Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu continues to defy the United States by defending the building of new settlements in East Jerusalem.
Speaking in New York on the first night of a visit to the United States he said: “The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem can not be denied.
“The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement – it is our capital.”
So that remains the official Israeli position – placing the city at the heart of the conflict with the Palestinians as they too regard Jerusalem as the capital of any future Palestinian state.
They say Arabs have been settling here for thousands of years and Jerusalem is also home to sacred Islamic sites, including the al Aqsa mosque.
Furthermore the Palestinians say Israel’s stance flies in the face of international law.
When, in 1947, the United nations adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine it was intended that the territory be divided into two states: Jewish and Arabic.
The city of Jerusalem was meant to be “internationalised”…. in other words under international jurisdiction.
But in the aftermath of the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948 Israel occupied large swathes of the Arab designated area as well as Western Jerusalem.
Then in the 1967 six-day war Israel occupied the remaining parts of the former British mandate. Jerusalem was completely under Israeli control.
Thirteen years later the Knesset declared Jerusalem the “complete and united” capital of Israel.
The international community however, has never recognised this. The United Nations answered with Security Council Resolution 478 which ruled the Israeli declaration null and void.
Despite this lack of international recognition, Israel continues to build settlements in East Jerusalem.