The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Peace Process
Since its establishment, the Jerusalem Institute has dealt with the issue of Jerusalem’s geo-political future. We thought that regarding the most intractable disagreement between Israel and its neighbors, the voice of the experts, who are not operating under a myriad of pressures, should be heard.
In our mind, this was a multi-disciplinary task; therefore, experts were invited to join, reflecting a broad range of expertise: urban planning, law, economics, geography, history, international relations, Middle East studies, religious studies, and demography. The Institute’s knowledge bases sustained their work. The modus operandi was teamwork, with each meeting being led by an expert, and the experts submitting their position papers one after the other. Throughout the entire process, a dialog was held with policy makers, limited or expanded policy papers were published, and field excursions were held in order to gain intimate knowledge of the reality.
Throughout the years, numerous papers were published. Some of them were in-depth works that shed light on a narrow issue within the overall picture, and some of them were summary papers presenting up-to-date and diverse knowledge.
On the eve of the peace talks in Camp David in 2000, the Institute published the paper “Peacemaking in Jerusalem”, which analyzed three different approaches to resolving the Jerusalem issue, while clarifying the background data of which leaders must be aware. This paper was the focal point of the negotiating team’s discussions, and a representative of the Jerusalem Institute, Reuven Merhav, was invited to participate.
In recent years, the work of the team has continued, though its members and goals have changed. Currently, it is the 'East Jerusalem Forum' . A significant emphasis is placed on becoming familiar with the people in the field who are in contact with the population in Jerusalem. Discussions are held with policy makers and the changing reality is being continuously learned. Brainstorming and encouraging creative ideas are a constant.