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Jerusalem: The bone of contention between Israel and Palestine

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On the limestone plateau of Mount Zion, about fifty kilometers from the Mediterranean and twenty kilometers from the Dead Sea, lies the city of Jerusalem. It is also known as Yerushalayim (Abode of Peace), al-Quds al-Sharif (the Holy Sancutuary), and Salem. Jerusalem is a holy city for the three Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Jerusalem covers an area of 200 square kms.

Its neighbors are Palestinian territories in the east, Bethlehem in the south, Ramallah in the north, and Tel Aviv in the west. Jerusalem has a population of 780,000 people with 479,000 in East Jerusalem, and 301, 000 in West Jerusalem. Jerusalem alone has 11% of the Jewish population, with the Arab countries having a meager 17%.

Today, Jerusalem has become the core of the Israeli-Palestinian issues. The importance of Jerusalem and its location makes it a prism of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, Jerusalem has been both the reason for the conflict, and also one of the many reasons that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been stalled. It has also given rise to many security and humanitarian issues.

The borders of Jerusalem is one of the most delicate issues between the two nations. Both Israel and Palestine have asserted their claims over this area. The Israel government wants Jerusalem to remain undivided, and under its control. However, Palestine wants the areas that did not belong to Jerusalem before 1969. The issues raised in this city have made Jerusalem a real 'bomb city". The violence caused by the Palestinians in Jerusalem has become an international issue today.

To better understand the tensions around Jerusalem and policy issues raised by the management of the city, it seems necessary to show how it is possible to regard the city as a prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These considerations are based mainly on the work of Scott A. Bollens in his article "Urban policy in ethnically polarized societies."

The hypothesis of Bollens that " a city is a prism, not a mirror, through which conflict is ameliorated or intensified" is particularly interesting in the case of Jerusalem, " Israeli policy-making () paradoxically produces spatial conditions of urban and regional instability antithetical to Israel's goal of political control. "

Jerusalem is indeed the prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the focal point where the tense issues of domination is further reinforced by the religious symbolism of the city. This feature gives the city an additional challenge, a strong ideological dimension in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Therefore, Jerusalem is not simply a city like any other, subject to urban policy, but by its intrinsic qualities and representations it embodies, has an influence on the political tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, it is assumed here that " cities are viewed here not as simple reflectors of larger societal tensions dynamics, but rather as capable through their physical and political qualities to exert independent effects on ethnic tension, conflict, and violence ."

Scott Bollens considers that a city may itself play an important role and that urban policies can be "diverted" by the characteristics of the city: " much as a prism deviates light from a straight line projection, the physical and political structure of a city may be capable of modifying the relationship between the broader causes of ethnic strife ? political disempowerment and cultural deprivation ? and the forms and level of ethnic strife "

Tags: Israeli-Palestinian issues, Jerusalem, urban policy

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