Dictionary of Palestinian Political Terms


Abnaa Al-Balad

see Sons of the Village

Absentee property law

Legislation created by Israel in 1950, defines an “absentee” as a person who “at any time” in the period between 29 November 1947 and 1 September 1948, “was in any part of the Land of Israel that is outside the territory of Israel (meaning the West Bank or the Gaza Strip) or in other Arab states”. Absentee property was vested in the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property, with no possibility of appeal or compensation, who then ‘sold’ it to the Development Authority, empowered by the Knesset. Thereby, the absentee property that was left behind by Palestinian refugees in 1948 (and also some of the property of Palestinians who are now citizens of Israel) was transferred to the State of Israel. This process authorized the theft of the property of a million Arabs, seized by Israel in 1948. Following the 1967 War, Israeli law was applied to East Jerusalem, but it was decided that the status of absentee would not apply to residents of East Jerusalem, while West Bank residents with property in Jerusalem remained in a gray area: while considered absentees under the law and prohibited from officially registering their rights to the land, this did not, in practice, affect their ownership of the property. Owners could prove their existence and claim their property without being considered absentees. This directive – in place for 37 years - was rescinded on 8 July 2004 in a cabinet meeting. In January 2005, the Israeli government decided to enact that decision and apply the Absentee Property Law to East Jerusalem property. In February 2005, Israel's Attorney-General Mazuz ordered the government to cancel implementation of the law in East Jerusalem, saying it violates obligations under international law. In 2015, a seven-justice panel of the Supreme Court approved the application of the Absentee Property Law to assets in East Jerusalem.

Abu Ala-Peres plan

Proposal discussed in confidential talks, apparently authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, in the winter of 2001 between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLC Speaker Ahmed Qrei’a. The plan suggested first a ceasefire and collection of ‘illegal’ weapons by the PA, followed by an Israeli recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state on areas presently under PA control (42% of the West Bank; 80% of the Gaza Strip) and Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as a starting point for renewed final status negotiations on final border and other outstanding issues (including Jerusalem, settlements, borders and refugees). The suggested time-table for the implementation of the agreement was one year. The document remained unofficial, did not gain much support, and was neither approved by the Israeli government nor by the PA.

Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades

(also: Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades) Military wing for the PFLP, named after PFLP Secretary-General Mustafa Zabri, 62, better known as Abu Ali Mustafa, who was assassinated by an Israeli missile strike at his office in Ramallah on 27 August 2001. The Brigades rejected President Mahmoud Abbas' call, on 16 July 2007, for all Palestinian resistance groups to surrender their weapons to the PA, stating they will not abandon their resistance until the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has ended.

Abu Holi

Former Israeli military checkpoint near Rafah that controlled all traffic on the only road connecting northern and southern Gaza. The checkpoint was dismantled following implementation of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan in 2005.

Abu Mazen-Beilin plan

(formal: Framework for the Conclusion of a Final Status Agreement Between Israel and the PLO) Plan drawn up by then-PLO Secretary-General Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin (Labor) on 31 October 1995, the existence of which was denied by both parties for five years before being published in September 2000 and this was never formally adopted by either Israel or the Palestinians The plan proposed the following: Israeli annexation of 4-5% of the West Bank, the transfer of Israeli territory to the Palestinian state, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while the nearby village of Abu Dis would become the capital of the Palestinian state (“Al-Quds”), the guarantee of freedom of worship and access to all Holy Sites for members of all faiths and religions, and the formation of an International Commission for the final settlement of all aspects of the refugee issue.

Abu Nidal Organization

(ANO, also referred to as Fateh Revolutionary Council, as Arab Revolutionary Brigades, or the Revolutionary Organization of Socialist Muslims) Anti-Arafat faction established by Sabri Khalil Al-Banna (Abu Nidal) that split from Fateh in 1974 and - after an assassination at¬tempt on Abu Mazen – was expelled from the PLO with Al-Banna sentenced to death. The group became known for mili-tary operations in Europe (such as at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972), at times under the name ‘Black September’. The ANO produced the magazine Filastin Ath-Thawra. It is also believed to be behind the assassinations of PLO ‘moderates’ in the late 1970s/early 1980s (e.g., Said Hamami). It aimed at derailing diplomatic relations between the PLO and the West, while advocating for the destruction of Israel. It had close ties to Libya and Egypt, though both closed down the ANO’s offices in their countries in 1999. The group is listed as a ‘terrorist’ organization by the US State Department. Leaders and associates are now thought to be in Iraq, with cells in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Since the death of Abu Nidal in Iraq in 2002, it is not clear if his followers have disbanded or simply joined other radical Islamic groups in Iraq and who is the new leader. Although no major attack has been attributed to the group since Abu Nidal’s reported death, Jordanian officials reported the apprehension of an ANO member suspected of planning attacks in Jordan in 2008.

Abu Rish Brigades

(also: Ahmed Abu Al-Rish Brigades) Armed group that was formed in late 1993, mainly made up of "Fateh Hawks", and initially operated under Fateh but has then become more independent. More recently, its members call themselves Ansar Al-Islam (Supporters of Islam) and declare their aims to be not only the liberation of Palestine but also exaltation of God and flying the flag of Islam. In the earlier years, the Abu Al-Rish Brigades were responsible for numerous attacks, mostly directed against Israeli military and settler targets. Since the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, they have carried out attacks and kidnappings in Gaza, often in conjunction with Hamas activists. They take their name from the former PLO militant, Ahmed Abu Al-Rish, who was mistakenly killed by the Israeli army in 1993 just days after turning himself in to the Israeli authorities and publicly laying down his weapons. Today they are largely confined to Gaza.

