a. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected. The church is a station of the Via Dolorosa, a street believed to be the path upon which Jesus carried his cross to his crucifixion.
b. The Temple Mount was the location of the First and Second Jewish Temples, and the remaining foundational wall (Western Wall) has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries. The Bible mentions Jerusalem over 650 times.
c. Islamic tradition holds Jerusalem to be the location of the "furthest mosque" (Al-Aqsa Mosque) where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven in the seventh century to receive instructions from Allah on how many times to pray each day.
After boycotting all previous Palestinian elections, Hamas, whom the US, Israel, and European Union classify as a terrorist organization, won a majority of seats in the Jan. 25, 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections.
On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly decided to end the British Mandate in Palestine and adopt the "partition plan” to create independent Arab and Jewish states.
In response to Arab troop mobilization near Israel's borders (which was a response to rumors of an impending Israeli attack), the 1967 War (a.k.a. the Six Day War) began with Israel launching surprise air strikes against the neighboring countries of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The war resulted in Israeli control of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula.
The Oct. 6, 1973 attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria is called the Yom Kippur War by the Israelis because the conflict broke out on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. The same event is called the Ramadan War by the Arabs because it occurred during the holy month of Ramadan.
Approximately 606 square miles, or 16.6% of the entire West Bank (including East Jerusalem), will lie on the Israeli side of the West Bank fence/wall, when Israel completes its construction. This area is home to approximately 17,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and 220,000 in East Jerusalem.
The Israel-Palestine region's largest source of water comes from natural aquifers that supply 21.19 billion cubic feet (bcf) of groundwater per year. They provide 17.48 bcf/year to Israel (35% of its annual water consumption) compared to 3.71 bcf/year to Palestinians in the West Bank (90% of their annual consumption).
In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, former technician at the Dimona nuclear plant in Israel, revealed pictures and information regarding Israel's nuclear program portraying Israel as being a nuclear threat. He was later convicted for treason and imprisoned for 18 years. Israel has never officially admitted having nuclear weapons, and instead maintains an official policy of "strategic ambiguity."
The 2005 Gaza withdrawal included the Israeli government forcibly evacuating 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and dismantling 21 Jewish settlements. The 38-year Israeli military presence in Gaza ended on Sep. 12, 2005.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulted in 1,551 Palestinian and 421 Israeli deaths during the First Intifada (Dec. 9, 1987 - Sep. 28, 2000) and 6,633 Palestinian and 1,097 Israeli deaths from the Second Intifada to the present (Sep. 29, 2000 - Sep. 30, 2012).
Al Jazeera television began leaking hundreds of pages of documents belonging to the Palestinian negotiating team on Jan. 23, 2011. The leaked documents showed that Palestinian leaders were more willing to make major concessions to cut a peace deal than most Israelis and Palestinians believed.