Middle East History
The conflict in Jerusalem is rooted in religious, political, and historical aspects. As a center for the worlds three major religions, with a history of political divisions and borders, as well as historical claims to the territory, it calls for a peaceful coexistence and sensitive diplomacy which will enable an accepted agreement. Jerusalem is a prize which, for thousands of years, has been fought over. Israeli’s and Palestinians live side-by-side in the Old City, each claiming that Jerusalem belongs to them. There is no judgment that can be given, there is no right or wrong answer to the problem. For this issue to be solved, both sides must give concessions to each other, and truly feel the need for peace and friendly diplomacy in Jerusalem.
The Torah, the most sacred Jewish text, claims that Jerusalem is the ancestral home of the Jewish people. The Torah says that the land was given to Abraham, the Jews patriarch, and his descendent as a birthright for his faithfulness to God. In 1000 BC, David, the Jewish king, established Jerusalem as his capital, and his son, Solomon, built a temple in the city for the Jewish people. Four centuries later, the Jews were conquered and forced into exile. They would not return to Jerusalem until the founding of modern Israel in 1948.
During the Roman occupation of Palestine, Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem. For Christians, Jesus is the Son of God, and the Messiah. Because of his religious beliefs, he as crucified near Jerusalem, and three days later, was resurrected. Tradition holds that the tomb was where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is today. The Holy Land gave birth to the faith of Christianity.
Shortly after the death of Mohammed, the man who established Islam and whom Muslims believe to be the prophet of Allah, the Muslims conquered Jerusalem. Muslims, too, claimed a rightful ownership of the land. They believe that they have an inheritance connection to the patriarch, Abraham, through a different lineage. Jerusalem holds incredible religious significance for the Muslims. Ten years before his death, Mohammed traveled to Jerusalem, where he then rose to heaven to speak with Allah directly. The Muslim people built the Dome of the Rock on top of the Temple Mount in honor of Mohammed’s journey to the heavens. The Dome of the Rock is considered t...
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...rcede in this problem as violence and hatred increases. Israel’s use of excessive force against the Palestinians, and the violent attacks against Israeli’s by the Palestinians is only making matters worse. UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has convinced Arafat and Barak to meet and come to some sort of peace agreement.
The conflict centers mainly around religious claims and political issues. Both sides feel that Jerusalem is rightfully theirs because of its historical religious connections to their religions. The political action taken for the control of the city has had strong moments, but has also faltered. It is as if the process takes one step forward and two steps backward with each time a small conflict arises. Both sides must give in something in order to achieve peace. The Palestinian people have nothing, and their only hope for a future of some sort is to create a Palestinian state. Israel, however, does not want to give up their “capital” and will do anything in their power to maintain their control over it. The United Nations must intervene, as it is the “voice of the world,” and will be able to help Arafat and Barak reach a consensus on the status of Jerusalem.
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