Acceleration benchmarks of agreement on movement and access

(also: Bench¬mark Document) US security plan adopted on 4 May 2007 that set a schedule for the removal of roadblocks, opening of passages in the territories, and upgrading of Palestinian forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas. It urges Israel to approve requests for weapons, munitions, and equipment required by defense forces loyal to President Abbas. The plan is not officially recognised by either the PA or Israel and was never implemented.

Achille Lauro

Name of an Italian cruise ship with over 400 passengers and crew, which was hijacked on 7 October 1985 off the Egyptian coast by four members of the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF), headed by Mohammed Zeidan (Abul Abbas). They demanded the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. After a two-day drama, during which disabled American-Jew Leon Klinghoffer was killed, the hijackers surrendered in exchange for a pledge of safe passage. However, US Navy fighters intercepted the Egyptian jet containing the hijackers and forced it to land in Sicily, where they were taken into custody by Italian authorities. Four Palestinians were jailed over the hijack, while the mastermind of the operation, Abu Abbas, was convicted in absentia but never spent time in prison in Italy (he died in US custody after being captured in Iraq in 2004).

Active Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (AOLP)

Body established in 1967 by Dr. Issam Sartawi, a prominent and outspoken Palestinian moderate, as a non-combatant medical aid organization. The organization merged temporarily with Fateh in 1968 and rejoined it in 1971, but dissolved following Sartawi’s assassination in April 1983 at a Socialist International meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

Administered territories

Israeli term for the West Bank and, until the 2005 disengagement, the Gaza Strip, based on the believe that Israel has a legal claim to these territories and that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply.

Administrative detention

Imprisonment by Israel of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) without charge or trial for a period of up to six months. Detention is renewable and is authorized by administrative order rather than judicial decree. It is based on the British Mandate 1945 Defense (Emergency) Regulations which were amended and adopted by the Knesset in 1979 to form the Israeli Law on Authority in States of Emergency (Detention).

Advisory Council

Temporary 20-member council (10 British, seven Palestinians and three Jews) created by British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel in October 1920 to serve as a legislative body until a formal council dealing with self-government issues was established in August 1922. However, since Palestinians rejected it, arguing that its acceptance would also imply acceptance of Britain’s commitment to the Balfour Declaration, and boycotted the elections, Samuel formed a new advisory council. However, after the resignation of seven Palestinian members in May 1923 and other problems the idea was abandoned and a British-only advisory council took over.

Agranat Commission

National Commission of Inquiry formed by the Israeli government after the Yom Kippur War in November 1973 to examine the circumstances leading up to the war, as well as the war itself. The Commission was headed by Supreme Court President Shimon Agranat and presented its final report on 30 January 1975 (which was publicized 20 years later in January 1995). It cleared then-Prime Minister Golda Meir and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan of all responsibility for the war's failures, although both resigned due to the public’s demand. However, six high-ranking IDF's officers were held personally responsible for intelligence failures that had made Israel vulnerable to attack and recommended their dismissal or transfer: Chief of Staff David Elazar, Chief of Intelligence Eli Zeira and his deputy, Brigadier-General Aryeh Shalev, Head of the Amman Desk for Egypt Lt. Colonel Bandman, Chief of Intelligence for the Southern Command Lt. Colonel Gedelia, and Commander of the southern front Shmuel Gonen. Other recommendations included strengthening Mossad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ research department, and the appointment of prime ministerial advisors on intelligence and defense.

Agreement on preparatory transfer of power and responsibility

(also known as Early Empowerment Agreement) Agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinians at Erez on 29 August 1994, which put into effect the next phase (early empowerment) of the Declaration of Principles, providing for the transfer of powers to the Palestinian Authority within five specified spheres: (1) Education & Culture (carried out on 29 August 1994); (2) Social Welfare (13-14 November 1994); (3) Tourism (13-14 November 1994); (4) Health (1 December 1994); (5) Taxation (1 December 1994). About a year later, on 27 August 1995, another protocol was signed transferring additional spheres to the PA (see Protocol on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities).


(full: American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Influential Zionist, pro-Israel lobbyist organization in the US set up in the early 1950s. It works unflaggingly to align US diplomatic, economic, military, and foreign policy with Israel's interests. AIPAC has an estimated budget of $65 million and some 100,000 members, and is considered one of the most powerful and effective lobbies on Capitol Hill.


(Arabic: Harakat Amal) Shi'a political/military resistance movement in Lebanon established in 1974 by Imam Sadr. Its political manifesto, published in August 1974, called for an end of the ethnic-political system in Lebanon.

