Background of the Conflict
It is ironic, and in fact tragic that a Holy City which upholds the strong reverence of three major religious communities, becomes a bone of contention instead of a unifying force. Not only is Jerusalem the major holy site for Jews, but it is also highly reverential for the Muslims as well as the Christians. When the question of chiseling out a new state of Israel from the erstwhile British Empire of Palestine came up in 1947, there was major uproar from both sides about the territorial division of the holy city of Jerusalem. Very sadly, 70 years have gone by and the dispute doesn’t seem to be coming to an end in any scenario.
The Proposed ‘Joint Capital’
The British Imperialists, in their Two-State Theory had planned on demarcating two states, with Jerusalem as the joint capital shared by the both. Of course there is a hell and heaven difference between what conspires on papers, and what manifests in the real world. In the real world, negotiations in the zone are not marked by words but by bombings. Nobody is interested in understanding or respecting the other person’s religious point of view. Blind religious fervor and irrational decisions have tragically reduced the world’s holiest city to a geographical and religious bone of contention between two warring states, both of which are absolutely unwilling to listen to one another or resolve their differences amicably. Incidentally, isn’t peace, brotherhood and selflessness the very founding principle of each religion, and isn’t this entire 70-year conflict an exact contradiction of what all major world religions have taught us?
Initial Division and Subsequent Wars
To start with, the initial division as attempted to be made as fairly as possible. The first ever proposed plan of division, involved giving the Palestinians the control of the Jerusalem suburbs with most Islamic Holy Shrines and Mosques, while the inner city was handed over to the Israeli Jews, since the Semitic Holy Places were mostly situated there. But despite the fair division, not all of their respective reverential sites of worship fell into their respective zones. So what transpired was that the Jews would not allow Muslims to worship in sites that fell in ‘their zone’ and the Muslims too didn’t allow the same liberty for Jews in ‘their zone’. This tussle, is what has led to several wars, violence and instability in the region.