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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z   This menu features recently updated backgrounders on people, places and subjects. To view all backgrounders, click More...
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last updated March 13, 2010 4:35 PM (EST+7)
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Jerusalem, capital, Holy City, Old City, final status issues, Palestinian capital, Israeli capital, East Jerusalem, 1948 war, 1967 war, Resolution 181, Resolution 242, Wall
Also known as "al-Quds" in Arabic, the eastern part of Jerusalem is foreseen as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

EnlargeA still from video shot of an Israeli security officer beating a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem. October 5, 2012 (Amjad Arafa/QNN)
Muslims cross Qalandiya checkpoint in Ramadan
Aug. 6, 2011 10:27 AM (EST+7)
Jerusalem Day March near the Old City
June 2, 2011 12:57 PM (EST+7)
AFP: Israel defiant on settlements as it celebrates Jerusalem Day
May 13, 2010 8:28 AM (EST+7)
Green light for Jerusalem settlers
April 28, 2010 4:43 PM (EST+7)
Sheikh Jarrah
Maale Adumim
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses a Joint Session of the US Congress, May 24, 2011
EU Heads of Mission report on East Jerusalem, January 2011
Press Statement of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Demolition of the Shepherd's Hotel
Poll No. 69 Part 2, October 2009 - Palestinian opinions towards social issues
The Reality of Jerusalem's Palestinians Today
Poll No. 35, December 1999 - On Palestinian & Israeli Attitudes Towards the future of the Peace Process
11 Jewish families move into J'lem neighborhood of Silwan, Nadav Shragai, Haaretz, April 1, 2004
2 more Palestinian families get eviction warrant in East Jerusalem, Mohammed Mari, April 7, 2010, arabnews.com
A Second Nakba and Forced Eviction in Al Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, September 15, 2009, POICA website

The city is situated 52 km (35 miles) from the Mediterranean coast and 22 km (15 miles) from the Dead Sea. It is built over Hebron Hills, which are also referred to as "Jabal al-Khalil".

The population of the city and its surrounding area is 763,800 residents. At the end of 2007, 256,820 Arab inhabitants were living in East Jerusalem, comprising 34% of the whole city's population. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the settler population in East Jerusalem at the end of 2008 was estimated at 193,700, most of them living in large settlement blocks like Pisgat Zeev.


Israel occupied eastern Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it on June 27. The primary goal of Israeli governments since has been to create demographic and geographic conditions that for unchallenged Israeli sovereignty over the city.

To achieve this goal, the Israeli government taken various steps to increase the number of Jews (land expropriation, settlement and infrastructure construction) while reducing the number of Palestinians living in the city (stripping Palestinians of residency rights, leaving Arab areas undeveloped, and demolishing homes built illegally).

Moreover, by constructing the Wall through Jerusalem's eastern neighborhoods, it is physically isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. This Israel's government policy has been described by Israeli human rights organization as a "quiet transfer" of Palestinians from the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.


When the British government stated its intention to withdraw from mandatory Palestine by May 1948, the United Nations proposed a partition plan in 1947 (also known as UN Resolution 181), recommending the creation of special international regime in the city of Jerusalem under the administration of the United Nations. However, with the outbreak of the 1948 war, this plan was never implemented.

The division of Jerusalem between western and eastern Jerusalem was formalized by the 1949 Armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan. As a result, Jordan formally annexed east part of Jerusalem and West Bank until the 1967 war.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the core outstanding issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and remains a major obstacle in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem breaches international law, explicitly stated in unanimously adopted UN Security Council resolution 242. This resolution endorses the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and called for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied" in the 1967 war.

While Israel formalized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on July 30, 1980, most states, including the United States, have not accepted Israel's annexation and maintain their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv.

News on Jerusalem
Israeli settlers launch enclave in East Jerusalem business centerMay 7, 2014 11:20 AM (EST+7)
UN peace envoy criticizes Israeli Easter security in JerusalemApril 20, 2014 4:36 AM (EST+7)
US court invalidates passport law on status of JerusalemJuly 24, 2013 11:51 PM (EST+7)

Association for Civil Right in Israel, East Jerusalem – Facts and Figures, June 2008 (English)
B’tselem – Land expropriation and settlements statistics (English)
B’tselem – East Jerusalem (English)
UN Security Council resolution 242 (1967)
Peter Hirschberg, ’Quiet Transfer’ Pushes Palestinians Out, IPS, Aug 15, 2007
Michael Lynk, Concieved in law: The legal foundations of resolution 242, Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn2007, Vol. 37 Issue 1
Riman Barakat, Jerusalem: 1948-2008, Palestine - Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, 2008, Vol. 15 Issue 1/2
Report on East Jerusalem by EU Mission (2005), Palestine - Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, 2005, Vol. 12 Issue 2/3

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