Don't Entrust Jerusalem to the Muslims or the Jews (or the French)

That sentiment, held by British officials in Mandate Palestine, was the origin of the idea that the city should instead be internationalized.

A group of British soldiers in the court of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 1917 in Jerusalem. Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

A group of British soldiers in the court of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 1917 in Jerusalem. Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Response
July 29 2019
About the author

Douglas J. Feith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the George W. Bush administration. He is writing a history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


In his essay in Mosaic on diplomacy, law, and Jerusalem, the estimable Michel Gurfinkiel asks, “What is international law?” and comments, “It’s easy enough to doubt, if not to mock, the idea that there is such a thing.” It sure is. The last century of U.S. policy on Jerusalem is a tale of cynicism and sanctimony that makes one wonder whether U.S. officials ever take international law seriously.

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More about: History & Ideas, International Law, Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, United Nations