Al-Aqsa Intifada

Second Palestinian Uprising (also referred to as 'Second Intifada') against the Israeli occupation that began on 28 September 2000 with Likud leader Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which triggered clashes with Palestinians. The outbreak of violence was preceded by the breakdown in peace talks at Camp David in July 2000. Popular protests and stone-throwing quickly spread to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well to Palestinian communities in Israel, and were met with large-scale repression from Israeli forces, including use of helicopters and tanks, which is seen as the reason why soon armed resistance emerged. Unprecedented violence - Israeli targeted assassinations, military incursions into Area A, and ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ to re-take the West Bank, as well sniper attacks and suicide bombings on Israeli targets – left over 3,000 Palestinians and nearly 1,000 Israelis killed. There was no decisive event that signaled the end of Intifada, however the Al-Aqsa Intifada lost momentum after the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004 and Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

(Arabic: Al-Kata’eb Shuhada Al-Aqsa) Armed group named after Al-Aqsa Mosque, where the controversial visit of Ariel Sharon on 28 September 2000 sparked the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The Brigades, which consist of cells of Palestinian activists, were formed in 2000 as an offshoot of Fateh and became one of the driving forces behind the second Intifada. Although the Brigades initially focused on Israeli settlers and soldiers within the WBGS, they later resorted to suicide bombings in Israel proper and Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. They were added to the US State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in March 2002. In 2007, a large number of wanted Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades members were granted amnesty by an agreement Israel negotiated with the PA, according to which they promised to refrain from terrorism, cut their links with the group, and obey certain movement restrictions. In January 2008 the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades joined with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to shoot rockets into Israel from Gaza. Israel retaliated by blockading the Gaza Strip.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

(English: Farthest) Mosque built on Al-Haram Ash-Sharif compound (English: Noble Sanctuary) in the 7th Century (709-714) by the Ummayad Caliph Abdul Malik Bin Marwan. The mosque derives its name from the Qur'anic verse of Prophet Mohammed's Nocturnal Journey (Isra’ 17:1). The Al-Aqsa Mosque was the first holy site of Islam (before Mecca) towards which Muslims directed their prayers (Qibla), and is today considered the third most important Islamic Holy Site after the mosques in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia (see also Dome of the Rock).


(English: The Land) Pan-Arab nationalist movement of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel founded in 1958 and active until mid-1960s, devoted to the teachings of Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser. It challenged the legitimacy of Israel as well as the traditional leadership of the Palestinian community in Israel, promoting more authentically nationalist politics. Its Central Committee included many young Israeli Arab intellectuals, including Habib Qahwaji, Sabri Jiryies, Saleh Bransi (Al-Taybeh), Mansour Kardoush, Fakhri Jdai (Yafa), Elias Muamer, Abdel Rahman Yahya, Mahmoud Al-Sorouji (Akka), Mahmoud Darwish, Fawzi Al-Asmar, Tawfiq Suleiman Odeh, Hanna Musmar (Al-Nasrah), Zaki Al-Bahri Haifa, Mohamad Mia’ri, and Anis Kardoush. The movement published several newspapers (e.g., Al-Ard, Shatha Al-Ard, Al-Ard Al-Tayibah, Sarkhat Al-Ard, Dam Al-Ard, Rouh Al-Ard) and founded several cultural clubs. Many of the group’s members were jailed or exiled and in 1964, Al-Ard was banned. It tried to field a list of candidates for the 1965 Knesset elections under the name ‘Arab Socialist List’, but was also banned.

Al-Bustan Neighborhood

Section of Silwan village outside the Old City, which contains some 90 houses. Most of the houses were built in the 1980s and 1990s, which the West Jerusalem Municipality’s city engineer Uri Shetreet ordered to be demolished in November 2004 to expand of the ‘King’s Valley archeological park.’ In June 2005, the Municipality handed the residents of the neighborhood demolition orders for 88 houses, home to over 1,500 people. After local residents requested that the Attorney General prevent the destruction and international pressure to halt the demolitions mounted, then-Mayor Uri Lupoliansky retracted the plan in 2005, asking Palestinian residents to propose a plan would meet their development needs, which they presented in 2008. However, city engineer Shlomo Eshkol informed them that the plan would not be considered in the immediate future, and that the municipality was proceeding with the plan to build a national park on the site. Several homes have already been demolished in the neighborhood, and on 22 February 2009, Israeli Authorities of the Jerusalem Municipality served citizens of Al-Bustan neighborhood notices to evacuate their houses within 72 hours or face forced evacuation. In early 2010, the municipality filed a new plan for the area, including a tourist park called King’s Valley or King’s Garden, which would destroy 88 houses and displace some 1,400 people. Several plans have been submitted in the last few years to license the threatened homes but to no avail. Most recently, the municipality postponed the demolition orders of Al-Bustan homes until March 2017.


(English: The Councilists) Term that refers to the fol¬lowers of the Haj Amin Al-Husseini-led forces during the British Mandate period (opponents were the Nashashibi-led Mu’aridun). Al-Majlisyoun became identified with the Supreme Muslim Council, which they considered the focal point of Palestinian leadership.


A narrow strip of coastal land 1 km wide and 14 km long between the Mediterranean Sea and the former Gush Katif settlement block in the Gaza Strip. Al-Mawasi borders Deir Al-Balah to the north, and Rafah and Egypt to the south. The area - home to some 5,000 Palestinians - is rich in water and contains Gaza’s best farmland. Due to its lo¬cation next to Gush Katif, the Oslo Accords treated Al-Mawasi differently than the rest of Gaza, giving the PA re¬sponsibility for civil affairs and Israel responsibility for security affairs. Following the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada, the Israeli army severely restricted the movement of Al-Mawasi's residents, at times prohibiting all movement in or out of the area.

