For the place in Ohio, see Jerusalem, Ohio.
In 1981 the Israeli parliament (Knesset) ratified The Law of Jerusalem, which annexed East Jerusalem to Israel and declared it Israel's "eternal capital". (See Maps of Jerusalem pre- and post-1967 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/world/2001/israel_and_palestinians/key_maps/3.stm)) The Israeli annexation has not been generally recognized by the international community; therefore most countries keep their diplomatic missions to Israel in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem. The UN Security Council, in UN Resolution 478[?], declared that the annexation was "null and void and must be rescinded forthwith".
Before Israel's annexation, East Jerusalem had been part of Jordan's territory. In 1988, Jordan withdrew all its claims to West Bank (including Jerusalem). As a result, Israel is the only state that currently lays claim to Jerusalem.
The status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem is an ongoing controversy. The Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have a 'permanent resident' status, which allows them to move within Israel proper. However should they move out of the country (or into the Palestinian territories), this status will be lost and they won't be able to return. By Israel's Citizenship Law, they are entitled to Israeli citizenship, which they can receive automatically or almost automatically, provided that they do not have any other citizenship. Thus, many Palestinians who would like to hold their Jordanian passports have to retain the status of permanent residents. Some Palestinians decline to accept citizenship since they consider it equivalent to accepting Israel's annexation. Also, Jews immigrating to Israel may retain their original citizenships (American Jews usually do), but non-Jews are denied this right. (This is a controversial topic and needs references.)
Another issue is the status of family members not recorded in the census preceding the Israeli annexation of East Jersualem. They must apply for entry into East Jersualem for family reunification with the Ministry of the Interior. Palestinians complain that such applications have been arbitrarily denied for purposes of limiting the Palestinians population in East Jersualem, while Israeli authorities claim they treat Palestinians fairly. These and other aspects has been a source of criticism from Palestinians and Israeli human rights organizations, such as B'Tselem.
Arab Muslim nations have traditionally regarded Jerusalem as having a special religious / historical status. After the conquest of Jerusalem by Arab armies, parts of the city soon took on a Muslim aspect. In 688 the Caliph Abd al-Malik[?] built the Dome of the Rock; in 728 the cupola over the Aḳṣa mosque was erected, the same being restored in 758-775 by Al-Mahdi[?]. In 831 Al-Ma'mun[?] restored the Dome of the Rock and built the octagonal wall. In 1016 the Dome was partly destroyed by earthquakes; but it was repaired in 1022.
The proposal that Jerusalem should be a city under international administration is still made at times (among others, it is the proposal favoured by the Pope). Most negotiations regarding the future status of Jerusalem have however been based on partition; for example, one scheme would have Israel keep the Jewish quarter and the Western Wall (the "Wailing Wall"), with the rest of the Old City and the Temple Mount being transferred to a new Palestinian state. Most Israelis are opposed to any division of Jerusalem, based on cultural, historic, and religious grounds. Palestinians have argued for an open city, though its feasability has been challenged.
This city has known many wars and various periods of occupation. At one time it was the capital of the Jebusites[?]. Later it came under Jewish control. The Bible records that King David defeated the Jebusites[?] in war and captured the city, making it the capital city of the Kingdom of Judah.
Later, the First Jewish Temple was built in Jerusalem by King Solomon. The Temple became a major cultic center in the region, eventually overcoming other ritual centers such as Shilo and Bethel. By the end of the "First Temple Period", Jerusalem was the sole acting religious shrine in the kingdom and a center of regular pilgrimage. It was at this time that historical records begin to corroborate the biblical history, and the kings of Judah are historically identifiable.
Jerusalem was the capital of the Kingdom of Judah for some 400 years. It had survived (or, as some historians claim, averted) an Assyrian[?] siege in 701 BC, unlike Samaria, the capital of the Kingdom of Israel, which had fallen in 722 BC. However, the city was overcome by the Babylonians in 598 BC[?], who then took the young king Jehoiachin[?] into eternal captivity, together with most of the aristocracy of that time. However, the country rebelled again under Zedekiah, prompting the city's repeated conquest and destruction by Nebuchadrezzar. The temple was burnt, and the city's walls were ruined, thus rendering what remained of the city unprotected.
After several decades of captivity, the Jews returned to Judah and rebuilt the city's walls and the Temple. It has continued to be the capital of Judah, as a province under the Persians, Greek and Romans, with a relatively short period of independence. The Temple complex was upgraded and the Temple itself rebuilt under Herod the Great, however by convention it is considered Second Temple (not Third).
