compromise on Jerusalem depends on the extent to which they believe that such compromise will lead peace and lasting security for Israel.
During the late 90s, when hope for peace was high, a large percentage of Israelis were willing to accept the partition of Jerusalem. As recent polls show, seventy percent of Israelis continue to favor the two-state solution, but the same proportion believes that this solution is not attainable in the foreseeable future. Correspondingly the willingness to compromise on Jerusalem is low.
To change Israelis’ pessimism about the possibility of peace, Obama will have to heed Brzezinski?s advice: he will have to bring central figures of the Arab League to Jerusalem; they will have to address the Knesset, thus showing that they truly accept Israel?s existence.