Al-Murabitun/ Al-Murabitat

(from ‘Murabat’ meaning someone who ties himself to the place) Groups of Palestinian men and women respectively, who volunteer to be present on Al-Aqsa Mosque com-pound to pray, guard and protect the holy site. Outlawed by Israel in September 2015.


Marginal Muslim group and an offshoot of Shi’a Islam. Most Alawis live in Syria and the Levant, and hold many top military and intelligence offices in the Syrian government.

Alexandria Declaration

Document signed by Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders on 21 January 2002 in Alexandria, Egypt, condemning "killing innocents in the name of God," asserting the signatories’ commitment to work together for a just and lasting peace, and committing leaders to use their moral authority in seeking an end to the violence and resumption of the peace process. The declaration also calls on Israeli and Palestinian political leaders to implement the Tenet and Mitchell recommendations.

Alexandria Protocol

Document signed at the closing of a meeting of representatives of five Arab states (Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq) and Palestine, which took place in Alexandria, Egypt, from 25 September to 7 October 1944. The goal of the meeting was to form a unified stance regarding the future of the Middle East and non-intervention of foreign powers. The resulting resolutions (the Alexandria Protocol) outlined the attendees’ agreements of cooperation and coordination and led to the formation of the Arab League. A special resolution concerning Palestine confirmed that Palestine constitutes an important part of the Arab World and called for an end to Jewish immigration, the preservation of Arab lands, and the achievement of independence for Palestine.


(plural: aliyot; English: ascent) Term referring to Jewish immigration to Palestine/Israel.

All-Israel plan

(also: National Water Plan) Proposal regarding the Jordan River watershed publicized by Israel in 1951. It was based on the Lowdermilk Plan and included the draining of the Huleh Lake and swamps, the diversion of the northern Jordan River, and the construction of a carrier to the coastal plain and the Negev.

All-Palestine government

Announced on 23 September 1948 by the Arab Higher Committee, transforming the temporary civil ad¬ministration, which was appointed by the Arab League, into a government for all Palestine. The government convened a first National Council on 30 September 1948 in Gaza, where Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini was elected as President, Ahmed Hilmi Abdel Baqi as Prime Minister, and an 11-member cabinet was named. The Declaration of Independence, issued on 1 October 1948, declared Jerusalem the capital of Pales¬tine and adopted the flag of the 1916 Arab Revolt (black and white with green stripes and a red triangle) as the Palestinian flag. The National Council adopted a provisional constitution providing for an interim parliamentary regime with limited abilities on the ground. By mid-October, the Palestine Government was recognized by the Arab states with the exception of Jordan. In 1959, Gamal Abdel Nasser officially annulled the All-Palestine Government by decree, reasoning that it had failed to advance the Palestinian cause.

Allenby bridge

(also: Jiser Al-Karameh or King Hussein Bridge) Road bridge between the East and West banks of the Jordan River, named after British World War I Commander Sir Edmund Allenby. It was built over an old Ottoman bridge to facilitate the crossing of the British Army into Jordan to fight the Ottomans in 1918. During the 1967 War, thousands of Palestinian refugees fled via the Allenby Bridge before its destruction in the same war. It was rebuilt as a temporary bridge (King Hussein Bridge) in 1968, and is located approximately 6 km east of Jericho. Today, the Allenby Bridge, and both the old and recently built King Hussein Bridges stand side-by-side, marking the border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank, which is under Israeli control.

Alliance of Palestinian Forces

see Damascus Ten

Allon plan

One of the first settlement plans put forth by Yigal Allon (Labor) in July 1967 and officially adopted by the Israeli government in June 1968. Its main points included maximization of Israeli security while minimizing the inclusion of Arab inhabitants, annexation of the strategically important and sparsely populated Jordan Valley, consolidation of the Jerusalem corridor, and cantonization of the rest of the WBGS (conforming to the Israeli autonomy plan for Palestinian self-administration).

Allon Plus Plan

Proposal for final borders for Israel and a Palestinian entity in the WBGS, publicized in May 1997 as an expansion of the 1968 blueprint (see Allon Plan above) and presented by then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the cabinet in June 1997. The plan fore¬saw the creation of enclaves with restricted autonomy around Palestinian population centers in some 45% of the West Bank, while Israel would retain control of the remaining 55%, including most of the agricultural and natural grazing lands, the eastern slopes the fertile and water-rich Jordan Valley, and border areas. Palestinians rejected the plan, the implementation of which would have involved the destruction of thousands of Palestinian houses.


(Abbreviation for the Hebrew Agaf HaModiin - lit. the Intelligence Section) Israel’s central Military Intelligence Directorate. Aman was created in 1950 as an independent service within the Israeli army (IDF), responsible for intelligence evaluation for security policy, dissemination of intelligence to IDF and governmental bodies, training and operation of field security, operation of military censorship, drawing maps, and development of 'special measures' for intelligence work as well as of an intelligence doctrine in the realms of research, collection, and field security. Since 2006 headed by Amos Yadlin


Settlement movement of the Gush Emunim, established in 1978. Considered the main engine behind settlement construction in the OPT and campaigning to encourage people to move to settlements. Launched in spring 2007 for the first time a campaign in the US to convince American Jews to buy homes in the West Bank either for their own use or to rent them to settlers. More recently, the organization made headlines for its intention to build its new HQ in the heart of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

The US Jewry's overseas relief and rehabilitation agency, which was founded in 1914, initially to assist Palestinian Jews caught in the throes of World War I. Since then, the JDC has aided millions of Jews in more than 85 countries, providing assistance for Holocaust survivors and Jewish people in need or at risk, as well as responded to current events and crisis, such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

Amirav-Nusseibeh Document

see Nusseibeh-Amirav Document


The 1948 ‘catastrophe’ surrounding the establishment of the state of Israel, which resulted in the dispersion of Palestinians worldwide. (See also War of 1948)


see War of 1967.

