Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

Religion News Service | 1/3/2018 | Religion News LLC
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The decision by President Trump to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem generated a sharp reaction. As feared by many opposed to the move, Palestinian rioting and violence broke out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with several Palestinians killed and many more injured. The U.S. decision was condemned by Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza and opposed by most of the international community, while viewed positively in Israel and praised across most of the political spectrum there. What is the background behind this, what are the issues, and what does it mean going forward?

First some background. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, Jerusalem has served as the capital of Israel. The Israeli Knesset (parliament) resides there and all government activity occurs there. Jerusalem was divided at the end of the 1948 war for Israel’s independence by a truce or “green line”, with Jordan taking control of what is now referred to as “East Jerusalem” and Israel controlling “West Jerusalem”. The Jordanians expelled all Jews, who were a majority of the East Jerusalem population at that time, from East Jerusalem (which included the Old City and Western Wall), destroyed several Jewish synagogues, and desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, using Jewish gravestones for paving and construction. Jews were denied access to the Jewish Quarter and Jewish holy sites in the Old City. Jordan occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank for 19 years ending with the 1967 war, with Israel taking control at the end of that war.

Line - Border - Peace - Processes - Solution

It is important to understand that the “green line” is not an international border. The ongoing peace processes and two-state solution call for the parties (Israeli and Palestinian leadership) to negotiate and agree upon borders. The possible division of Jerusalem is an issue for the...
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