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 Lara Friedman, a DC-based policy expert and consultant, Israeli urban planners Yehuda Greenfield and Karen-Lee Bar Sinai, Hagit Ofran, Peace Now’s settlement watch expert, and Israeli analyst and mapping expert 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.
Terrestrial Jerusalem - Board
Daniel Seidemann has been a practicing attorney in Jerusalem and a partner in a firm specializing in commercial law since 1987. Since 1991, he has also specialized in legal and public issues in East Jerusalem. In particular, he has worked on issues and cases related to government and municipal policies and practices, representing Israeli and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem before the statutory Planning Boards regarding development issues. Key cases have included the takeover of properties in Silwan, the legality of the Har Homa expropriation and town plan, the Ras el Amud town plan, the closing of Orient House, administrative demolition orders, denial of free education in East Jerusalem, etc. He has argued more than 20 Jerusalem-related cases before the Israeli Supreme Court.
Since 1994, Mr. Seidemann has participated in numerous Track II talks on Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians. In 2000-2001, he served in an informal advisory capacity to the final status negotiations, serving as a member of a committee of experts commissioned by Prime Minister Barak's office to generate sustainable arrangements geared to implement the emerging political understandings with the Palestinians.
Mr. Seidemann is frequently consulted by governmental bodies in Israel, Palestine and in the international community on matters pertaining to Israeli-Palestinian relations and developments in Jerusalem. He has been conducting ongoing discussions on Jerusalem issues within the Arab world and with Christian faith communities in North America and Europe. He has participated in numerous Jerusalem-related projects, colloquia and back channel work.
Karen Lee Bar-Sinai holds an MSc in “Cities, Space and Society” from The London School of Economics, and has trained as an architect in the Technion – the Israeli Institute of Technology. Karen Lee is the co-founder of "SAYA Architecture and consultancy". Her recent work focuses on issues such as the evolution and impact of temporary dwelling in contemporary cities, and the design implications of peace agreements on conflicted territories. Her main body of work has been focused on Jerusalem for the last 7 years.
Lara Friedman is the Policy and Government Relations Director for Americans for Peace Now, working with APN since September 1999. Lara worked closely with Daniel Seidmann as Ir Amim's policy consultant, and with him produced the highly regarded Jerusalem Bulletin. A former U.S. Foreign Service Officer, Lara began her career as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan. After joining the Foreign Service in 1992, Lara was posted to Jerusalem, where she was in charge of the settlements portfolio. She was subsequently posted to the State Department's Operations Center in Washington, DC. From there she went to Tunis and then Beirut, where she served as both the Commercial/Economic Officer and the Consul. In addition to her foreign policy experience, Lara has also worked for Citibank (New York) as a Relationship Manager in the Emerging Markets/Financial Institutions Division. Lara has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona and a Master's degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. She speaks French, Spanish, Arabic, and Italian.
Terrestrial Jerusalem - Board
Dan Rothem is a Senior Research Consultant for the Center for Middle East Peace & Economic Cooperation, traveling regularly between Washington and Israel and since early 2007 based full-time in Israel. During these years, using publicly available information, personal research and data obtained through collaborations with NGOs and Israel's policy and security community, Dan has overseen the development of an extensive map database relating to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies, Dan has created maps (including three-dimensional digital maps) within which he had embedded data relevant to policymakers (demographic, political, etc...), allowing precise and instant analysis/comparison of options and proposals.
In Israel, Dan works closely with various organizations composed of former senior Israel intelligence and military officials on issues such as Israel's borders and the route of Israel's West Bank security barrier, Jerusalem, checkpoints, and settlements. Dan regularly briefs top officials in the Israeli government and military establishment, as well as in the United States. He is also involved in a range of track II efforts related to these issues.
Hagit Ofran is the director the Settlement Watch project of the Israeli Peace Now movement (Shalom Achshav). Widely-recognized as Israel’s foremost expert on West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, Hagit is responsible for monitoring, scrutinizing and analyzing of Israeli construction and planning of settlements in the West Bank. Her work includes traveling daily throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem monitoring settlement-related developments, commissioning and examining aerial photos of settlements and scrutinizing official Israeli documents.
During 2010, TJ's work enloyed the generous support of:
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry
The Swiss Foreign Ministry
The British Foreign Ministry
The Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace