Jerusalem already functions as Israel’s capital. The majority of the country’s government buildings are located in West Jerusalem, the part of the city that remained under Israeli control between its independence and the 1967 war. But in Judaism, Jerusalem is considered the “eternal and undivided capital” of the Jewish nation, and many Israeli politicians – from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat – have insisted on a unified national capital that includes East Jerusalem.
Palestinians, however, claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The area was a part of Jordan between 1948 and 1967 and is predominantly Arab. Palestinians were so expectant that their capital would be established there they they began building a parliament building in the East Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis in 1997, although it was abandoned when the second intifada broke out three years later. The unfinished project is now separated from Jerusalem by Israel’s concrete security barrier, as are the people it was supposed to represent.