The city was ruined yet again when a civil war accompanied by a revolt against Rome in Judea led to the city's repeated sack and ruin, by the hands of Titus at 70 AD. The Second Temple was burnt, and the whole city was ruined. The only remaining part of the Temple was a portion of an external (retaining) wall which became known as the Wailing Wall or Western Wall.
Sixty years later, the Roman emperor Hadrian ordered the city to be resettled, under the name Aelia Capitolina. Jews were forbidden to enter the city, but for a single day of the year, The Ninth of Av (see Hebrew calendar), when they could weep for the destruction of their city at the Temple's only remaining wall. The Byzantine Empire, which came to control the region in after the split of the Roman Empire, cherished the city for its Christian history. However, in accordance with traditions of religious tolerance often found in the ancient East, Jews were allowed into it in the 5th century A.D.
Although the Koran never mentions the name "Jerusalem", Islamic tradition holds it that it was from Jerusalem that Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven to receive the Koran. The city was one of the Arabic empire[?]'s first conquests in 638 AD Sixty years later, the Dome of the Rock was built, a structure in which there lies a stone, from which as tradition says Muhammad rose up. (This is also reputed to be the place Abraham went to to sacrifice his son, Isaac in the Jewish tradition, Ishmael in the Muslim one.) Note that the octagonal and gold-sheeted Dome is not the same thing as the Al-Aqsa mosque beside it, which was built more than three centuries later.
In 1173 Benjamin of Tudela[?] visited Jerusalem. He describes it as a small city full of Jacobites, Armenians, Greeks, and Georgians. Two hundred Jews dwelt in a corner of the city under the Tower of David[?].
In 1219 the walls of the city were taken down by order of the Sultan of Damascus[?]; in 1229, by treaty with Egypt, Jerusalem came into the hands of Frederick II of Germany[?]. In 1239 he began to rebuild the walls; but they were again demolished by Da'ud[?], the emir of Kerak[?].
In 1243 Jerusalem came again into the power of the Christians, and the walls were repaired. The Kharezmian Tatars[?] took the city in 1244; and they in turn were driven out by the Egyptians in 1247. In 1260 the Tatars under Hulaku Khan[?] overran the whole land, and the Jews that were in Jerusalem had to flee to the neighboring villages.
The early Arab period was also one of religious tolerance. However, in early 11th century, the Egyptian Caliph al-Hakim[?] ordered the destruction of all churches and synagogues in Jerusalem. The Crusaders, at the end of the century, captured Jerusalem and massacred the whole Jewish and Muslim population. They made Jerusalem the center of a feudal state, of which the King of Jerusalem was the chief. Neither Jews nor Muslims were allowed into the city during that time. In 1187, Jerusalem is retaken by Salah ad-Din, who permitted worship of all religions.
In 1244, Sultan Malik al-Muattam[?] razed the city walls, rendering it again defenseless and dealing a heavy blow to the city's status. In the middle of the 13th century, Jerusalem was captured by the Egyptian Mameluks[?]. In 1517, it was taken over by the Ottoman Empire and enjoyed a period of renewal under Suleiman[?] - including the rebuilding of magnificient walls of what is now known as the Old City (however, some of the wall foundations are remains of genuine antique walls). The city remained open to all religions, although the empire's faulty management after Suleiman meant slow economical stagnation.
The modern history of Jerusalem began in the mid-nineteenth century, with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. At that time, the city was a backwater, with a population that did not exceed 8,000. Nevertheless, it was, even then, an extremely heterogeneous city because of its significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The population was divided into four major communities--Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian--and the first three of these could be further divided into countless subgroups, based on precise religious affiliation or country of origin. An example of this would be the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was meticulously partitioned between the Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian, Coptic, and Ethiopian churches. Tensions between the groups ran so deep that the keys to the shrine were kept with a 'neutral' Muslim family for safekeeping.
At that time, the communities were located mainly around their primary shrines. The Muslim community, then the largest, surrounded the Haram ash-Sharif or Temple Mount (northeast), the Christians lived mainly in the vicinity of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (northwest), the Jews lived mostly on the slope above the the Western Wall(southeast), and the Armenians lived near the Zion Gate (southwest). In no way was this division exclusive, however, it did form the basis of the four quarters during the British Mandate period (1917-1948).
