Daily Archives: July 24, 2009
The Center for American Progress, an influential think tank in Washington, suggests internationalizing the city and in practice, expropriating it from Israel.
The center is headed by John Podesta who was White House chief of staff in the Clinton era. A founder and prominent member is Mara Rudman, who will now head the team of special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell.
One indication of its influence is the fact that some of its recommendations were put into practice by the administration immediately after Obama assumed office.
In early June, when President Obama was making his Cairo speech, the center discussed the question of sovereignty in Jerusalem. The basic assumption was that the city's status was the main obstacle to reaching an agreement, not just between Israel and the Palestinians but also between Israel and the Arab world. In the course of the conference a plan of Windsor University in Canada was discussed. It was presented by Michael Bell, former Canadian ambassador to Israel, Egypt and Jordan. Bell is also a close friend of Dan Kurtzer, the former American ambassador to Israel, and who a source in Jerusalem says is pushing strongly for adopting the Canadian plan.
The assumption behind the plan is that neither Israel nor the PA can be expected to concede even a millimeter of their demand for sovereignty over the Old City. The way out of the impasse, say the people behind the initiative, is to put aside the question of sovereignty and in the meantime, act for the establishment of a special administration in Jerusalem that would be run by a third party acceptable to both sides
[Israel Resource News Agency has asked for response to this news item from 25 members of the Israeli Knesset. We will see what the response will be - David Bedein]