In the afternoon, Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann toured the city with our group, explaining in detail why he thinks Secretary of State John Kerry is the area’s last hope for peace – and how that peace will look.
Seidemann gave a similar tour to three Republican U.S. senators Saturday and has direct lines to Israel’s and America’s governments. He knows the politicians, and he knows the politics.
His solution: two states. The settlement blocs will become part of Israel, which will pay Palestine back 1:1 in land. East Jerusalem will fall in Palestine, West Jerusalem in Israel. The Old City will likely have a mix of divided sovereignty and international governance – with no physical boundary within the Old City.
It is a question of land. It is not a question of building relationships between Palestinians and Israelis to the point where they can all live harmoniously in the current system. That will not happen.
Peace-building has many layers, and, in the current situation, a political solution that would remove Israeli soldiers from Palestinian cities and towns would allow breathing room for the other layers of peace to thrive.
Danny offered me a glimpse of this hope – hope for creation of a space where cross-cultural relationships can grow more freely. But the map he sketched out is jeopardized by expanding settlements throughout the West Bank.
Diplomats and friends ask him, “Is it still there?,” referring to a line that could feasibly separate one country from the other.
For now, Danny says it is. But he believes Kerry is the last and best hope. Otherwise, that line will disappear.