As the Obama administration relaunches direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the BBC's Paul Reynolds outlines where the three parties stand on the core issues of the conflict.
The Israeli government is unwilling to divide Jerusalem, held to be the political and religious centre of the Jewish people. It stands by the 1980 basic Israeli law that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel". In the past there has been room for manoeuvre on the margins. In talks in 2000 and 2007, the then Israeli governments proposed exchanging some outlying annexed districts.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which was controlled by Jordan before being captured by the Israelis in 1967, as the capital of a Palestinian state. The Old City contains the third holiest place in Islam, the al-Aqsa mosque, and the Dome of the Rock, from where Mohammed is said to have visited heaven on his winged steed Burak.
The US does not recognise the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv. President Barack Obama has opposed the building of housing for Israelis in East Jerusalem though he said before becoming president that dividing the city would be "very difficult to execute".
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepts that there should be a Palestinian state and that there will have to be an Israeli withdrawal from parts at least of the West Bank (captured by Israel in 1967) to accommodate this. Israel has already withdrawn from Gaza. Israel would like the borders to include Jerusalem and the major Israeli settlements that have grown up on the West Bank.
They want the talks to start from the basic position that all the land occupied by Israel in 1967 belongs to a future Palestine. Any land given to the Israelis would have to be compensated for by a balanced land swap.
The US agrees that the starting point but not the end point should be the 1967 lines and that a land swap will have to be the basis of any agreement. It will encourage this.
The Israeli government insists on keeping the major Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Any departure from this would break up the coalition which forms the government. An immediate problem is that an Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlements is due to run out on 26 September.
Ideally, the Palestinians would like all settlements to be abandoned as they were in Gaza. However, they appear to accept that some will have to stay but they will argue for a minimum number and a land swap for any that are left. They threaten to leave the talks if the Israeli moratorium is ended on 26 September.
As with the annexation of East Jerusalem, the US has not recognised the international legitimacy of the Israeli West Bank settlements. But it accepts their reality and will press for compromise. It is also trying to reach a compromise on the moratorium problem.
Israel rejects the idea that Palestinian refugees from previous wars should be allowed any "right of return" to their former homes. They say that this is a device to destroy the state of Israel by demography in order to re-establish a unitary state of Palestine. For that reason Mr Netanyahu has called for Israel to be recognised as a Jewish state.
Formally, they maintain the "right of return", arguing that without it a great injustice would not be put right. However, there has been regular talk among Palestinians that this "right" could be met by compensation. They refuse to recognise the concept of Israel as a "Jewish state", saying that this is unnecessary and that it ignores the Israeli-Arab citizens of Israel.
The US understands the Israeli refusal to take back refugees and hopes that this can be resolved by compensation and development aid for this whose cannot go back to their previous family homes.
Link to article here
I certainly don't know if the above information is accurate or up-to-date. It apparently was written a few days prior to the Washington DC meeting with Obama, but more than likely has not changed in any significant way.