Jerusalem / 1937, 1947, 1967 / The Planning of the City
The Jewish agency partition plan of 1937 (unrealised) for Jerusalem “sought to retain the maximum possible Jewish population and landed property within the Jewish state. It therefore proposed that the Jewish inhabited western and northern districts of the new city, together with Mount Scopus, be included in the Jewish state”(Wasserstein, 2001, Pg. 113). The main focus was to provide maximum for the Jews and so instead of internationalising the old city (which would be of Christian and Muslim interest) they propose to assign the old city ‘under the plan to residual mandatory area’. This would mean that the Jews would yet have a foothold in the old city of Jerusalem as well.
The United Nations Corpus Separatum (1947) plan “favoured termination of the mandate and partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with an internationalised Jerusalem… the grounds for doing so were based mainly on the importance of maintaining peace in a city containing holy places of three world faiths… Jerusalem was to be demilitarised and neutralised… The Jewish Agency was prepared to accept the plan, albeit with reservations and the secret hope that they might enlarge the boundaries of the Jewish state in the war that seemed now almost inevitable”.
Jerusalem from the mid-19th to the General Armistice Agreement of 1949
Jerusalem acquired legal status both as a city and district in the mid-19th century. It was under the British power that the city’s municipal borders were tampered with ‘in order to tilt the demographic balance In favour of the Jewish community… whereby many of the Jewish neighbourhoods were incorporated into the city while adjacent Arab villages remained outside the municipal boundaries’.
“The Western boundaries (abutting Jewish neighbourhoods) were made to stretch for several kilometres, while the southern and eastern boundaries; abutting Arab areas were stretched by only several metres” Khalil Toufakji (Geographer)
The map as illustrated which is in accordance to the General Armistice Agreement of 1949, depicts a ‘kind of hook to the West of the city.’ This affected Jerusalem in a way where Arab communities which were close to the city were excluded whereas the Jewish communities to the West make up ‘the strange hook’.
Jerusalem since 1967
‘We have united Jerusalem… We have returned to the holiest of our Holy Places, never to part from it again” Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Dayan at the Western Wall
The unification led to the proposal of extending the borders within the city and “it was mainly on this newly incorporated land that Israel over the next thirty years, built a great ring of Jewish suburbs that helped to more than double the population of the city” (Wasserstein, 2001, Pg 212).
All these plans for the city of Jerusalem depict how religion has led to splits within communities, and these also point out to the way in which most plans of partition favoured the Jews to a certain extent finally ending up with the extension of boundaries that would support the influx of Jews into Jerusalem. What contributes to the argument as explained in ‘Jerusalem- A Piece of Land or a Land of Peace’ is the fact that all these maps indicate the way in which the city of Jerusalem was shaped which is in this case how land was encroached, whether initially as a proposal or finally as a product
– Wasserstein, Bernard, Divided Jerusalem – The Struggle for the Holy City (2001), Yale University Press
– Munir Akash, Moughrabi Fouad – The Open Veins of Jerusalem, Second edition (2005)