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Jerusalem / A Solution for the Old City:

Territorial Sovereignty Model

The territorial sovereignty model divides control over the
Old City between the two sides. For example, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak supported granting Israeli sovereignty to the Jewish and Armenian Quarters, with Palestinian sovereignty over the Christian and Muslim Quarters. Likewise, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has supported this model, with Palestinian sovereignty over all areas except for the Jewish Quarter. 


Pros and Cons of the Territorial Sovereignty Model



  • Compatible with the underlying logic of the two-state solution, with a binary division that lends itself to an end of claims.

  • Requires minimal Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, and provides clear legal authority on sensitive issues like property claims and residency rights.

  • Clear separation minimizes Palestinian fears that Israel will exert its control over the whole area, and minimizes Israeli fears that Palestinians will try to shift the demographic balance.



  • Hard division requires each side to waive its sovereignty and control over key religious and historical sites that wind up on the other side of the border.

  • Allows each side to inflict pain on the other without crossing the border — such as by restricting access to or threatening the integrity of the other side’s holy sites.

  • Might require a physical boundary in the Old City, which may disrupt its urban fabric and symbolic cohesion.

  • Creates logistical challenges for border crossings and tourism needs, as well as special arrangements for access to holy sites.

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