Anglo-American Committee of inquiry

Joint commission proposed by British Prime Minister Attlee in response to US President Truman's pleas to admit more displaced Jews to Palestine. The resulting Anglo-American Committee was appointed in November 1945 to associate the USA with responsibility for the Palestine Question and to examine continued Jewish immigration into Palestine. It comprised six Americans, chaired by Judge ‘Texas Joe’ Hutcheson and six British, headed by Sir John Singleton. The committee arrived in March 1946 in Palestine, published its first report in April, recommending a UN trusteeship, and its final report on 1 May 1946, rec¬om¬mending increased Jewish immigration (some 150,000 Jews) into Palestine, the cessation of the 1940 Land Transfer Regulations, and adoption of a trusteeship for Palestine. The Arab League rejected the proposal as did the British government (see also Morrison-Grady Plan).

Annapolis conference

Peace conference held on 27 November 2007 in Annapolis, US, to set up a timetable for future negotiations on final status issues along the guidelines of the 2002 "road map" for peace. The conference, organized by former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, was attended by President Abbas, Prime Minister Olmert, representatives from over 30 nations, the UN Security Council, and the Quartet, and resulted in a draft resolution being presented by the US to the UN Security Council, which was immediately with¬drawn after Israeli objections. A follow up conference of the Middle East Quartet took place in Sharm Esh-Sheikh on 9 November 2008.

Annexation, Annexed Territories

Incorporation of territory into another geopolitical entity such as a country, state, county, or city. International Law forbids the annexation of territory gained through war as well as the mass movement of people out of or into occupied territory. Following the War of 1967, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and some 28 surrounding villages – avoiding populated Palestinian areas such as Ar-Ram, Qalandia and Abu Dis/Al-Izzariyya - extending the borders of Jerusalem by some 70 km^2 (added to the 38 km^2 of West Jerusalem at the time). The new municipal boundaries, now em-bracing 108 km^2 (28% of which is the West Bank), were designed to secure geographic integrity and a demo¬graphic Jewish majority in both parts of the city. On 28 June 1967, the Knesset amended the Law of 1950, which pro¬claimed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, to illegally extend Israeli jurisdiction to the annexed part of the city. In 1981, Israel annexed Syria’s Golan Heights. Both these annexations are considered illegal under UN resolutions.

Apartheid Wall

see Separation Barrier

Aqaba Summit

Three-way summit held at the Royal Palace in Aqaba, Jordan, on 4 June 2003 between US President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, and Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas to discuss the "road map" for peace. At the end of the summit, Prime Minister Abbas vowed an end to terrorism and the militarization of the Intifada, Prime Minister Sharon promised the immediate dismantlement of settlement outposts and reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution, and President Bush stressed his commitment to "Israel's security as a vibrant Jewish state" and to "freedom and statehood for the Palestinian people.”

Arab Boycott

Economic boycott of Israel formally declared by the Arab League Council on 2 December 1945 (Resolution 16). The objective has been to isolate Israel from its neighbors and the international community, as well as to deny it trade that might be used to augment its military and economic strength. The 'primary' boycott prohibits direct trade between Israel and the Arab nations, the 'secondary' boycott is directed at companies that do business with Israel, and the 'tertiary' boycott involves blacklisting firms that trade with other companies that do business with Israel. The Arab League does not enforce the boycott and boycott regulations are not binding on member states, although it recommends that member countries demand certificates of origin on all goods acquired from suppliers to ensure that such goods meet all aspects of the boycott. The boycott was dealt several major blows when Egypt (1979), the Palestinian Authority (1993), and Jordan (1994) signed peace treaties or agreements that formally ended the boycott; other states do not enforce it or only sporadically. Since 1951, the boycott is administered by the Damascus-based Central Boycott Office.

Arab Club

(Arabic: Nadi Al-Arabi) One of two main national movements (the other being Muntada Al-Adabi), which emerged during Palestine’s unity with Syria (1918-20). Membership was based on ideology, in contrast to the traditional organization around family heads and notables, and consisted largely of young people. The interests of the two national movements were almost identical, which led to cooperation between them in all major political events, however, both disappeared after 1921. The Arab Club was set up in Damascus in 1918 by Palestinians from Nablus as an organization engaged in social and cultural activities and its members were drawn mainly from the Al-Husseini family and their supporters. The president of the Arab Club was Haj Amin Al-Husseini and its political goals were unity with Syria under King Faisal I and resistance to Zionism. A body with the same name emerged in Damascus, headed by Abdul Qader Al-Muthaffar, and connected with the Jerusalem Arab Club. This new Arab Club became the main nationalist organization in Syria. The Arab Club ceased functioning with the demise of the Syrian Kingdom at the hands of the French in 1920.

