Launched on January 1, 2010, Terrestrial Jerusalem (TJ) - ירושלים דלמטה - is an Israeli non-governmental organization that works to identify and track the full spectrum of developments in Jerusalem that could impact either the political process or permanent status options, destabilize the city or spark violence, or create humanitarian crises
Jerusalem is the "volcanic core" of the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts. Competing and largely irreconcilable religious, national, and historic narratives – Israeli and Palestinian; Jewish, Muslim, and Christian – exist side-by-side in the city, in a constant struggle for legitimacy, validity, and survival. Jerusalem is also becoming the central arena for Israeli-Palestinian skirmishing of such intensity that developments there jeopardize the very possibility of a two-state solution and threaten to undermine both local and regional stability.
An agreement on Jerusalem, acceptable to all sides, is widely recognized as essential to any future peace agreement — but developments on the ground could, if unchecked, undermine negotiations and ultimately prevent such an agreement. Moreover, given the religious equities at stake, these same developments could spark violence in the city and beyond, as has happened in the past. Indeed, such developments have the potential to transform what is today a difficult but resolvable territorial conflict into an irresolvable, zero-sum religious battle.
TJ believes that intense crisis prevention and management must take place simultaneously with any Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations, both in order to prevent developments in the city from derailing negotiations and to prepare the stakeholders for substantive permanent status talks regarding the future of the city under a peace agreement. To this end, TJ produces timely and accurate resources, including maps, illustrating and analyzing important developments, for the benefit of policymakers and the public, both in Israel and abroad.
Among the plethora of organizations working on issues related to the conflict, TJ is unique. It assembles under one organizational roof, and for the first time, the experts and fields of expertise relevant to the Jerusalem issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It does so in the framework of an organization that is focused strictly on this one issue, rather than on the full range of peace process/permanent status-related challenges. And it does so in an explicitly object-oriented/impact-oriented organization, focusing on both crisis management and conflict resolution in Jerusalem.
TJ’s founder and director is world-renowned Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann. Mr. Seidemann has been a practicing attorney in Jerusalem and a partner in a firm specializing in commercial law since 1987. Since 1991, he has also specialized in legal and public issues in East Jerusalem. In particular, he has worked on issues and cases related to government and municipal policies and practices, representing Israeli and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem before the statutory Planning Boards regarding development issues. Key cases have included the takeover of properties in Silwan, the legality of the Har Homa expropriation and town plan, the Ras el Amud town plan, the closing of Orient House, administrative demolition orders, denial of free education in East Jerusalem, etc. He has argued more than 20 Jerusalem-related cases before the Israeli Supreme Court.
Since 1994, Mr. Seidemann has participated in numerous Track II talks on Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians Mr. Seidemann is frequently consulted by governmental bodies in Israel, Palestine and in the international community on matters pertaining to Israeli-Palestinian relations and developments in Jerusalem. He has been conducting ongoing discussions on Jerusalem issues within the Arab world and with Christian faith communities in North America and Europe. He has participated in numerous Jerusalem-related projects, colloquia and back channel work. In 2010, he was awarded the title of Honorary Member of the British Empire (MBO) in recognition of his work in Jerusalem.Mr. Seidemann’s team at TJ includes:
TJ’s credibility is based not only on the expertise and reputations of its team and the quality of their work, but also on the fact that TJ represents a proud Jewish/Israeli voice. This voice is well-respected and well-received not only in Israel and the West, but also by Palestinians and in the Arab world.
TJ’s “virtual Jerusalem tour” is designed to provide the user anywhere in the world with as close to a feet-on-the-ground experience of Jerusalem as possible without getting on a plane. Jerusalem is the volcanic core of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. In one small geographical area - our tour will cover an area of no more than 8 square kilometers (5 square miles) on our virtual tour - are found all of the key components of the conflict, both territorial and symbolic, and at the peak of their intensity. Starting along the 1949-67 Armistice Boundary between Jordan and Israel (aka “the Green Line”), our tour proceeds clockwise around the visual basin encompassing the Old City. At each stop along the way, TJ’s Daniel Seidemann will illuminate a different aspect of the conflict, and explain how the core grievances between Israelis and Palestinians can be addressed in a permanent status agreement.