The Institute this month hosted delegations from the UJA Federations of New York and Detroit, providing them with a comprehensive analysis of Jerusalem in the context of the peace process as well as current affairs, from demographic and economic statistics to cultural developments.
Addressing the New York group, JIIS Head Prof. Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov
noted that Jerusalem was a "taboo" subject until the Camp David summit meeting of 2000. "JIIS' contribution was to outline and develop ideas that could be included in discussions on the permanent solution. These were presented at Camp David." He added that institutionalized bodies, such as the Foreign Ministry, were not previously free to explore such options. "But to resolve a conflict you need solutions – and we were able to draft options that could serve this purpose at the negotiation table."
The UJA Detroit delegation was taken by JIIS researchers Prof. Yitzhak Reiter
and Yair Assaf-Shapira
for an informative tour of the city, including the controversial Sheikh Jarrah quarter in East Jerusalem, which is the subject of a major JIIS project (see related article in this newsletter).
The Institute also provided briefings to some members of the diplomatic corps. The Netherlands Ambassador to Israel Michiel den Hond had a very lively discussion with Bar-Siman-Tov, Director-General Meir Kraus, Israel Kimhi and other staffers and received an overview on the meta-narratives of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The same team reviewed the peace process, from 1993 to today, with a group of Australian envoys, some serving in Canberra and others in Australian embassies around the Middle East. Bar-Siman-Tov outlined the thesis of his new book, Barriers to Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict [link??], and Kimhi then led the group on a tour of Jerusalem's security fence.