Jerusalem is part of a larger, and long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Many believe that the conflict goes back to ancient times, and is about religious differences. However, it really only began about a century ago. Before the First World War, the city had been largely under the Ottoman Empire since the early 16th century. Under Ottoman rule, followers of different religions lived largely in peace, including Jews, Christians, and Muslims. When the empire disintegrated after losing to the Allied powers at the end of WWI, Palestine, along with Jerusalem, was entrusted to the United Kingdom by the League of Nations, where it became Mandatory Palestine in 1920.
Due to the increasing incidence of clashes between the rising number of Jewish settlers and local Arabs in Mandatory Palestine, Britain proposed a partition of Palestine. Known as the Peel Commission, it suggested the establishment of two separate—Jewish and Arab—states. Jerusalem would be kept under British control. After WWII, facing international pressure and a struggling home economy, the United Kingdom planned its withdrawal from Palestine, and the problem was handed to the United Nations. The UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was formed and in 1947 it nominated a partition plan to the Palestinian question. The plan proposed the creation of an independent Jewish and Arab state, but “the creation of a special international regime in the City of Jerusalem, constituting it as a corpus separatum under the administration of the UN.” The UN Partition Plan was adopted by the General Assembly as a resolution on 29 November 1947.
The partition plan was rejected by the Arabs, but celebrated by the Jews. Civil war broke out in Palestine almost immediately after the passing of the UN resolution. In May 1948, following the proclamation of its independence, the new state of Israel went to war with its neighbouring Arab states. As a result of the 1948 war, Jerusalem became divided—Jordan took East Jerusalem, while Israel took West Jerusalem. Israel made the city its capital, and Jordan annexed East Jerusalem.
In 1967, Israel and its neighbours fought yet another war, now known as the Six Day war. As suggested by its name, Israel carried out a preemptive strike, and the war was over in six days. In its aftermath, Israel captured Gaza Strip and West Bank - territories designed to be part of the Palestinian state by the UN partition plan. Israel also captured all of East Jerusalem and extended its law and jurisdiction to it. Since then, the entire Jerusalem has remained under Israeli control.