Jerusalem's Turbulent History: Three Religions, 50 Attacks
Jerusalem's Turbulent History: Three Religions, 50 Attacks

The persistent conflict between Hamas and Israel, reignited by the militant organization's recent assault, has once again thrust the long-standing Israel-Palestine tensions into the spotlight. At the heart of this struggle lies the matter of Jerusalem, a city fraught with dispute ever since Israel's inception in 1948.

Jerusalem: A Sacred Center for Three Major Religions

Jerusalem stands as one of the world's most ancient cities, revered by three major religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. For Muslims, it holds significance as the destination of the Prophet Muhammad's mystical night journey and home to one of Islam's holiest shrines.

To Christians, Jerusalem symbolizes the site of Jesus's pain and triumph, while Jews regard it as a focal point for ancient aspirations, a symbol of past glory and independence, and a hub of national resurgence.

A City Marked by Repeated Assaults

Beyond its spiritual importance, Jerusalem served as a vital center for trade and commerce in antiquity. However, the city's storied history includes at least two instances of complete destruction. It weathered 23 sieges and changed hands an astonishing 44 times. Above all, Jerusalem has endured an astonishing 52 attacks to date.

Modern-Era Conflict

In the early 20th century, both Zionist and Palestinian Arab ambitions extended to historic Palestine, leading to violent clashes. The United Nations attempted to designate Jerusalem as a corpus separatum, signifying a "separate entity." Yet, in 1948, the initial Arab-Israeli War divided Jerusalem into Israeli (West Jerusalem) and Jordanian (East Jerusalem) sectors.

In 1949, Israel proclaimed the city as its capital. During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel gained control of the Jordanian sector and annexed sections of the West Bank, asserting dominance over all of Jerusalem.

The Current Status of Jerusalem

The 1980 Jerusalem Law officially declared the city as Israel's undivided capital, housing all branches of government, including the Knesset (Israel's parliament), the Prime Minister's residence (Beit Aghion), the President's residence (Beit HaNassi), and the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, international consensus remains divided concerning Israeli and Palestinian claims to Jerusalem as their respective capitals, serving as a contentious issue in the broader Israel-Arab world conflicts.

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