Facts About Jerusalem
(The following information was provided by the
League of Arab States Information Center in Washington, D.C.)

* Jerusalem is an occupied city. The displacement of Palestinians from the Holy city has been achieved in two stages: The first stage in May 1948 with the occupation of what came to be known as West Jerusalem, and the eviction by force of its Arab inhabitants. The second stage took place after the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war when Israel began an intensive process of colonization by confiscating Palestinian property and building housing and associated infrastructure on a unilaterally annexed and expanded territory across the Green Line and by moving Jews into the occupied part to change its demographic balance. The 1967 annexation of occupied East Jerusalem included not only the area of the Municipal boundaries of Arab Jerusalem as these existed in ‘67 but also other parts of the West Bank. Consequently, East Jerusalem as it is known today is three times the size it was in 1967.

* The Israeli development program was designed as to create an essentially unified metropolitan complex spread over what were once borderlines and to ensure the encirclement and the disintegration of the territorial and demographic spread of the eastern and once entirely Arab populated part (e.g. Abu Ghneim settlement).

* While this Jewish construction was underway, a policy was applied to deny building permits to the Arab population. In population terms, the effect of the construction efforts transformed the demographic landscape, placing as many as over 180,000 Jewish inhabitants across the Green line, and making the Eastern part of the city equally divided between its Arab and Jewish residents.

* Resolution 181 adopted by U.N. General Assembly on 29 November 1947 considered that the universal significance of the city of Jerusalem and its environs was such as to render it necessary to exclude the whole area from the territory of either national state to be established in the former Mandate territory, making it a "Corpus Seperatum" under direct. international administration. The international community refused to recognize successive Israeli unilateral annexation of this "corpus seperatum."

* Today's Israeli control of West Jerusalem was achieved by military conquest in violation of the partition resolution that gave birth to Israel. This is why the international community including the U.S. has not up to now recognized Israeli sovereignty even over West Jerusalem. It has been all along the view or the Arab states and the international community, the U.S. included, that as part of the land occupied by Israel in the 1967 conflict and as an inseparable part of the West Bank, East Jerusalem is occupied as well. American presidential statements in that regard, and precisely to the effect that Jerusalem - both parts of it - is not and should not become the capital or Israel, go as far back as October 1948 when President Truman declared his country's support, within the framework of UN Resolution 181, the internationalization of Jerusalem."

* This view, in various forms, continued to be the backbone of the US policy toward Jerusalem and was not altered even by the UN Security Council Resolution 242 which was adopted with the US support.

* The idea that Jerusalem is an occupied area and that its status should be "determined in the negotiations for a comprehensive peace" was only reinforced by the Madrid framework of 1991 and, later by the Oslo Declaration of Principles. No activity should be undertaken in the territories at all which may predetermine or alter the final status talks. The Madrid principles asserted that negotiations about the future of Jerusalem was left for the final status talks.

* Jerusalem, for both Muslim and Christian Arabs is a holy place and a human treasure, the product of centuries of accumulated cultures. Israel’s policy of Monopolizing the city, of forcing it into an exclusively Jewish mold, reduces it to a one dimensional town and deprives its inhabitants from their heritage.

* Jerusalem is sacred to the three monotheistic religions. Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Unfortunately, it is the Muslims' attachment and heritage in the Holy city that has been ignored by the West. For Muslims, Jerusalem was the first direction of prayer, the Qibla, before they turned to Mecca. Its holiness was further established in a Quranic verse that describes a miraculous nocturnal journey, Isra' by the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem, and it was from Jerusalem that Muhammad ascended to heaven, M'iraj. This night of the M'iraj is celebrated annually all over the Muslim world. It also became, with Jerusalem as its focus, the source of inspiration for a vast body of Muslim literature. This literature is in circulation to this day in the languages spoken by nearly one billion Muslims.

* In 638 AD, the Muslim Arabs with the help of native Christian Arabs captured Jerusalem from its Christian Byzantine rulers. From that date and until the end of WWI, and except for the brief Crusaders interlude, Jerusalem remained under Muslim rule continuously for some eleven hundred years.

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