Japan in Their Own Words (JITOW)/日本からの意見

The Future of Jerusalem
KITAMURA Fumio  / Professor of international relations at Shukutoku University

October 8, 2000
In July Camp David negotiations, initiated by President Clinton to determine the final status of Palestine, between Mr. Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority and Mr. Barak, Prime Minister of Israel, broke down. In mid-September peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the official level also were suspended. The stumbling block was the issue of the status of Jerusalem, in particular, the sharp disagreement between the two parties concerning the jurisdiction over the Holy Sites in the Old Jerusalem.

The negotiations to settle this issue remind us of the agony of Sisyphos in Greek mythology. The giant rock had been carried to the summit by the King of Corinthians only to be seen falling down the slope. Will this analogy continue to be valid regarding the futile efforts so far made to bring about peace in the Middle Eastern region?

I am of the view that this round of negotiations at Camp David as well as at the official level has registered a historic turning point in the peace negotiations in that, for the first time, it squarely addressed the question of Jerusalem, which has so far been circumvented. Practically no serious efforts have been made to remove this dangerous fuse from this Middle Eastern time bomb.

At Camp David the top leaders of the two antagonists staked their political lives under the US mediation, opening this Box of Pandora for the first time. Scrutinizing newspaper reports on the process of the negotiations, there seem indications for movement, though very scanty, in this long-stalled intractable problem, although there is no reference to it in the joint statement issued by three leaders at the end of the negotiations. What attracts our utmost attention is the press report that Prime Minister Barak proposed an "extensive autonomy" in the Palestine area in East Jerusalem and Palestinian "jurisdiction" over Muslim Holy Site. If this report is correct, we must highly rate that the Israeli leader has shown courageous willingness to change its traditional position that Jerusalem, both old and new, is the "integral and unseparable Capital of Israel".

Although this round of negotiations proved fruitless, there must exist certain common understanding between the two parties to the negotiations. It is this understanding that the two parties must accept to co-exist with each other based on certain modus operandi which enable their common survival. I wish to believe that, because of this understanding the Palestinian Central Committee refrained from announcing Palestinian independence on September 13, the date hitherto declared as its deadline. On the other hand Prime Minister Barak started to reduce political influence of religious power, by taking measures such as the abolition of the Ministry of Religion. Such secularization of Israeli politics is not unrelated to efforts to expand discretionary power of the government in peace negotiations.

The issue of sovereignty over Jerusalem with the holy sites of the important three monotheisms of the world is not simply the one concerning who rules the old quarter of Jerusalem surrounded by the 4.5kilometer stretch of walls. Jerusalem embodies the national pride and symbol of identity encompassing religion, history, culture and practically everything. Therefore, it is not possible to solve the issue by simply drawing a borderline on the map. Such borderline on the paper is sheer nonsense. For the believers in Judaism, Christianity and Islam all over the world, Jerusalem is holy. For mankind at large, too, the city is precious cultural and historical heritage.

Because of the utmost importance of Jerusalem I think that the parties must accept a solution transcending conventional legal rules and law of the nations or banal viewpoints of international relations. In this connection, my attention has been drawn to the recent statement made by Yossi Beilin, Minister of Justice in an interview with a Japanese newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun(September 6). He said that the solution of the jurisdiction over Jerusalem requires such concepts as "sovereignty of God", "common jurisdiction" or "sovereignty excercized by the protector (of the Holy Site)." He also expressed the hope for the desirability of an "expression which makes the both parties victorious."

The writer is a professor of international relations at Shukutoku University. He previously served as the Yomiuri Shimbun's London Bureau Chief and Senior Editor.
The English-Speaking Union of Japan

北村 文夫 / 淑徳大学教授(国際関係論)

2000年 10月 8日
パレスチナの最終地位確定を目指し、クリントン米大統領の仲介で行われたアラファト・パレスチナ自治政府議長とバラク・イスラエル首相のキャンプ・デービッド交渉が7月末に決裂した。 その後のパレスチナ、イスラエルの和平交渉代表者による会談も、 9月半ばに中断された。交渉を空転させているのは、聖都エルサレムの帰属問題、ことに旧市街聖地の主権をめぐるパレスチナとイスラエルのきびしい主張対立である。



キャンプ・デービッドでは、アメリカ仲介のもとで双方の首脳が政治的な生命を賭けつつ、はじめてパンドラの箱を開けるという行動に踏み切ったのである。交渉の最終文書には盛り込めなかったものの、討議過程を伝えるニュースは固着状態のこの難題がわずかながらも動き出した兆候をうかがわせる。公式文書には明示されなかった不可視の次元の動きで、もっとも注目すべきはバラク首相が東エルサレムのパレスチナ人地域の 「広範な自治権」とパレスチナ側による旧市街イスラム聖地の「管轄権」の受け入れを提示したとの報道である。新旧エルサレムを「統一した不可分のイスラエル首都」という従来のイスラエルの立場からすれば、この提案は勇気のある決断と評価してよいだろう。


三つの一神教の聖地をもつエルサレムの帰属問題は、単に全長4・5キロの城壁に囲まれる旧市街の領有権の行方という問題にとどまらない。宗教、歴史、文化などすべて総合した民族的な誇りとアイデンティティの象徴として、エルサレムが存在している。 それだけに、地上に線を引くような形で問題を解決するのは、望ましくないし、またその境界線に実際的な効果を期待するのは不可能だろう。エルサレムはいわば多くの国の異なる宗教の信徒にとって、かけがえのない聖地であり、人類にとっては文化的、歴史的な貴重な遺産なのである。

それだけに、これまでの国際法規とか国際関係の視点を超越した解決策が必要だと思う。こうした視点から、イスラエルのヨシ・ベリン法相が読売新聞とのインタビューで、 エルサレム帰属について「神の主権」「共有主権」「(聖地)保護者主権」など「双方が勝利者となるような表現が望ましい」(読売新聞、9月6日朝刊)と、注目すべき発言をしていることを付記しておきたい。

一般社団法人 日本英語交流連盟