Several changes occurred in the mid-nineteenth century, which had long-lasting effects on the city: their implications can be felt today and lie at the root of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over Jerusalem. The first of these was a trickle of Jewish immigrants, from the Middle East and Eastern Europe, which shifted the balance of population. The first such immigrants were ultra-Orthodox Jews: some were elderly individuals, who came to die in Jerusalem and be buried on the Mount of Olives, others were students, who came with their families to await the coming of the Messiah, and adding new life to the local population. At the same time, European colonial powers also began seeking toeholds in the city, hoping to expand their influence their with the imminent collapse of the Ottoman Empire. This was also an age of Christian religious revival, and many churches sent missionaries to proselytize among the Muslim and especially the Jewish populations, believing that this would speed the Second Coming of Christ. Finally, the combination of European colonialism and religious zeal was expressed in a new scientific interest in the biblical lands in general and Jerusalem in particular. Archeological and other expeditions made some spectacular finds, which increased interest in Jerusalem even more.
By the 1860s, the city, with an area of only 1 square kilometer, was already overcrowded. Seeking new areas to stake their claims, the Russian Orthodox Church began constructing a complex, now known as the Russian Compound, a few hundred meters from Jaffa Gate. The first attempt at residential settlement outside the walls of Jerusalem was begun by Jews, who built a small complex on the hill overlooking Zion Gate, across the Valley of Hinnom. This settlement, known as Mishkenot Shaananim, eventually flourished and set the precedent for other new communities to spring up to the west and north of the Old City. In time, as the communities grew and connected geographically, this became known as the New City.
By the time General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Ottomans in 1917, the new city was a patchwork of neighborhoods and communities, each with a distinct ethnic character. This continued under British rule, as the neighorhoods flourished and the Old City of Jerusalem gradually emerged as little more than an impoverished older neighborhood.
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United Nations proposed, in its 1947 plan for the partition of Palestine, for Jerusalem to be a city under international administration. See  (http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/db942872b9eae454852560f6005a76fb/6232f2ac638dc241852560e5005c1f2b!OpenDocument). However, on January 23, 1950 the Knesset passed a resolution that stated Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when a Palestinian-Arab state failed to materialize, and the nascent state of Israel was invaded by Egypt and Jordan, Jerusalem was divided. The Western half became part of the new state of Israel, while the eastern one was annexed by Jordan. Jordan did not allow Jewish access to the Wailing Wall, which distressed Jews throughout the world. However, Christian access was allowed.
East Jerusalem was captured by the Israelis in the Six-Day War of 1967. Under Israel, members of all religions were largely granted access to their holy sites. However, concerns have been raised about several attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, notably a serious fire in 1967 (arson by a delusional Australian tourist) and tunnels opened beneath that mosque, discovered in 1981, 1988 and 1996  (http://www.aqsa.org.uk/flyers/attacks). The status of East Jerusalem remains a highly controversial issue.
Jerusalem is situated in 31° 46′ 45″ N. lat. and 35° 13′ 25″ E. long., upon the southern spur of a plateau the eastern side of which slopes from 2,460 ft. above sea-level north of the Temple area to 2,130 ft. at the southeastern extremity. The western hill is about 2,500 ft. high and slopes southeast from the Judean plateau.
Jerusalem is surrounded upon all sides by valleys, of which those on the north are less pronounced than those on the other three sides. The principal two valleys start northwest of the present city. The first runs eastward with a slight southerly bend (the present Wadi al-Joz), then, deflecting directly south (formerly known as "Kidron Valley," the modern Wadi Sitti Maryam), divides the Mount of Olives from the city. The second runs directly south on the western side of the city, turns eastward at its southeastern extremity, then runs directly east, and joins the first valley near Bir Ayyub ("Job's Well"). It was called in olden times the "Valley of Hinnom," and is the modern Wadi al-Rababi, which is not to be identified with the first-mentioned valley.
A third valley, commencing in the northwest where is now the Damascus Gate, ran south-southeasterly down to the Pool of Siloam, and divided the lower part into two hills (the lower and the upper cities of Josephus). This is probably the later Tyropœon ("Cheese-makers'") Valley. A fourth valley led from the western hill (near the present Jaffa Gate) over to the Temple area: it is represented in modern Jerusalem by David street. A fifth cut the eastern hill into a northern and a southern part. Later Jerusalem was thus built upon four spurs.