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The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.


Known as Al-Quds ("The Holy") in Arabic and Yerushalayim in Hebrew. A city located in the center of both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, both geographically and in significance. In 2009, Jerusalem was home to approximately 769,400 Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as to sacred sites from all three faiths within the ancient walled Old City, including the Western Wall, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.The Green Line (the 1949 cease-fire line demarcating the boundary between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories) divides Jerusalem. Between 1948-1967, Israel controlled Jerusalem on one side of the Green Line (which is known as West Jerusalem, and was declared the capital of Israel in 1948) and Jordan controlled Jerusalem on the other side of the Green Line (which is known as East Jerusalem). Following the 1967 War, Israel conquered East Jerusalem along with the rest of the West Bank and (according to the United Nations) annexed it, including the Old City and the holy shrines. The municipal borders were left undefined, and, in fact, expanded. Most countries do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem, an opinion codified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 478. Rather, they regard Jerusalem's status as undetermined, pending final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1980, Israel codified in its "Jerusalem Law" that an undivided Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. The Palestinian Authority, however, considers East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and passed a law in 2000 designating it as such. Israeli communities have been built throughout East Jerusalem since 1967. According to international law, these communities are settlements. In recent years, Jewish Israelis have been taking over Palestinian homes in several areas of East Jerusalem (such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan), displacing the residents. This encroachment has typically been backed by the Israeli military/police forces and court system. Jerusalem Palestinians have a status that is different from that of either Palestinians in the West Bank or of Palestinian citizens of Israel. They pay Jerusalem municipal taxes, receive municipal services and Israeli health insurance, and carry a blue (Israeli) ID (as opposed to Palestinians in the rest of the West Bank who carry a green ID card) but they are not Israeli citizens. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are able to travel freely throughout the West Bank and Israel, which is prohibited to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There has been much documentation about systemic discrimination faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, who comprise 37% of the city's population yet receive only 10% of the municipal budget. Numerous restrictions are placed on Palestinian residents of Jerusalem that do not apply to Israeli citizens or Jewish permanent residents, include losing residency status if living abroad (or in the West Bank) for longer than seven years, or if unable to prove that the center of their life is in Jerusalem. Between 1967 and 2009, the Israeli government revoked Jerusalem residency from 13,115 Palestinians. See the infographic created on May 17, 2015 by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel "East Jerusalem by the numbers," and read the accompanying report "East Jerusalem 2015: Facts and Figures."; see also "East Jerusalem," B'tselem. To read the text of the 1980 Basic Law regarding Jerusalem, see "Basic Law-Jerusalem-Capital of Israel," Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more about the takeover of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and the protest movement that developed in response, see the short Just Vision films, "My Neighborhood" and Homefront. For additional resources and background, see the discussion guide for "My Neighborhood."