Contested Sites in Jerusalem : The Jerusalem Old City Initiative book cover
1st Edition

Contested Sites in Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Old City Initiative

ISBN 9781138666641
Published November 16, 2017 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Contested Sites in Jerusalem is the third and final volume in a series of books which collectively present in detail the work of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative, or JOCI, a major Canadian-led Track Two diplomatic effort, undertaken between 2003 and 2014. The aim of the Initiative was to find sustainable governance solutions for the Old City of Jerusalem, arguably the most sensitive and intractable of the final status issues dividing Palestinians and Israelis.

This book examines the complex and often contentious issues that arise from the overlapping claims to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, the role of UNESCO, and the major implications of the JOCI Special Regime for such issues as archaeology, property, and the economy. Part I is dedicated to holy sites – ground zero of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a point reinforced by the autumn 2014 disturbances which threatened to spiral out of control and engulf Palestinians and Israelis in yet another wave of violence. Parts II–IV of the volume contain studies on archaeology, property, and economics that were written after the completion of the Special Regime model, specifically to address in depth how a Special Regime would deal with each of these three important areas.

Contested Sites in Jerusalem offers an insightful explanation of the enormous challenges facing any attempt to find sustainable governance and security arrangements for the Old City in the context of a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It will therefore be of immense value to the policy-making community, as well as anyone in academia with a focus on Middle East politics, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and the Middle East peace process.

Table of Contents


Part 1 Holy Sites

1. Options for the Administration of the Holy Places in the Old City of Jerusalem, Yitzhak Reiter

2. A Security and Management Framework for the Holy Sites of the Old City, Michael Dumper

3.The International Law of Holy Places in the Old City of Jerusalem, Marshall Breger and Leonard Hammer

4. International Norms and the Preservation of Culture and Heritage in the Old City of Jerusalem: a Study of the Role of UNESCO, Michael Dumper

Part II Archaeology, Property, and Economics

On Archaeology

5. Archaeology and an Old City Special Regime, Nazmi al-Jubeh and Daniel Seidemann

6. Sustainable Management of Archaeology and Heritage in Jerusalem’s Old City, Lynn Swartz Dodd

On Property
7. Land Use and Ownership in the Old City of Jerusalem, Nazmi al-Jubeh and Daniel Seidemann

8. Property under the Old City Special Regime, Anneke Smit and David Viveash

On Economics

9. Implications of Alternative Israeli-Palestinian Trade Agreements on the Jerusalem Old City Special Regime, Nadav Halevi and Ephraim Kleiman


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Tom Najem is Project Manager of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative and Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Windsor, Canada.

Michael J. Molloy is Co-Director of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative and Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Canada.

Michael Bell is Co-Director of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative, Adjunct Professor at the University of Windsor, and Senior Fellow at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, Canada.

John Bell is Co-Director of the Jerusalem Old City Initiative and Director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Programme at the Toledo International Center for Peace, Spain.


In this third and final volume of The Jerusalem Old City Initiative, the authors have delved into what one has termed "ground zero" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, namely the holy sites in Jerusalem. This volume reminds us that the issues related to the holy sites extend beyond Israelis and Palestinians, and are of immense importance to other important stakeholders, including the world community of Christian, Muslim and Jewish believers. As complex and emotionally-charged as religious issues in Jerusalem can be to all parties, the authors demonstrate practical and workable solutions for control, access, security and preservation of the dignity of the places holy to the three great monotheistic religions. This is a critical, must read for statesmen, negotiators and leaders of all faiths. It is an equally critical reminder that seemingly intractable problems, including religious problems, are resolvable.

Daniel Kurtzer, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and Israel