Jerusalem: US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a move that reverses decades of precedent and run counter to international consensus.
It may be mentioned that the city is holy to all three Abrahamic faiths – Islam, Christianity, Judaism.
Islam: Haram esh-Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount which the third holiest place in Islam after Makkah and Madina is located in the Old City of Jerusalem.
It is the city where Prophet Mohammed (PHUH) offered prayer. The city also includes Masjid Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rocks.
It may be mentioned that earlier, Masjid Al-Aqsa was the Qibla for offering prayer.
Judaism: According to Jews, the Temple Mount is the center of the world and they pray facing towards it.
They also consider that it is the place where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac.
In the Old City of Jerusalem, the Western Wall is also located.
It may be mentioned that the city’s heavily visited Western Wall is among the last remnants of the second Jewish temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
Christianity: Church of the Holy Sepulchre is also located in Jerusalem. It is the site where most Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried.
– City of controversy –
A 1947 United Nations plan prescribed partitioning British-run Palestine into three separate entities: a Jewish state, an Arab state and a separate enclave, or “corpus separatum”, consisting of Jerusalem, nearby Bethlehem and holy places in the vicinity to be under UN control. The proposal was accepted by Zionist leaders but rejected by the Arabs.
Following the departure of the British in 1948, the Jews declared an independent state of Israel, followed by fighting with Palestinians and neighbouring Arab states.
At the end of the war, east Jerusalem was in Jordanian hands while the new Jewish state set up its capital in the west.
The two sides were divided by barbed wire, sandbags and machinegun emplacements until the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel seized and occupied the eastern zone.
It declared the whole city its eternal and united capital and in 1980 annexed east Jerusalem, a move never recognised by the international community.
– US policy on holy city –
In 1995, the US Congress passed an act stating “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”
Since then, implementation has been blocked by successive US presidents.
Trump vowed during his election campaign to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to recognize the disputed city as Israel’s capital.
The traditional US position on the city has been that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between the two sides.