Status of Jerusalem: Israeli or Palestinian?

Essay by zaineddin March 2008

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Name: Zaineddin Obeid

Assignment: Essay1

Course: ENG 90

School: CSU

Teacher: Mr. Brodsky

Date: 10/23/07

Status of Jerusalem: Israeli or Palestinian?

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Ground zero in the dispute is a hill in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary. That precious piece of real estate is believed to contain the ruins of Judaism's holiest temple, on top of which stands the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site. The 1999 Camp David talks broke down in part over the issue of which side would have sovereignty over the land on which the holy sites stand.

The terms of the U.N. partition of 1947 call for Jerusalem to be an international city shared between a Jewish and Palestinian state.

But Israel annexed West Jerusalem after its war of independence and East Jerusalem, which includes the Dome of the Rock. In 1967, East Jerusalem was primarily populated by Arabs and West Jerusalem by Jewish residents.

In the perspective of the Israeli's, Ceding control even over the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, or the Old City, is a red line for many Israelis, who consider Jerusalem to be the heart of Zionism and an important part of Jewish identity. They want to ensure that they maintain access to sites they consider sacred, and they are not willing to negotiate on this point.

Besides Palestinians' historic territorial claims on Jerusalem's Old City, the presence there of the Islamic holy sites makes the issue a red line not only for Palestinians but for the entire Arab and Muslim world. Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat was unable to compromise at Camp David on his...