Jerusalem's future was the publicly cited deal-breaker in attempts
Jerusalem's future was the publicly cited deal-breaker in attemptsin News 30.01.2016 10:40
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The danger that the Arab-Israeli conflict Tracy Porter Salute to Service Jersey , specifically the Jerusalem Question, poses to the peace of the world in the twenty-first century is not new. What is today Israel and Palestine, on the narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan River, was once the crossroads of the ancient civilized world, the bridge between the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe.
As a result, it has been the battleground for imperial powers from ancient times till the present. It has also become, in succession, central to each of three dominant world religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The area is a magnet for many peoples, many religions, and many political and social persuasions.
Because of this conflux of geography, history, and religious and cultural associations, the city at its epicenter is also an enduring lodestone. And like the region of which it is a part, Jerusalem has become a fuse of international conflict. The past 2,000-year history of the city alone reveals a complex international web of religious, diplomatic and political intrigue. Bitter and bloody conflict rent the city several times during the Roman imperial domination of the eastern Mediterranean basin.
The Crusader period (10991187) saw Jerusalem suffer untold bloodshed in the clash of Muslim and papal intentions. By the nineteenth century, the city had become the mirror of petty consular rivalries between European nation-states squabbling in the twilight of the Ottoman Empire.
The first two decades of the twentieth century found the city of peace at the center of immensely significant geopolitical considerations. The colonial powers of Britain and France vied over regional influence, control of the Suez route to the East, and the railways and pipelines across the Syrian Desert to the oil-rich Persian Gulf.
During the period of the British Mandate (19221948) Jerusalem was established as the administrative capital of Palestine. Following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent Arab-Israeli war, the city was divided de facto between Jordanians and Israelis, crudely partitioned by no-mans-land.
The June 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Knessets immediate annexation of the eastern side of the city, far from reuniting Jerusalem (as Israeli mythology would have it), created a vexatious problem for Israelis and Palestinians, and for every other nation that became embroiled in it. Unexpectedly, the early 1990s witnessed the single most dramatic breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations in almost fifty years.
The secretly negotiated 1993 Oslo Agreements seemed to hold the promise of resolution to one of the regions most persistent problems and at the same time of bringing peace to Jerusalem. Yet despite thousands of hours of creative negotiations, signified by recognition of the peacemaking efforts by the worlds premier peace institute, the Jerusalem Question remained as problematic as ever.
As the twentieth century closed, Jerusalem's future was the publicly cited deal-breaker in attempts by the United States to resolve the long-standing Arab-Israeli conflict. The city itself had become the new symbol of the intractability of the more-than-100-year-old Arab-Zionist impasse (to be continued).
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