Free City of Jerusalem
Free City of Jerusalem
Map of the quarters of the Free City
International zone administered by LN|
|Recognised national languages||
Common: Yiddish, Arabic|
Working: Latin, English, French
|Religion||Christianity, Islam, Judaism|
|Government||Extraterritorial administration by the League of Nations|
• Deputy Commissioner-General
|13 April 1970|
|7 January 1982|
|0.9 km2 (0.35 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
• 2020 census
|47,213.33/km2 (122,282.0/sq mi)|
|Currency||Palestinian Dinar (PSD)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
• Summer (DST)
The Free City of Jerusalem (Yiddish: פריי שטאָט פון ירושלים, Arabic: مدينة القدس الحرة, Latin: Urbs Libera Hierosoylma, French: Ville libre de Jérusalem), commonly known as the Old City of Jerusalem, the Old City, or simply Jerusalem, is an international territory which contains the entirety of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount in Palestine. It is a sui generis semi-sovereign entity, known as corpus separatum, which is directly administered by the League of Nations, and under nominal jurisdiction of Palestine. It is officially divided into the four ancient quarters of the Old City: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter, each of which is overseen by their respective municipal government. The Temple Mount and the adjoining area directly beside the Western Wall, outside the city gates, are administered separately from the four quarter arrangement. It is a walled enclave within the Palestinian capital and city of Jerusalem.
The Free City is governed in accordance to the League of Nations General Assembly Resolution 203 and the Riyadh Agreement, which establishes the League of Nations Commission in Jerusalem, a body which is responsible for the administration of powers within the Free City, and the protection of all persons within its boundaries, including the City's resident Muslims, Christians, and Jews, as well as foreign pilgrims and visitors. The current arrangement is a multi-confessional republic, with a legislative and quasi-judicial body known as the City Council. Although the Free City is officially its own semi-sovereign, international territory, it allows limited extraterritorial jurisdiction to the Palestinian government, mainly to provide for its defense and local law enforcement.
Historically, the Old City of Jerusalem has been in recorded existence for over 1,500 years and has been the key site for multiple, important religious and historic sites, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. The Old City served as the capital for the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah. During antiquity, it underwent multiple administrations including the Neo-Assyrians, the Neo-Babylonians, the Persians, the Hellenes, the Romans, and the Byzantines. Starting from the 7th century AD, Jerusalem came under Muslim Arab rule. The city became the primary subject of interest during the Crusades, when Christian Europe briefly recaptured the city during the First Crusade and established the short-lived Kingdom of Jerusalem. The city returned to Muslim rule following their victory under the command of Saladin in 1187. It remained under Muslim control until 1243 through diplomatic measures negotiated between Frederick II of Germany and the Egyptians. The Muslims retook Jerusalem in 1244 and the city eventually came under the control of the Ottomans, and would remain so until the Ottoman collapse and partition during the Great Arab Revolt in 1924. The newly established state of Palestine administered Jerusalem and continued until 1970, when the League of Nations passed Resolution 203, officially partitioning the Old City from Greater Jerusalem and designating it as international territory.
History[edit | edit source]
Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible[edit | edit source]
According to the Hebrew Bible, the area that became Jerusalem was originally inhabited by Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe described in the Books of Joshua and Samuel. The Jebusites' settlement in present-day Jerusalem was described as a heavily fortified, walled city, a description which has been supported by archeological discovery. The Bible records King David conquering Jerusalem in the 11th century BC, and describes the city he ruled there as the City of David (Hebrew: עיר דוד, Ir David). The City of David has since been identified as the area southeast of the Old City walls, outside the Dung Gate, in modern Palestinian territory. The City of David was later expanded under the reign of King David's son, King Solomon, with the walls extended to enclose the First Temple and the Temple Mount.