In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton suggested that one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the division of Jerusalem to create two capitals for two states – should be decided along demographic lines. In other words, Jewish neighborhoods would be incorporated into Israel and Arab neighborhoods would become part of the future Palestinian state. The past decade has seen a significant expansion of Jewish areas in the Arab neighborhoods closest to the Old City, which could affect how the city is divided – or prevent it from being divided at all. This has raised the ire of Palestinians, the United Nations, and others, because the expansion has taken place in a territory that Israel occupied and then unilaterally annexed – and thus the transfer of civilian populations is considered illegal under international law. Here are five of the most controversial developments:
Egyptian Copts have been thrust into the global spotlight since a New Year’s attack on a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, killed more than 20 people. Though often overlooked in a predominantly Muslim region, the Coptic Orthodox Church is the main Christian denomination in Egypt, with more than 7 million Copts.
Recent attacks against Christians in Egypt and Iraq have drawn attention to the Middle East's Christian populations, which are dwindling as Christians flee violence, political strife, and persecution. Christians made up more than 20 percent of the region's population in the early 20th century, but today, they make up less than 10 percent. Here is a look at the status of Christians in seven key countries, from Egypt to Iran.