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I find it essentially difficult to debate who "owns" land that is also considered "holy". I think while this land is largely controlled by Israel, the idea of ownership of something so sacred and spiritual to hundreds of millions of people is impossible. Israel can control access to it, and who lives there, but the reasons why this territory is holy transcend what we would consider ordinary national and international laws and concepts of ownership. It is one of the reasons why I believe Jerusalem should be an open city.
I agree with earlier posts--it is a question of possession and a very long history. Both have viable claims on the land based on various documents as well as a history of religion and occupation. It would be delicious if both communities could find a way to share the land and live together peacefully agreeing to disagree. However, if you've read the Bible, I think you know that is not how the story ends.
This issue has been fought viciously by the Arabs and Israelis since the inception of the state of Israel. I am not Jewish and I have no particular affiliation either for the Israelis or the Arabs. It seems to me that the Palestinians have a valid claim to their homeland; however, I understand the desire to make reparations to the Jews after the Holocaust and the awarding to them of the disputed land. I'm not sure what the answer is. I'm afraid that this armed conflict and debate will continue indefinitely.
I answered a question like this earlier today. I believe that it is very, very difficult to distill which claims of ownership are valid. It seems to me that both the Israelis and the Palestinians have viable cases. I guess I fall on the side of the two state solution, so long as there is diplomatic channels open between both states. If this can be achieved, the entire region might be a bit more tranquil and, perhaps, lasting change can happen. The reality is that the generations of war and strife have taken their toll on both communities.
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