Last updated on: 4/10/2015 | Author: ProCon.org

Did You Know?

1. The Old City of Jerusalem contains three of the holiest sites for Christians, Jews, and Muslims:
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.
2. 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.
3. In the decade following the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, over half a million Jewish refugees from Arab countries settled in Israel.
4. 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.
5. 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).
6. Since 1985, the United States has provided an annual amount of $3 billion in grants to Israel. Since 1993, the United States has provided an annual amount of $95 million to the Palestinians in addition to an average annual amount of $90 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees.
7. On Sep. 9, 1993, Norwegian foreign minister Johan Joergan Holst carried a letter from Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and pledging support for repeal of clauses objectionable to Israel in the PLO charter. Rabin signed a letter recognizing the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and accepting the PLO as a negotiating partner.
8. 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).
9. 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.