One of the interesting aspects of the original 1947 partition plan that the United Nations had envisaged and decided for Palestine, (UN Resolution 181) was the concept that it had for Jerusalem. It called for a corpus separatum, a special international regime, to be established for the city of Jerusalem.
As we know, this UN resolution was accepted by the Jews and rejected by the Arabs. That was the death of the boundaries set by that resolution.
Last week there was again an outbreak of violence in the holy basin, an area that both Jews and Muslims consider to be holy. The incident was badly handled by Israel’s right wing prime minister, who is besieged by competing populists in his cabinet, whilst the Arabs managed to play their cards cleverly. Israel lost face in this latest round. It had to dismantle, sensible but not sensitively installed security measures it had put in place (metal detectors and security cameras), and return to the status quo ante, hoping to lower the flames, which the Muslim waqf, the Islamic trust that manages the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, has been fanning.
The land issues between the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine are complicated enough without the incendiary qualities of religion and sites of worship, which one or more groups consider to be sacred. It would be better to take religion out of the equation. The corpus separatum solution was a good idea.
As things seem now, Israel will not agree to give up its status in Jerusalem. It should.