The Foundation for Middle East Peace, a nonprofit organization that promotes an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace, in the "Jerusalem" section of its website, fmep.org (accessed Sep. 10, 2015), wrote:
"The ancient city of Jerusalem is central to the religion and the nationalism of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, alike. This makes it the most emotional and volatile of all the issues in dispute between the two parties.
The heart of the dispute over Jerusalem is the Old City. It is there we find the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif…
Beyond the religious significance, the city of Jerusalem is also seen as the national capital of both Jews and Palestinian Arabs. It was the central city in the Kingdom of Judah, and thus the only identifiable capital Jews have had in their history… When the Zionist movement coalesced, Jerusalem went from a symbol of a coming messianic era to a central piece of the new national Jewish identity.
As Palestinian society grew over the centuries leading to the modern era, Jerusalem was the cultural, and often the commercial center of the local society, despite the many wars of conquest it endured. As Palestinian nationalism grew from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, the position of Jerusalem as the national capital of Palestine, already strong due to the religious significance and attraction for pilgrims from around the world, was solidified. Its division in the wake of Israel's war for independence, with the Old City having been occupied by Transjordan along with the rest of the West Bank set the stage for decades of dispute, especially because for the eighteen years it was under Jordanian rule, Jews were unable to visit their holiest sites…
In 1980, Israel passed a law which amounted to the official annexation of East Jerusalem, but this action has never been recognized by any other country, including the United States. The administrative area that is referred to as Jerusalem today includes not only the eastern and western parts of the city itself, but also an approximately 100 mile radius around the Old City, extending well into the West Bank to the east, north and south…
[T]he international community does not technically recognize either Israeli or Palestinian sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. The 1947 United Nations plan to partition Palestine stipulated that Jerusalem would be under international jurisdiction, providing for the protection of the people and sites in the contested city. None of the events since then have been recognized by the international community as changing that status.
However, the international community has generally supported the notion of dividing the city and creating two capitals for two states... The issue remains extremely volatile."
Ruth Lapidoth, PhD, Chair of International Law at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, in an essay for the Spring-Summer 1994 Israel Law Review, titled "Jerusalem and the Peace Process," wrote:
"It is generally thought that Jerusalem is the most difficult problem that the peace-makers have to deal with. The centrality of the issue of Jerusalem derives neither from security considerations nor from economic interests, but from emotional and religious sensitivities. The complexity of the issue is the result of three factors: the city is holy for adherents of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, namely, it is sacred for many millions of people... it is the subject of conflicting national claims of two peoples Israelis and Palestinian Arabs; and its population is very heterogeneous. A solution to the conflicts about Jerusalem is a sine qua non [essential] for the achievement of a viable and durable peace in the area."