Nobel Prize winner, Elie Wiesel in a newspaper ad urged the world to set aside Jerusalem as a point of contention and recognize the historic city does not belong in the political arena. “for me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture– and not a single time the Koran… The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate, but about memory.” His basic argument is the Jerusalem issue is too complex and should be set aside while other issues are resolved. “Why not first take steps which will allow the Israel and Palestinian communities to find ways to live together in an atmosphere of security.” Any Jew would agree with Wiesel that Jerusalem is inextricably linked to their past and religion. But, during the intervening years, Jerusalem has also become part of the memory of Christians and Muslims.
Ironically, embedded in the Wiesel ad is a possible solution to the problem of the Israel and Palestinian conflict. First, one must set aside politics. That means, Israel decisions can not be influenced by the religious right wing. It means violent groups can not influence Palestinian decisions. Of course, such an approach is not on the horizon with the current Netanyahu government.