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This is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. And guess who agrees?

OTTAWA (AFP) — A solution to Jerusalem could be a “special regime” that administers the Old City without dividing it, leaving the thorny issue of sovereignty for a future date, two former diplomats wrote.

In the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs, professors Michael Bell of Canada and Daniel Kurtzer of the United States, both former ambassadors in the Middle East, propose a way to deal with Jerusalem in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

They suggest creating an impartial, Old City Special Regime (OCSR) chosen by the Israelis and Palestinians together, that would appoint a chief administrator.

“The most promising alternative to a street-by-street, site-by-site division of the Old City is to construct a special regime that defers the issue of sovereignty and instead focuses on how to administer and manage the Old City with strong third-party participation,” the two experts write in the magazine.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem — which includes the Old City and its numerous holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians — after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The Palestinians want Jerusalem to become the capital of their future state.

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Saturday that “there will never be peace” in the Middle East unless Israel and the Palestinians share Jerusalem.”

Bell — Canada’s former ambassador to Egypt, Israel and Jordan — and Kurtzer — a former US ambassador to Egypt and Israel — said that “quite simply, the Old City cannot be divided between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“It is too small, too densely populated, too architecturally linked, and the Israelis and the Palestinians are too riven by systemic distrust for them to govern the Old City on their own.”

(read the rest here)

Thank God Olmert is getting out of there.

Kurtzer and Bell are right: the Old city cannot be divided. And that’s why it never will be.

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