'The lack of trust between Israel and the PA... justifies some international intervention.'
By ETGAR LEFKOVITSIsrael and the Palestinians should allow the international community to supervise Jerusalem's Temple Mount and the city's other holy sites, a study carried out by a liberal Jerusalem think tank and released Tuesday said.
"The strong connection of members of all monotheistic religions to the city on the one hand, and the lack of trust between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the other justifies some international intervention in overseeing the area, especially from the security
standpoint and with regard to preserving the holy sites," the study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies states.
The document, titled "Jerusalem's Historic Basin - a Situation Report and Alternatives for a Solution," offers five different solutions to the bitterly contested question of sovereignty over the city's holy
sites. They include full Israeli control over the sites; full Palestinian sovereignty; territorial division of the basin between the two sides, with international supervision to help monitor and settle disputes; a distribution of powers in the basin between the two sides, with international backing or Authority over the historical basin; and entrusting the authority of the historical sites to an international body, which can delegate powers to both sides in certain aspects.
The study states that continued full Israeli sovereignty would be rejected the Palestinians and the international community, while Palestinian sovereignty would likewise be rejected by Israel.
The study's researchers conclude that entrusting the authority of the historical sites to an international body is the preferable and the most realistic option provided that both sides can put their faith in an international body and in its ability to run the holy sites fairly.
The study, which was widely criticized by Israeli politicians on both the right and left, notes that both sides may in fact perceive international sovereignty on the Temple Mount as a desecration and try to fight such a plan.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski called the proposal an "irresponsible political and populist plan" which has been rehashed during an election campaign.
He said that it was simply unacceptable that the most holy site in Judaism would fall under international control.