WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Israelis and Palestinians on Thursday resumed their direct peace negotiations which are aimed at solving all issues surrounding a final status, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas attending a U.S.-mediated summit in Washington.
Major stumbling blocks in the final status negotiations include the status of Jerusalem, the border of a future Palestinian state, the Jewish settlements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the distribution of water resources in the region.
STATUS OF JERUSALEM
Located in the heart of the Middle East, Jerusalem is the holy city for three major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
According to UN General Assembly Resolution 181 adopted in 1947, Jerusalem should be run by the United Nations as an internationalized city.
After the first Israeli-Arab war in 1949, Jerusalem was cut into two parts by a cease-fire line running from north to south, with the eastern part occupied by Jordan and the western part by Israel.
In 1967, Israel swept to victory over its Arab neighbors in the Six Day War and took control of East Jerusalem.
In 1980, the Israeli parliament adopted a bill to establish Jerusalem as its permanent capital.
Palestinians have claimed since the 1960s that Jerusalem is part of its territory and Israel must give up control of the city.
In November 1988, the Palestinian National Council announced the independence of a Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital.
UN General Assembly Resolution 181 calls for a two-state solution in the region, slating 14,900 square km of land for a Jewish state and 11,500 square km of land for an "Arab state."
The Jews established their country in 1948, while the Arabs refused to follow the UN resolution.
During the first and third Israel-Arab wars, Israel took all the territory of the "Arab state," including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Later, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242 and 338, calling for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflicts."
The Palestinians have insisted on building an independent state within the border as before the Six Day War in 1967, which was contested by the Israeli government.