For their part, the Arabs on the panel agreed that the city would be split in a way that would "reconcile existing realities," an implicit suggestion that Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem be incorporated into Israel's portion of the city. "There is ideology and there is reality, and we have to be realists," said Joseph Ginat, an anthropologist at Haifa University who initiated the project. A political division of Jerusalem is the obvious solution to the dispute over the city, said Ginat, "but nobody in Israel said it before. No one put his name to it."
For the first time, a group of establishment figures in Israel has endorsed the idea of sharing Jerusalem with the Palestinians. "This is the real beginning of the slaughtering of sacred cows," said Shlomo Gazit, a former head of military intelligence. After a series of meetings between Israeli and Arab academics, diplomats and retired military officers sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Oklahoma, the Israeli participants agreed to the Palestinian position that West Jerusalem should serve as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. Israel's official position is that it will never cede control of any part of the city.