Jerusalem has been marked with turbulence since it was first settled some three millennia ago.

The controversy that hangs over its skyline today merely reflects its living history. This 11th oldest city in the world, according to The Telegraph newspaper in the UK, commands more clout than Jericho, the oldest city of all, or even 16th placed Athens, the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy.

This city of little over 48 square miles is the home to three of the world’s religions: Judaism, which has considered it home since the biblical King David moved Israel’s capital here; Christianity, since Jesus Christ was crucified and the cross on which he was killed discovered; and Islam that has considered it a focal point of prayer for hundreds of years.

It’s a city dotted with key religious sites: the Temple Mount; the Western Wall, the only surviving piece of the temple going back to 19 BCE; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to have been built right on Golgotha where Jesus Christ is, also, believed to have been crucified; the Dome of the Rock, a venerated Islamic site believed to be built right on the Temple Mount; and al-Aqsa Mosque, where Muslims believe Muhammad was transported on his night journey from Mecca.

Different scholarly studies have aggregated 23 times the city has been besieged, 52 times it has been attacked, and 44 times it has been captured. In its history, Jerusalem has been completely destroyed and rebuilt twice, the first time between 607 and 587 BCE while the second is generally agreed to have happened in AD 70.

Until the last destruction, to whom Jerusalem belonged was never in doubt. But a number of conquests, takeovers and possessions over time meant that the city changed ownership every time a new conqueror rode into town.

Disputed ownership

Today, the city’s ownership is disputed on religious and political lines although these crisscross each other sometimes. The Jews, whose state Israel was re-established in 1948, claim it as their own, citing their history. They, in fact, consider it their capital despite international reservations.

The Arabs, particularly those inclined to Islam and who make the majority of the Arab world, consider it their own, citing it as the third most sacred place after Mecca and Medina.

As matter of fact, from about the 7th century until World War I, with exception of a century of crusades, the city was under Muslim control.

The Vatican, seat of the Roman Catholic Church, one of the most influential organisations in the world, has claimed the city for all Christians. Their claim is founded on the connections Christianity has with the city: its prominence in the Old and New Testament texts, the death and resurrection of the Christ and Church of the Holy Sepulchre among others.

Then there’s the United Nations which has claimed the city for the whole world. Its claims, however, aren’t far removed from those of the Papacy. Because the world’s greatest monotheistic religions revere the city, the UN reasons, it’s a critical spot with a high potential of endangering world peace.

Its preferred solution is to “internationalise” it so no one religious or ethnic group can have full control over it.

Some religious scholars have referred to Jerusalem as the burdensome stone, quoting Zechariah 12: 2-3:

“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling...[W]hen all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.”

With files from the Internet
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0 #1 Betty L. Cap 2010-12-22 21:08
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Psalm 137:5-6

They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. Psalm 125:1-2
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0 #2 Enos Malambala 2010-12-24 10:40
Even though the Muslims forcefully occupied Jerusalem, all history points to the owners as the Israelites. Forcefully occupying someones land does not make it yours.

Jerusalem is in Canaan, the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God's promise in that land does not include the Ismaelites (read Arabs),Abraham' s descendants from a slave girl.

On the other hand, God promised to make a great nation of Ismaelites but I have not any seen scripture that says that he gave them Jerusalem.

We know Jerusalem belongs to the Israelites.

Merry Christmas and Happy new years
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0 #3 Betty L. Cap 2010-12-27 05:14
And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. Genesis 16:11-12

Thanks for the witness, Enos Malambala. The Muslims are claiming historical squatter rights but Abba Richman explains:

The Dome of the Rock was built by the Muslim ruler Abd el-Malik in 688-691, on the site of the Jewish 2nd Temple (destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E.) and 1st Temple (destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.) on Mount Moriah. The Dome was built on top of the the rock where the sacrificial altar of the temple stood. - the "Foundation Stone", the symbolic site of the world's creation, and the site of the Temples' Holy of Holies, the supreme embodiment of the relationship between God and the people of Israel.

The rock contains four deep holes which were cut into the rock to support the structure of the original holy of Holies. In Muslim legends these are the hoof prints of Al Boraq (meaning "the lightning") the horse that supposedly carried Mohammed to heaven in a vision.

In actual life Mohammed never visited Jerusalem. He was only there in a vision.
The Dome of the Rock is Islam's third holiest site.

The Temple Mount, as the site is called today, is Judaism's holiest site. For centuries a place where Jews were forbidden to enter. The site today is under the administration of the Jerusalem Waqf (Islamic Religious Authority). Jews have been allowed to enter the Mount as of the summer of 2003 under the watchful eye of Waqf officials and the Jerusalem police who stringently guard the status quo regarding the presence of Jews on the Temple Mount.

Of particular interest is the Gates of Mercy. These are massive gates which are permanently closed through which, according to Jewish Tradition, the Messiah will enter Jerusalem. To complicate this endeavor the Muslims built a cemetery under the gates on the outer slope of the Mount and watchmen are permanently on guard on top of the gates.

(The day I photographed the Mount they were not there.) Solomon's Stables is the site of the biggest archeological disaster in the history of the Middle East. Thousands of tons of material has been removed from under the Mount to build the biggest mosque in Israel.

Priceless archeological finds were destroyed in the process and so much damage was caused that the outer wall of the Temple Mount is in imminent danger of collapse. Jewish archeologists are not allowed in to examine the damage so a team of Jordanian archeologists are working to shore up the wall which is bulging out.

According to Jewish Law, Jews are only allowed to walk around the perimeter of the Temple Mount since Jews today are considered ritually unclean. In the absence of a Holy Temple there is no ritual way to become cleansed. Before going up to the Temple Mount immersion in a pool of water (Mikve)is required.

In deference to the Holiness of the site, wearing leather shoes, carrying bags, cell phones, side arms, is forbidden. Sitting down is frowned upon, as is frivolous talk. What is most painful is that Jews are forbidden to pray, move their lips in prayer, stand still and pray, bow down or in any way upset Waqf officials on this Holiest of Holy Sites. Any Jew who violates the Waqf regulation is open to immediate arrest by the police.
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