Core Issues

The key points of contention that must be resolved for Israelis and Palestinians to achieve peace


During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel took control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan. A two-state solution depends on an Israeli withdrawal from almost all of the West Bank to allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state, which would also have a presence in East Jerusalem and be somehow linked to Gaza. However, the presence of hundreds of Israeli settlements in the West Bank complicates the issue. Where the border is drawn will determine which settlements will be part of Israel and which must be evacuated.


In its history, Israel has faced invasion from neighboring Arab states, as well as rocket attacks, terrorist incursions and suicide bombings. Any peace deal will depend on guarantees for Israeli security.


Both peoples demand that the city serve as their nation’s capital. The Old City of Jerusalem contains some of the holiest sites in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israel enlarged its municipal borders to incorporate all of East Jerusalem in 1967 and passed a law formally annexing the city in 1980 but the United States and the international community have never recognized this move. Israel has built large neighborhoods in territory it annexed which now surround the city and are home to hundreds of thousands of people.


The 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel left hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as displaced refugees. Today, their descendants are scattered across the globe, many lacking citizenship and residing in refugee camps. A solution that offers a measure of justice and a mutually agreed-upon solution is a necessary part of a peace treaty.