A Position Paper
SHARING JERUSALEM : The HOME & GARDEN Plan
By Daniel Mark, M.A., B.Ed.
The Old City walls form the perimeter of a structure which is comparable to a very large HOME (a gigantic, partially open mansion); while the area to the right, [possibly from Sheikh Jarrach to Jabal Mukhabar or possibly just "A-Tur" (the Mt. of Olives)] between the Old City walls and the recently constructed Arab Israeli Security Fence could be comparable to the home's backyard and GARDEN.
The people living in either the “Home” or “Garden” could have special residential status. Each of these individuals would be given the right to choose either Israeli or Ishmaeli citizenship. Each of these residents would then be granted the legal right to enter (and exit) the “Home & Garden” freely from (and into) the country listed on their identity card (possibly through ‘local gateways’ dedicated for "Residential and Diplomatic" use only; while other border crossings from the State of Israel and the potential State of Ishmael would be available to everyone). Eventually as peace becomes more and more established, the border crossings could become more and more open, allowing the free exchange of goods, tourism and other businesses to flourish.
Together the “Home & Garden” could create a Neutral Buffer Zone (NBZ) owned by both the Ishmaelis and Israelis. This could dramatically enhance human rights, economic stability, peaceful coexistence, as well as responsible security, in the State of Israel and the State of Ishmael.
The local gateways and border crossings between the NBZ and the Israeli border would be controlled by Israelis and monitored by Ishmaelis as well as peacekeepers from a Pool of Neutral International Observers (PNIO). Likewise the local gateways and border crossings between the NBZ and the Ishmaeli border would be controlled by Ishmaelis and monitored by Israelis as well as peacekeepers from the PNIO. Furthermore this would allow peaceful negotiations to move forward between the Ishmaelis and Israelis, significantly reducing the size of disputed lands and hostilities.
A number of new gateways and/or border crossings could also be opened when the conditions warrant a celebration of our progress toward “Responsible Peace and Security”. Each new opening would encourage further cooperation as well as foreign investment in the region.
A pedestrian bridge could also be built between the Mt. of Olives and the Al Aksa Compound to facilitate safety, to ease vehicular traffic, to create jobs as well as to reduce congestion at the Al Aksa Compound’s existing entry ways and exits.
By creating a “University of Interfaith Cooperation” somewhere in the NBZ, we could create a tremendous amount of employment and prosperity as well. Plus the Univ. of Interfaith Cooperation could promote multicultural understanding, compassionate communications, sustainability and ecotourism.
These projects in concert with the Sharing Jerusalem: Home and Garden arrangement could enhance the local and state economies dramatically. Each step of the way could reinforce our commitments to work together and act as motivators for Israelis and Ishmaelis to understand each other better. Furthermore media coverage would give the rest of the world something real, positive and tangible to ponder. Completion of the building projects would also be a triumphant historical event that would clearly point to the success of our cooperative efforts.
When discussing the GARDEN area between the Old City walls and the recently constructed Arab Israeli Security Fence, we are mainly concerned about the area between Hebrew University Mount Scopus and East Talpiot; but it could even be a ring completely encircling the Old City. The size of this area could be set and/or adjusted to satisfy the governments of Ishmael and Israel.
The GARDEN is a partially enclosed hill with terraced orchards, olive groves, apartments, churches, mosques, cemeteries and open terrain.
To allow peaceful government negotiations to move forward between the Ishmaelis and Israelis, all personal disputes involving property within this area could go through a process of subsidized, international mediation. To facilitate this process and to keep costs as low as possible, the early stages of mediation could probably be handled by computer, with appeals handled by an equal number of professional Israeli, Ishmaeli and International mediators.
I also recommend that Home and Garden property owners who want to build within this area would require building permits approved by a “Sustainable Land Use Committee” composed of an equal number of professionals from Israel, Ishmael and the PNIO with standards applied fairly and equally to all concerned.
During times of good or excellent cooperation between the Israeli and the Ishmaeli governments, the border crossings serving these areas could be very open (subject only to electronic searching) thus allowing business, personal, spiritual and tourist exchanges to flourish. During such times, border guards could maintain a low (almost invisible) presence.
In times of poor or failing cooperation, the border crossings serving these areas could be controlled more carefully or even closed if necessary (the residents would still be able to use the local gateways between the “Home & Garden” and the country listed in their identity card. During such times, border guards and the PNIO could be more visible while encouraging calm and consideration, protecting human rights and exercising physical restraint. Arabs & Israelis wishing to travel between Ishmael and Israel could also be required to have a visa.
Each new gateway or border crossing that is opened can be celebrated as a sign of progress toward “Responsible Peace and Security”. And each one would create opportunities for cooperation as well as a reminder to encourage spiritual involvement and/or foreign investment in the region.
In each of the building projects, the dates for the groundbreaking ceremonies, the timetable for construction as well as the opening ceremonies, could be based on some measures of government cooperation. Because these projects could enhance the local and state economies dramatically, each step of the way could act as a motivator for Israelis and Ishmaelis to work together and to understand each other better. Furthermore the ongoing media coverage would give the world something real, positive and tangible to ponder. Plus the completion would be a triumphant historical event that would clearly point to the success of our cooperative efforts.
for more information: www.jerusaleminonespirit.blogspot.com