|The United Nations Security Council has deliberated and passed several resolutions on the contentious issue of Jerusalem and Israel’s occupation of the eastern sector of the city [AFP]
Such has been the controversy surrounding the status of Jerusalem as the capital for Muslims and/or Jews that it has been the subject of numerous United Nations resolutions and remains the make or break point in any final status talks.
Jerusalem was discussed as a third directive of UN Resolution 181 in 1947, which tackled the issue of the city as a separate entity (corpus separatum).
A plan was submitted to the UN on April 4, 1950 outlining the management of the holy places, which were to be controlled by the UN through a legislative council:
1. Jerusalem should be divided into two sectors: one run by the Arabs and the other run by the Jews.
2. Jerusalem should be an unarmed, neutral region and nobody would have the right to declare it as his or her capital.
3. A public council should be formed from the whole region, and a special system should be laid down to defend the holy places.
Further to this, the most important resolutions issued by the UN and the Security Council concerning Jerusalem have been:
1. Resolution 2253, issued by the General Assembly on July 4, 1967, considered all the Israeli activities in Eastern Jerusalem illegal and should, therefore, cease. Ninety members adopted it, 20 abstained. Israel did not take part in the discussions or the voting.
2. Resolution 2254, issued by the General Assembly on July 14, 1967, condemned Israel’s failure to apply the previous resolution, and asked Israel to cancel all activities in Eastern Jerusalem and especially not to change the features of the city.
3. Resolution 250, issued by the Security Council on April 27, 1968, asked Israel not to hold a military parade in Jerusalem.
4. Resolution 251, issued by the Security Council on May 2, 1968, condemned the holding of the military parade in Jerusalem.
5. Resolution 252, issued by the Security Council on May 21, 1968, asked Israel to cancel all activities in Jerusalem, and condemned the occupation of any land through armed aggression. It also considered all of these activities illegal and insisted that the situation in the city should remain as it was.
6. Resolution 267, issued by the Security Council on July 3, 1969, confirmed resolution 252.
7. Resolution 271, issued by the Security Council on September 15, 1969, asked Israel to safeguard Al-Aqsa mosque and to cancel all activities that may change the features of the city.
8. Resolution 298, issued by the Security Council on September 25, 1971, regretted Israeli nonchalance toward international laws and resolutions concerning Jerusalem.
The resolution confirmed that all administrative and legislative procedures taken by Israel in the city, such as estate transfer and land confiscation, were illegal, as well as confirming that no more activities that may change the city features or demography should be undertaken.
Other resolutions where Jerusalem has been discussed include:
1. Resolution 298, issued on September 25, 1974.
2. Resolution 446, issued on March 22, 1979.
3. Resolution 452, issued on September 20, 1979.
4. Resolution 476, issued on March 1, 1980.
5. Resolution 471, issued on June 5, 1980.
6. Resolution 592, issued on June 30, 1980.
7. Resolution 478, issued on August 20, 1980.
8. Resolution 592, issued on September 8, 1986.
9. Resolution 605, issued on December 22, 1986.
10. Resolution 904, issued on March 13, 1994.
The issue of the status of East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel but regarded by Palestinians as part of the capital of their own state, remains difficult.
In 1998, Israel announced a controversial plan to expand Jerusalem by annexing nearby towns. The plan was widely condemned by Arab countries and UN council members. Israel said it would freeze such a measure.