About Terrestrial Jerusalem

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 agreements — but developments on the ground could, if unchecked, undermine negotiations and ultimately prevent a peace agreement.  Moreover, because of the religious equities at stake, such 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 these developments, for the benefit of policymakers and the public, both in Israel and abroad.

TJ’s founder and director is world-renowned Jerusalem expert Daniel Seidemann.  His team includes Celine Touboul, a Tel Aviv-based policy expert,  Hagit Ofran, Peace Now’s settlement watch expert, and Israeli analyst Dan Rothem.  TJ’s credibility is based not only on the expertise and reputations of its team and the quality of their analyses, 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.

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 issue, rather than on the full range of peace process/final 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.