The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is one of the world's longest-lived. As a new round of talks is set to begin this week in Washington, take a look at some of the key sticking points and events in the conflict.
At the center of the dispute is the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. While Jewish settlers believe they have returned to the land of their forefathers, Palestinians see it as colonization that has displaced millions. The standoff has exploded into several conflicts and thousands of deaths.
There are six key issues the sides need to find agreement on, including Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security concerns and water resources. But the most emotional is who controls Jerusalem and the holy sites of the Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The United States considers Israel a close alley and has been involved in the peace process for decades. Several presidents, including Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have been directly involved in the talks. Now Barack Obama and his administration have the baton.
Some of the key places in dispute are:
Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque: Both Jews and Muslims revere Mount Moriah. The high spot in Jerusalem's Old City has been occupied for thousands of years. It was the site of two different Jewish temples in antiquity and is now the home of the al-Aqsa mosque, which Muslims consider the third-holiest site in Islam. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the site.
Jerusalem: One of the world's oldest settlements, Jerusalem is considered a holy city by Jews, Christians and Muslims. It's also at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel considers the eastern part of the city part of Israel, but Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state.
Golan Heights: The Golan Heights is a rocky, mountainous area seized from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed by Israel in 1981, a move that was denounced internationally. There are more than 30 Jewish settlments with about 20,000 settlers in the area, according to the BBC.
Gaza Strip: About 1.5 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled on the ground by Hamas after it won parliamentary elections in 2006. The area, which is part of the Palestinian territories, sits on the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Egypt and Israel.
West Bank: Another part of the Palestinian territories is the West Bank, part of what U.S. President George W. Bush's "road map for peace" envisioned as an independent Palestinian state. The first steps toward making this a reality are ending Palestinian attacks on Israel and dismantling Israeli outposts, according to the map.
Israel's government frequently speaks for Israeli positions in the conflict. There are a few more groups frequently referred to on the Palestinian side:
PLO: The Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964. Until 1991, the U.S. and Israel considered it to be a terrorist organization. In 1993, the organization recognized Israel's right to exist and Israel accepted the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. In 2012, The United Nations General Assembly granted the group non-member observer state status. Its leader is Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian National Authority: The Palestinian National Authority was created in 1994 to administer the lands transferred from Israel after the 1993 Oslo Accords. Its responsibilities are limited to civil matters and internal security in areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Like the PLO, its leader is Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas: The name of the militant Hamas movement comes from an Arabic acronym for "Islamic Resistance Movement." It's considered a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. The group has refused to recognize the state of Israel or reject violence. It won victories in the 2006 Palestinian elections and now controls Gaza.
Palestinian refugees: The people and the descendants of those who fled or were expelled from their homes after the 1948 war and creation of Israel are known as the Palestinian refugees. Their number has grown from more than 700,000 right after the war to more than 4 million today. Many still live in dozens of refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Some key events in the conflict include:
1967 War: Known as the Six-Day War, the 1967 conflict between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan resulted in big gains for Israel. The Gaza Strip, West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights all came under israeli rule after the war. About 1 million Arabs also found themselves under Israeli control when the war was over.
Yom Kippur War: In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack against Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. Israel launched a four-day counteroffensive before a United Nations-brokered ceasefire. After the war, Arab countries fel new confidence from their early successes, while Israel no longer looked invincible.
Camp David Accords: In 1978, President Jimmy Carter helped broker the historic Camp David Accords at the presidential retreat in Thurmont, Md. The meetings led to normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt and the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.
Intifadas: The Arab word intifada means "shaking off" or "uprising" and refers to Palestinian resistance to Israeli rule. The First Intifada lasted from 1987 to 1993 and the Second Intifada began in 2000 after former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. The end date of the Second Intifada is disputed.
Oslo Accords: After secret negotiations in Norway, the Oslo Accords were signed in Washington in 1993. They created the Palestinian National Authority and gave Palestinians limited control in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It also was the first time the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization reached a face-to-face agreement and the first time the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist.
Bush's road map: President George W. Bush's "road map for peace" was a plan to secure peace in the Middle East by calling for an independent Palestinian state to co-exist peacefully with Israel, commonly referred to as a two-state solution. The plan was first outlined in a Bush speech in June 2002. It called for an end to Palestinian violence and Israeli settlement activity.
Obama's turn: President Barack Obama has expressed support for a two-state solution, and he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to get the Israelis and Palestinians talking earlier in his administration. Clinton helped broker a cease-fire agreement in late 2012, but many issues are still unresolved.
Now, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are trying again. There have been some positive signs ahead of new talks between the Israelis and Palestinians set to begin this week in Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convinced his government to make plans to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, and Kerry praised both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. What happens next remains to be seen.
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