Arab Congress

Seven congresses, initially organized by the Muslim-Christian Association, were held between 1919 and 1928 throughout Palestine to formulate Palestinian national demands. The First Congress (Jerusalem, 1919), rejected the Balfour Declaration and formulated a program to be presented at the Paris Conference. The Second Congress (Jerusalem, May 1920) protested confirmation of the British Palestine Mandate and was actually forbidden by the British authorities. The Third Congress (Haifa, December 1920) called for the establishment of a national government and elected the Arab Executive Commit¬tee to direct and oversee the work of the Palestinian national movement. The Fourth Congress (Jerusalem, June 1921), led by Musa Qassem Al-Husseini, elected the first Palestinian Delegation to London which presented the Palestinian case against Jewish immigration to Palestine to the British government (a mission that ended unsuccessfully). The Fifth Congress (Nablus, 1922) decided to boycott the Legislative Council elections planned by the British and to establish an information office in London. The Sixth Congress (Jaffa, 1923) reiterated the boycott of Legislative Council elections and the rejection of the Anglo-Hijazi Treaty (for a British-sup¬ported Arab confederation of the Hijaz, Iraq, and Transjordan). The Seventh Congress (Jerusalem, 1928) called for the establishment of a representative government.

Arab Executive Committee (AEC)

Body set up at the Third National Congress in Haifa in December 1920 to act as representative and defend the Palestinian cause. The platform of the Haifa congress set out the position that Palestine was an autonomous Arab entity and totally rejected any rights of the Jews to Palestine. Musa Qassem (Pasha) Al-Husseini was elected Chair¬man. The committee led the Palestinian political movement until the mid-1930 and held seven congresses and sent several delegations to Europe, mainly London, to present the Palestinian case against Jewish immigration. It was never formally recognized by the British and was dissolved in 1934.

Arab Higher Committee (AHC)

Body established in 1936, during the Arab Revolt, as a representative umbrella comprised of the heads of all Palestinian political parties and headed by the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin Al-Husseini. The committee was banned by the British shortly after its establishment in 1937 and its leading members were arrested, exiled, and imprisoned for their vocal opposition to the Mandate and to Zionist immigration and land acquisition. In October 1937, Al-Husseini fled to Lebanon, where he reconstituted the committee under his domination. The Arab Higher Committee pro¬claimed the independence of Palestine on 1 October 1948 and established the All-Palestine Government. The Committee continued to exist and had a representative at the UN General Assembly until the formation of the PLO in 1964.

Arab League

Voluntary umbrella organization established on 22 March 1945 (see Alexandria Protocol) by the then independent Arab states (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and Yemen) as a fo¬rum for concerted action on major issues its members face. Today the Arab League is comprised of 22 members (but Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the Syrian Civil War/revolution) and represents some 300 million people. In 1964, it decided to establish the PLO “to organize the Palestinian people enabling them to play their role in the liberation of their country and to achieve self-determination”, and at the 7th summit meeting in Rabat in October 1974, it recognized the PLO as the “sole representative of the Palestinian people”. In 1976, the PLO was admitted as a full member, and since 1989 it has been a member as "the State of Palestine". At its March 2002 summit, the Arab League members unanimously endorsed the Saudi peace initiative and in its March 2007 summit it was re-endorsed it except Hamas delegate Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who abstained. Current Secretary-General of the Arab League is Ahmed Aboul Gheith (since 2016).

Arab Legion

(Arabic: Al-Jeish Al-‘Arabi) Armed forces of Transjordan (since 1921), and then subsequently the regular army of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (since 1949). The Legion was formed in 1921 by British Lt. Colonel Frederick Gerard Peake as a police force to keep order among Transjordanian tribes and to guard the Jerusalem-Amman Road. From 1939-56 the Arab Legion was commanded by British officer John Bagot Glubb (Glubb Pasha), who made it the best trained Arab army in the world. The Arab Legion played an important role against the Zionist forces in the War of 1948, when it conquered the Old City of Jerusalem and secured the West Bank for Jordan. On 1 March 1956, the Legion was renamed as the Arab Army (now Jordanian Armed Forces).

Arab Liberation Army

(Arabic: Jesh Al-Inqadh; English: Army of Salvation) Arab volunteer military force formed in late 1947, based on an Arab League decision, to fight against the UN Partition Plan and defeat Zionism. It was led by former Lebanese Ottoman army officer Fawzi Al-Qawuqji and Adib Shishakli, who later became President of Syria. Only a small proportion of the army ever entered Palestine, mainly the northern and central regions, and its mission was unsuccessful. The Arab Liberation Army was officially disbanded in March 1949.

Arab Liberation Front (ALF)

(Arabic: Jabhat At-Tahrir Al-‘Arabiyya) Iraqi-sponsored, pan-Arab, and leftist military PLO faction, founded as a guerrilla group in 1969 by Iraqi Ba’athists to influence the Palestinian resistance movement. It was originally led by Zeid Heidar, and is now headed by Rakad Salem. The ALF's ideology is similar to As-Saiqa's, but it carried out fewer operations. The ALF played a substantial role within the Rejectionist Front in the 1970s and followed Iraqi government policy on all matters. It opposed the Oslo Accords and insists on the liberation of all of Palestine. The organization is based in Baghdad, where it was the main faction active in Iraq's small Palestinian population, while it was a very minor group in other Palestinian communities. Currently represented in the PLO Executive Committee by Mahmoud Ismael. It maintains an office on Ramallah and publishes the monthly journal Sawt Al-Jamahir (Voice of the Masses). ALF has not been involved in armed attacks on Israel since at least the early 1990s, and it is no longer believed to possess any significant military capabilities.

Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM)

(Arabic: Haraket Al-Qawmiyun Al-Arab) Political movement, the core of which was formed in Beirut in 1948 by Arab Muslim and Christian intellectuals. The ANM was more formally created in Jordan in 1952 by George Habash and Wadi Haddad (Palestine), Ahmad Al-Khatib (Kuwait), and Hani Al-Hindi (Syria), and soon had branches throughout the Arab world. The initiators of the movement in the West Bank were two physicians, Dr. Salah Anabtawi from Nablus and Dr. Subhi Ghosheh from Jerusalem. After the mid-1950s, the ANM unquestioningly tied its fate to Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, who effectively ran it, and the movement was strongest in the late 1950s and early 1960s. After the 1967 debacle, it publicly abandoned 'Nasserism' and instead espoused Marxist-Leninist principles. The ANM called for pan-Arabism and Marx¬ism, aimed at unifying the Arab world to confront Israel, and was a forerunner of the PFLP.

Arab Party

(also: Palestine Arab Party; Arabic: Al-Hizb Al-Arabi Al-Filastini) Political party established by the Husseini clan and their supporters (Al-Majlisyoun) in March 1935, partly to counter the rival Nashashibi clan’s National Defense Party. It was first headed by Jamal Al-Husseini and was strongly backed by the Mufti Al-Hajj Amin. The Arab Party struggled against the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate, Jewish immigration, and land sales to Jews, and called for immediate and complete Palestinian in¬dependence. The party became nearly irrelevant following the 1936 Revolt, when the British banned political organizing and ex¬iled many of the party’s leaders.

Arab Peace Initiative

Proposal, based on the 2002 Saudi peace initiative and adopted at the March 2007 Arab League summit in Riyadh, for an end to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world, in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, Israel’s acceptance of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a “just settlement” to the issue of Palestinian refugees. While the Palestinians endorsed the initiative, Israel mainly rejected it, although some political leaders expressing reserved support for certain aspects of the plan. Occasionally, proposals are floated to reintroduce and update the initiative.

Arab Revolt (1916-1920)

Arab uprising that began June 1916 against the Ottoman Empire, triggered by the British promise (see Hussein-MacMahon Correspon¬dence) to create a greater Arab Kingdom (Hijaz, Syria and Iraq), if the people of the region revolted against Istanbul. The Arab Revolt left its marks, including the col¬ors of its flag, black, green, white, and red (used to¬day by Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Palestine, and the Ba’ath Party). In the event, the UK and France ended up dividing the Arab region under the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Arab Revolutionary Brigades

see Abu Nidal Group/Organization

Arab secret societies

Political-literary clubs and other patriotic organizations formed in the years 1900-1914, mainly in Constantinople, but with branches in Beirut, Damascus, and other Arab cities. Prominent secret societies were Al-Qahtaniya and Al-Fatat, seeking Arab independence. Following the Arab Revolt of 1916, they merged with the emerging Arab national movements.

Arafat mausoleum

Tomb built in the Muqata'a complex in Ramallah over the burial place of PLO Chairman and PA President Yasser Arafat, who died on 11 November 2004 in Paris. The burial site is considered temporary until his remains can be taken to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The mausoleum has become one of Pales¬tine's more than 2,000 mazara’at (shrines), dedicated to deceased persons of political, historical, or religious significance. The new complex, which was inaugurated in November 2007 on the 3rd anniversary of Arafat's death, also includes a mosque and a museum.

Arava/Araba valley

Region/geographic name for the area that stretches between the Dead Sea in the north and the Red Sea (Aqaba and Eilat) in the south. However, the modern use of the term is restricted to this southern section alone. It is part of the Syrian-African Rift and includes both Israeli and Jordanian territories with varying levels and densities of agricultural and urban settlements on both sides of the border.

Area A, B, C

Jurisdictional divisions created in the West Bank in 1995, under the Oslo II Agreement. Area A, initially being the urban centers only, came under PA administrative and internal security responsibility and eventually comprised 17.2% of the West Bank. Area B, being the built-up areas of the remaining principal villages and eventually 23.8% of the West Bank, remained under Israeli military occupation, but the PA became responsible for services and civilian administration. Area C, eventually being 59% of the West Bank, remained under exclusive Israeli civil and military administration. Areas A, B, and C were considered operational until late 2001, after which Israeli military incursions and reoccupations eroded the currency of the jurisdictional divisions. Throughout the Oslo process, Israel retained overall security responsibility for all areas, including the right of ‘hot pursuit’ into area A.

Armstice Agreements

Series of separate ceasefire agreements signed between Israel and Egypt (24 February 1949), Lebanon (23 March), Jordan (3 April), and Syria (20 July in 1949), fol¬lowing the 1948 War. No separate agreement was signed with Iraq. The agreement was meant to end hostilities and establish armistice lines between Israeli forces and Jordanian-Iraqi forces, also known as the Green Line. The agreements were mostly negotiated on the Greek island of Rhodes under the auspices of the UN (see also Rhodes Talks).

