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Would Pre-1967 Segregation Reduce Violence in Jerusalem?

A new computer model that maps violence patterns in urban areas says that it would.
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In June, Israeli deputy defense minister Dany Danon told a television interviewer, “A Palestinian state on the 1967 line is something dangerous for Israel, and therefore I oppose that idea.” But borders based on the 1967 lines—armistice lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip—may be the solution for a more peaceful Jerusalem, according to a new computer model developed to understand the sources and patterns of violence in urban areas.

Israeli leaders opposed to a return to 1967 borders appear to be losing ground in international support.

The model, developed by ETH Zurich and contributing universities, utilized geocoded data on the location, size, and shape of Jerusalem’s 77 neighborhoods. This data included all deaths and injuries related to political conflict from 2001 to 2009, reported by newspaper articles, NGOs, and police reports. Within the model, researchers looked at the way violence was distributed in four separate scenarios proposed for the future of Jerusalem: "a 'business-as-usual' scenario, a scenario based on the Clinton Parameters of 2000, a scenario following the outlines of a Palestinian proposal, and a scenario assuming the return to the borders of 1967."

Results revealed the Palestinian proposal, which asks for more autonomy, and the Clinton Parameters scenario would both reduce violence. However, the plan with the greatest violence-reducing effect was a return to the lines of 1967, borders that are currently supported by the U.S. and demanded by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as the basis for a future Palestinian border.

Ravi Bhavnani, who initially conceived the project, states that the model is one of the first to utilize empirical data and cultural factors to explore solutions for “an age-old problem” in a “complex area.” But the study notes that segregation caused by the 1967 lines is not an end-all solution; segregation itself could trigger new tensions between demographic groups.

For now, Israeli leaders opposed to a return to 1967 borders appear to be losing ground in international support. On Tuesday the European Union decided it will not provide funding for Israeli projects unless they are operating in pre-1967 borders and not East Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Golan Heights.