The Christian Churches of Jerusalem in the Post-Oslo Period

This article surveys the main trends in the relations of Jerusalem's historic churches with Israel and the Palestinians since the 1967 occupation and especially since Oslo. It examines the shift from cooperation with the Israeli state in the early period to a closer identification with the Palestinian nationalist position under the impact of Israeli actions and other factors, including pressures from the laity and an increasingly "Palestinianized" higher clergy, and details the growing cooperation among the churches themselves. The article ends with an examination of the various options for a future church role, especially in the light of the churches' proposal for a "special statute" for Jerusalem, and concludes that a holy place's administrative regime under Palestinian sovereignty would be more likely to protect long-term Christian interests.

Michael Dumper, senior lecturer in Middle East politics, University of Exeter, UK, is author of The Politics of Jerusalem since 1967 (Columbia University Press, 1996), and The Politics of Sacred Space: The Old City of Jerusalem in the Middle East Conflict (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002).

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