Also known as "al-Quds" in Arabic, the eastern part of Jerusalem
is foreseen as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
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 cityzzz*zs 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
Moreover, by constructing the Wall
through Jerusalemzzz*zs eastern neighborhoods, it is physically isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank
. This Israelzzz*zs 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 Israelzzz*zs annexation and maintain their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv