Al Quds, also known as Jerusalem is located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, and is one of the oldest cities in the world.
It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.
The Old City became a World Heritage site in 1981, and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City's boundaries.According to the Biblical tradition, King David established the city as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple; there is no archaeological evidence that Solomon's Temple existed or any record of it, other than the Bible. These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium BCE, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people.
The sobriquet of holy city (עיר הקודש, transliterated ‘ir haqodesh) was probably attached to Jerusalem in post-exilic times. The holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, conserved in the Septuagint which Christians adopted as their own authority, was reinforced by the New Testament account of Jesus's crucifixion there. In Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina. In Islamic tradition in 610 CE it became the first Qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (salat), and Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later, ascending to heaven where he speaks to God, according to the Quran.
As a result, despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance, among them the Temple Mount and its Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and al-Aqsa Mosque.
East Jerusalem Today
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refers to the eastern sector of Jerusalem, though Israeli and Palestinian definitions of it differ.
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Jerusalem was contested between Jordan and Israel, and on the cessation of hostilities, the two countries secretly negotiated a division of the city, with the eastern sector coming under Jordanian rule. This arrangement was formalized in the Rhodes Agreement in March 1949.
A week after David Ben-Gurion declared Jerusalem Israel's capital, Jordan annexed East Jerusalem, and these decisions were confirmed respectively in the Knesset in January, and the Jordanian Parliament in April 1950.
On being taken by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, East Jerusalem, with expanded borders, came under Israeli rule as an occupied territory, It includes Jerusalem's Old City and some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, such as the Temple Mount, Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The term sometimes refers to the area which was incorporated into the municipality of Jerusalem after 1967, covering some 70 km2 (27 sq mi). Sometimes it refers to the smaller area of the pre-1967 Jordanian controlled part of the Jerusalem municipality, covering 6.4 km2 (2.5 sq mi).In the Palestine Liberation Organization's Palestinian Declaration of Independence of 1988, Jerusalem is stated to be the capital of the State of Palestine.
In 2000 the Palestinian Authority passed a law designating East Jerusalem as such, and in 2002 this law was ratified by Chairman Arafat, although Israel does not allow Palestinian government offices in East Jerusalem.
In 1980 Israel unilaterally declared all of Jerusalem, both its eastern and western sectors, to be its undivided capital, while formally disavowing that its incorporation constituted annexation. East Jerusalem's status in international law however remains uncertain: the United Nations' Security Council immediately dismissed the resolution of unification as a 'violation of international law,and the international community has not recognized Israel's sovereignty there.