Wednesday, March 10, 2010

East Jerusalem lies at core of conflict

The Temple Mount from the Mount of OlivesImage by Anita363 via Flickr

clipped from

Israel's plan to build 1,600 new apartments in contested east Jerusalem has thrown a spotlight on the city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

_What's the bottom line? Israel wants to retain control of an undivided Jerusalem. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

_Why is it so important? Important Jewish and Muslim holy sites are located in east Jerusalem's Old City. Christian shrines also stand there.

The hilltop compound known to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest shrine.

Jews call the site Temple Mount because the biblical Jewish temples stood there, making it Judaism's holiest site. Directly below is the Western Wall, the only remnant of that temple complex.

_Why is the new construction so controversial? Palestinians say any settlement construction in east Jerusalem and the adjacent West Bank cements Israel's presence on lands they want for a future state.

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