DIVIDING JERUSALEM IS ‘NATIONAL SUICIDE’
If plans to divide Jerusalem “should not shock us” ( Leader, November 9), it is only because recent Israeli leaders have performed such dramatic U-turns and taken such colossal security risks that the unthinkable has now become possible and even the most sacred has become negotiable.
As if the failures of Oslo accords and the Gaza and Lebanon withdrawals were not sufficiently painful, the mere discussion of concessions on Jerusalem turns the final remaining fragments of the “Zionist dream” into a nightmare. The last time such outrageous plans were mooted, during the Barak administration, they were frustrated only by Palestinian intransigence. This time, at Annapolis, the Palestinians might just decide to accept the plans, seeing the division of Israel’s capital as the most significant milestone yet towards the achievement of their ultimate aim.
At this time of political blindness, we must intensify our prayers for miraculous intervention since, at the human level, the policies of Olmert and his cohorts chart the pathway to national suicide. Brian Gordon High Street, Edgware, Middx HA8
A solution acceptable to all parties depends on how you define Jerusalem.
The municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, which Israel lived with from 1948 to 1967, were radically redrawn after the Six-Day War, and have been subject to a number of revisions since. The obvious solution is to redefine the boundaries of Jerusalem one last time — and, in so doing, to define the boundaries of a new municipality, AlQuds. The new Jerusalem municipality would encompass the Jewish suburbs and as many of the settlements in the current Jerusalem as practicable; the municipality of Al-Quds would cover the mainly Arab suburbs, and also the adjacent Arab towns of the West Bank.
An agreed redrawing of boundaries would enable Israel to have Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the new sovereign Palestinian state would acquire its own sister capital, Al-Quds. This solution would, of course, still leave the matter of the administration of the holy places in the Old City for resolution. Neville Teller Stonegrove, Edgware HA8
Since the plans of the Israeli government include ceding the Temple Mount to the Palestinians, how would the Israeli government address the possibility that the Temple Mount be converted into a missile launch site that could reach all of Israel? It would make the perfect shield, because any attempt to retaliate could result in damage to the mosques and thus inspire more widespread violence. Herbert Kaine Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Let us agree to the Israeli government talking about dividing Jerusalem with the Palestinian Muslims. However, Israel must do nothing until such time that the British government gives a part of London to the two million Muslims in the UK for their self-determination; the French government gives a part of Paris to the 5.5 million Muslims in France; and so on, throughout Christian Europe. Dr John Slome Walm Lane, London, NW2