US President Donald Trump's pledge to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has caused considerable controversy across the world. If the United States moved the embassy to Jerusalem, it would mean that the US effectively recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That would overturn 70 years of international consensus, and, many argue, would effectively signal the end of moves to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Eternal City

Jerusalem, the holy city of three faiths, has been the focus of competing historical, religious, legal, and political narratives from Biblical chronicles to today's headlines. Jews, Christians and Muslims all feel strong spiritual attachment to the city and desire unrestricted access to it. Who, though, should have sovereignty? Who should be in political control of this most troubled of cities? Since 1967 the Israelis have controlled the city and the areas around it, creating new settlements and roads to transform its geography, and provoking intense opposition from the Palestinians. The situation today appears hopeless. The Arab-Israeli conflict continues violently with Jerusalem at its centre.

A Violation of International Law

The United Nations partition plan drawn up in 1947 envisaged Jerusalem as a separate 'international city'. But the war that followed Israel's declaration of independence one year later left the city divided. When fighting ended in 1949, the armistice border - often called the Green Line because it was drawn in green ink - saw Israel in control of the western half, and Jordan in control of the eastern half, which included the famous Old City.

During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel occupied East Jerusalem. On June 27, 1967, the Knesset passed the Law and Administration Ordinance (Amendment) Law, 5727-1967. Pursuant to this Law, the Israeli Government the following day proclaimed new municipal boundaries for the city of Jerusalem, incorporating within the limits of the unified city those parts of Jerusalem that had been under Jordanian rule in the years 1948-1967, including the Old City. Since then, all of the city has been under Israel's authority.

In July of 1980, Israel passed a law that declared Jerusalem the united capital of Israel. The United Nations Security Council responded with a resolution condemning Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem and declared it a violation of international law. Palestinians, and many in the international community, continue to see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

We have created a bibliographic overview on this topic intended as a starting point for research. It provides materials available in the Peace Palace Library catalogue, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented.

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