"When times get rough
And friends just can't be found...
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind..."
(Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel)
Bridge Areas in Jerusalem
Exploiting the Potential Inherent in the Differences between the Palestinians and the Israelis in Jerusalem to build a bridge between them
1.1 Exploiting the latent potential of difference
Human beings react more to differences between states than to the states themselves. They react more to difference in temperature than to the actual level of temperature, and to the difference between light and dark more than to the light and dark themselves.
Difference can also become a source of strength: exploiting this fact is a common feature of many fields of life. Many systems in our body are exploiting differences in concentration to produce osmotic pressures. We exploit the potential inherent in differences of height to make water flow and to generate electricity, and we convert thermal differential into movement. Our imaginations have recently been captured by the 'desert chimney' projects, which exploits differences in humidity to create electricity in the desert.
In political and urban matters, the existence of a difference is often a source of envy and tension: in politics, economics and in society in general, the homogeneous is considered by many to be the ideal. We are jealous of the Japanese, with their homogeneous population (our only consolation being that the Japanese are "different" from us!), and we still envy France, Germany or Britain - countries which resemble ours more than Japan does and yet are still relatively homogeneous. None of us envy the ethnic variety of Yugoslavia or of the former USSR.
It is not always the case that differences mean trouble; even where human beings' systems are concerned, differences are sometimes exploited to create wealth. There are examples of social or economic differences existing between two neighbouring populations which operate as an engine of economic development to mutual advantage. In such places, workers flow from where they are in short supply (and wages low), to where work is abundant (and wages high); investment capital and technology flow the other way, and the finished products flow to where the market exists. Here are four examples:
1.2 Differences between the Populations of Jerusalem
The city of Jerusalem is composed of three distinct populations, which, whilst living together, are distinguished by different economic, religious and cultural profiles. As a basis for this study we have integrated data from different sources regarding the various boroughs of the city. On the basis of this data, statistical analysis has been carried out in order to identify typical 'clusters' of boroughs, where the differences within each cluster will be smaller than the differences between clusters.
With the aid of the statistical analysis, based on data collected between 1983-1993, we have identified seven groups of boroughs in the city: one group of Palestinian boroughs, two groups of orthodox Jewish Israeli boroughs, and four groups of secular Israeli boroughs. The analysis shows that the Palestinian population lives in comparatively old housing stock at a high level of dwelling density (measured by number of persons per room). Amongst Palestinians, the proportion of graduates is low, the proportion of blue-collar workers is high, and the average level of income is relatively low. Out of the four variables which determine urban development potential - technical education, availability of capital, the availability of land (measured by the proportion of land to person), and the age profile of the population - we found that the Palestinian population has an advantage in the last two.
The orthodox Jewish Israeli population also lives in old buildings at high dwelling density; it has a higher proportion of graduates than the Palestinian population but lower than that of the secular Israeli population. The level of income of the orthodox Jewish Israeli population is higher than that of the Palestinians but lower than that amongst the secular Israelis. The average age of the orthodox Jewish Israeli group is relatively low, but the proportion of land to person not high.
The secular Israeli population enjoys the highest level of income, but the average age is high, and the proportion of land to person is low.
1.3 The Art of the Possible
* The division of a city of two populations into two territories: in a city which is home to two populations , it is not always possible to devise a border which will divide the two in a way which promises each one a continuous land mass, even where individual boroughs are themselves homogenous.
* A border can define a territory without necessarily acting as an impermeable barrier. For example, the borders between European states define territory but permit transit of nearly everything from one state from another.
* The 'Weakest Link': a border is only as strong as its weakest link, and therefore there cannot be variations in the permeability of a border along its length.
* Various Domains of Applicability of Rules and Services:
* Non-Divisibility: certain services have differing degrees of divisibility. We have already noted here that the degree of permeability of a border cannot vary along its length, and it is obvious that a traffic route cannot be divided. A varying degree of divisibility does however exist in many forms of industry and service. Examples include the generation of electricity, sewage treatment and refuse disposal. The cost of a non-divisible service rises very considerably below a certain level of activity.
* Specificality: rules and services specific to a certain population or certain area.
1.3.2 The Jerusalem Situation
1 Borders in Jerusalem can be:
2 The border between Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy in the Jerusalem region: Jerusalem is located on the border between Israel and the Autonomy, and therefore, according to the 'Weakest Link' theory, the rules which govern the permeability of the border between Israel and the Autonomy within the city must be identical to those at any other place along this border. The border between Israel and the Autonomy can pass either through Jerusalem or around it. If it passes around it, the rules whichdetermine the degree of the permeability of the border between Palestinians and Israelis within Jerusalem can be different from those rules which determine the permeability of the border between Israel and the Autonomy - but this kind of border might strangle Jerusalem.
3 Bridge Areas: a bridge area will be established within the border which divides Palestinians from Israelis; these areas constitute a link in that border, and, according to the 'Weakest Link" theory, the degree of permeability provided by the borders of the bridge area must be equal to that provided by the border between the two peoples elsewhere in Jerusalem.
4 The bridge area borders: the degree of permeability provided by the borders of the bridge areas will by definition be very minimal; otherwise they will not be bridges. The bridge areas can therefore exist only in a situation in which the degree of permeability provided by the border between Palestinians and Israelis is itself high, and most of the objects referred to above can be transported across the borders.
2 The Puzzle
One can put together the puzzle which faces the planners for peace in Jerusalem by using the seven points below:
BUT LIVE TOGETHER?
Most of the solutions proposed by politicians and / or planners in Jerusalem today use technical and physical means (fences, bridges and tunnels) for separation between the two peoples. Such solutions recall the judgement of Solomon: "let it be neither thine nor mine, but divide it"! Below we suggest a solution which can allow the child to grow to the mutual happiness of both mothers.
3 The Settlement on the Horizon
Various suggestions for a settlement in Jerusalem are being discussed. There is talk of a reduction in the overall area of the city, or of its extension to cover the whole of its metropolitan region; we hear about boroughs, about an overall city council, and about two separate city councils (one for the Palestinians and one for the Israelis); some even propose a third council for the ultra-orthodox. On the one hand there is talk about separation between Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy, and on the other - about Jerusalem as an undivided city. Some even claim that "a tall fence makes for good neighbours in every situation". The bridge areas that we propose do not fit into every one of these settlement ideas, and in this section we will identify the type of settlement into which bridge areas will fit.
A settlement for Jerusalem has to relate to the city's boroughs and to the satellite towns within its field of influence, to the borders of these boroughs and satellites, to the border between the populations, and to the permeability of this border. A settlement will also relate to an organizational set-up which would bring together these populations. The kind of settlement we are looking for will have the following features:
4 The Bridge Areas
We propose establishing a number of 'bridge areas' in suitable places within the Jerusalem metropolitan area, with the following aims:
4.1 A Bridge Area Programme
4.2 The Organizational Model
Elinoar Barzacchi - Architect and town planner, head of school of architecture in the Tel Aviv University.
Ishai Spharim - Private consultant in urban economy and urban planning.