General Edmund Allenby, the leader of the British Army, succeeded in capturing the city of Jerusalem in 1917. However, the British people had to face some conflicts with the city, which originated in the Ottoman rule. There was an agreement made in terms of the electric and water supply, as well as the building of a tramway system, which was signed by Jerusalem and Euripides Mavromatis, who was a citizen of Greece. Ottoman authorities granted all these concessions, but when it wasn’t applied the British to questioned the validity of the agreement. The Mavromatis concession was intended to be abolished by the British, but it ended up covering Jerusalem including other localities that are within at least 20 kilometers surrounding the Church of Holy Sepulchre.
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Beginning 1922 until 1948, Jerusalem’s population increased to 165,000 after being only a mere 52,000. A large percentage of its people were Jews while the rest were Christian and Muslim Arabs. Over time, there was a worsening condition in the relationship between Muslims and Arabs along with the Jewish people in Jerusalem. For instance, riots initiated by the Arabs broke off in 1920 and 1929. Despite these conflicts, the British continued to improve the city by building schools such as the Hebrew University. Suburbs were also constructed in the city’s northern and western portions.
Prior to the end of the British Mandate for the land of Palestine, a Partition Plan by the UN advised the establishment of an international regime in Jerusalem during 1946. According to the Partition Plan, the city should be constituted as a “Corpus separatum”, which was under the UN’s administration. The said international regime included Bethlehem, and it was applied for ten years. Furthermore, there was a referendum that allowed the residents of the nation to decide on the city’s regime in the future.
This plan did not take effect when a war broke off in 1948. As for the British, they decided to withdraw their hold on Palestine. This caused Israel to declare its much-awaited independence. Also, Israel succeeded in conquering a portion of Jerusalem in the West, which was opposed to the intended effect of the Partition Plan. Several other major portions of the Arab territory all made up the Arab State. East Jerusalem and the West Bank were controlled by Jordan.
The war of 1948 resulted in several displaced Jewish and Arabs in the city. At least 1,500 people living in the Jewish Quarter were forced to flee, and several of them became prisoners during the time that the Arab army took over the quarter. Numerous residents of Arab descents in Talbuya, German Colony and Katamon were expelled from their homes. Israel controlled 12 of the 15 residential quarters of Arabs in Jerusalem. This resulted in at least 30,000 residents that ended up as refugees.
Present Political Situation
Although the international community considers East Jerusalem as a portion of the Palestinian territories, not even the East or West Jerusalem was regarded as Palestine’s nor Israel’s territory. The legal status of the old city originated from the UN Partition Plan, which refuses Israel’s control over Jerusalem.
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