An editorial in Tuesday's Sun should have stated that Israel wants to retain Jerusalem as its undivided capital.
THE WALL preoccupying thousands of Jerusalem residents these days is the one under construction on the edge of the city. These Jerusalemites are Palestinians, and their concern centers on a future Palestinian state and its capital. They have reason to be concerned.
The path of the Israeli security barrier is expanding the boundaries of Jerusalem and solidifying Israel's control and claim to the holy city. The peace process may be in a shambles, but Palestinians have yet to give up Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestine. At the same time, Israel has never conceded that Jerusalem would be anything other than its undivided capital.
But as Israel bulldozes its way through the outskirts of the city and the security wall goes up, the future of Jerusalem is being dictated by only one side in this intractable fight. And that's plain wrong.
Jerusalem always has been among the most sensitive issues in this struggle because of the historic, cultural and religious claims by both peoples. The city houses the holiest shrine in Judaism, the Western Wall, and just beyond it, the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. When the peace process was at its most hopeful, a decade ago, the fate of Jerusalem was left to a later time when each side had shown its goodwill and ability to live side by side. Three years of Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli retaliatory strikes have crushed all attempts at a negotiated settlement.
But that doesn't give Israel the right to unilaterally set the terms of any future talks. In building its security barrier, Israel claims it is doing what it must to protect its people from the militants who want to destroy the state. If that is so, the barrier -- actually an amalgam of concrete wall, wire fencing, electronic monitors, trenches and sensors -- should follow the border of 1967 when Israel beat back invading Arab armies and occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The problem is that the path of the barrier strays too far into disputed territory, gobbling up chunks of the West Bank, isolating Palestinian villages and separating farmers from their fields. In Jerusalem, the barrier is solidifying Israel's control of the city and expanding its contours. It is dividing Palestinian families and invading the campus of a Palestinian university. It also may be encouraging frustrated Palestinians to forgo a state of their own in exchange for equal rights in Israel.
In surveys by Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, about 26 percent of Palestinians would consider doing just that. But Israel would surely lose its identity as a Jewish state because of the expected growth among Palestinians.
The wall's route has prompted the Bush administration to speak out against it. The White House should keep up the pressure and keep its eye on Jerusalem. The administration's threat to decrease U.S. loan guarantees by the $1 billion or so Israel is spending on the fence got the attention of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who delayed a section that veered far into the West Bank to include a settlement.
The administration should be prepared to act on its threat if Israeli bulldozers keep tearing up the city, West Bank land, and the prospects for peace.