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Why is Jerusalem so important to Israel?

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America recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Many countries including America have also shifted their embassies to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the holy city of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem. During the 1967 war, Israel occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem. On the other hand, Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be their capital whenever Palestine becomes a separate country. This mutually rival claim is the main root of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute that has been drawing for decades.

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The dispute is mainly about the eastern part of the city where Jerusalem’s most important Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious sites are. In such a situation, the dispute related to the status of Jerusalem is not only political but also a religious matter and probably why it is so complex.

Temple Mount or Al Aqsa Mosque

The compound located on the hills is called the Jewish Temple Mount and for them it is the most important religious site. There was a Jewish temple here thousands of years ago, which is also mentioned in the Bible. But today here is the Al Aqsa Mosque, which is the third most important religious place in Islam.

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Emphasis on conversation

Israel is in control of the entire Jerusalem, and this is how its government operates. But Israel’s move to merge East Jerusalem into its territory has not been recognized internationally. The international community wants Jerusalem’s status to be negotiated. Although all the embassies are in Tel Aviv.

Israel had been trying to recognize Jerusalem as its capital for a long time. This is the residence and office of the Prime Minister of Israel. 

The fence

Jews and Palestinians can roam freely in most parts of Jerusalem. However, a decade ago, Israel erected a fence passing through some Arab settlements in the city. Due to this, thousands of Palestinians have to pass through crowded check points to reach the center of the city.

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Israelis rich, Palestinians poor

There is little interaction between the Israelis and Palestinians living in the city. While Jewish settlements look very prosperous, poverty is seen in Palestinian settlements. More than three million Palestinians living in the city do not have citizenship of Israel, they are just ‘residents’.

Cycle of violence

Most of the violence in the last 20 years between Israel and the Palestinians has taken place in Jerusalem and the West Bank. There were riots in Jerusalem in 1996. Violence erupted in 2000 when the then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon went to the Temple Mount.

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Stirring on cameras

There was a big controversy in 2016 when Israel tried to install security cameras near the Al Aqsa Mosque. After the death of two Israeli police officers in an attempt by Palestinian gunmen, they tried to install cameras.

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