Army of Islam

(Arabic: Jesh Al-Islam) Small, armed Islamist group that operates in Gaza and is led by Mumtaz Dughmush, who originates from a powerful clan in Gaza. The group split from the Popular Resistance Committees, and has since been shunned by both Hamas and Fateh. The Army of Islam seeks liberation of Palestine and an Islamic state and is said to be influenced by Al-Qaeda. The group was involved in the capture and holding of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who was later released, and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In 2010, senior Army of Islam leader Mohammad Namnam was assassinated in a targeted killing when the car he was driving in Gaza City was hit by a missile fired from an Israeli military helicopter. The group is linked to numerous attacks in Israel and Egypt and was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US and the UAE in May 2011.

Army of the Holy Struggle or War

(Arabic: Jesh Al-Jihad Al-Muqaddas) Local Palestinian military organization created in the 1940s to fight Zionism. The organization was headquartered in Birzeit and led by the legendary leader Abdul Qader Al-Husseini until his death in combat at Qastel in April 1948, after which the commandership went to Emil Ghouri. The Army of the Holy Struggle was disbanded and integrated into the Transjordanian army in 1949.


Jews who derive from northern and eastern Europe, primarily from regions in modern day Germany, Po¬land, and Russia. Ashkenazi Jews constitute around 50% of Israel's Jewish population.


Arabic name for the Mount of Olives neighborhood in Arab East Jerusalem.

Ateret Cohanim

(English: Crown of the Priests) Ex¬tremist Jewish group whose goal it is to Judaize the Christian and Muslim Quarters of the Old City, as well as East Jerusa¬lem, by taking over Palestinian property and fostering settlement construction. The group is funded by Jewish-American businessman Irving Moskowitz. Ateret Cohanim supports numerous Jewish families living in the aforementioned neighborhoods, and is involved in the settlement building at Jabal Mukabber, Ras Al-Amud, Abu Dis, and Silwan. The organization has been involved in a number of legal disputes such as claiming ownership to houses despite court ruling.

Autonomy Plan

Scheme proposed by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a speech to the Knesset in December 1977, calling for an end to the military occupation of “Judea, Samaria [the West Bank], and Gaza”, and the establishment of a democratically elected 11-member Palestinian “administrative council” which would have responsibility for civil matters (e.g. education, transportation, construction, industry, commerce, agriculture, health, and labor), while Israel would maintain control of security and public order. Palestinians could accept either Israeli or Jordanian citizen¬ship. Palestinians rejected the plan as it did not go beyond offering some kind of administrative autonomy for the Palestinians in the OPT.


Plural of Waqf (see Waqf).

Axis Powers

Group of nations - Germany, Italy, and Japan - which were opposed to the Allies during World War II and formed a military alliance on the signing of the Tripartite Pact in Berlin in September 1940. Other countries (e.g., Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovakia) joined the Axis Powers later, but membership was fluid and World War II ended with their total defeat.

Ayalon-Nusseibeh Plan

see Nusseibeh-Ayalon Plan


(English: Renaissance or rebirth) Pan-Arab so¬cialist party with branches in several Arab countries, most no¬tably Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. The movement was created in Damascus in the 1940s by Michel Aflak and Salah Eddin Bitar and became known as Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party in 1953. The core of the Ba’ath doctrine is Arab unity. A branch of the Ba’ath Arab Party was founded in Ramallah in 1952 by Bahjat Abu Gharbiyyeh, Abdullah Rimawi, and Abdullah Nawas. The party was most often associated with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq (1979-2003) and Syria under Hafez Al-Assad, where the ruling parties retained the name, although both nations moved away from Ba'athist principles.


testt tesetwet

back-to-back system

Part of Israel’s closure regime. Due to existing movement restrictions goods must be offloaded then on-loaded into new vehicles at the other side of a roadblock. This process is necessary anywhere in the West Bank where roadblocks hinder transportation of goods. In addition to creating delays and uncertainties, it significantly raises costs of trade and often results in substantial damage to goods due to the unloading-reloading procedure.


Monotheistic religion founded in Persia in 1862 by Mirza Hussein Ali 'Baha’ullah' (Glory of God) that grew out of Babism, a sectarian deviation of Shi’ite Islam. The Baha'í faith’s central theme is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. Its principles stress the unity of all religions, world peace, and universal education. At times, the Baha’i faith and community were banned and persecuted in Persia and other Islamic countries. Main holy places are the Tomb of the Bab in Haifa and the Tomb of the Baha’ullah (the holiest spot on earth in the Baha'i religion, to which they turn in prayer each day) in Bahj, near Acre.

Baker Five-point-framework

Five ‘suggested points’ for Palestinian-Israeli talks formulated by US Secretary of State James Baker and formally released by the US State Department on 6 December 1989. The Palestinians viewed them as positive but with reservations, stressing the need of further development of a role for the PLO and a desire to have the framework become part of a comprehensive package leading to an independent state. The five points were as follows: (1) The US understands that Egypt and Israel have been working hard and that there is now agreement that an Israeli delegation will conduct a dialogue with a Palestinian delegation in Cairo. (2) The US understands that Egypt cannot be a substitute for the Palestinians in that dialogue and that Egypt will also consult with the Palestinians on all aspects of the dialogue. Egypt will also consult with Israel and the US on this matter. (3) The US understands that Israel will attend the dialogue after a satisfactory list of Palestinians has been worked out. Israel will also consult with Egypt and the US on this matter. (4) The US understands that the government of Israel will come to the dialogue on the basis of the Israeli government initiative of 14 May. The US further under¬stands that the elections and negotiations will be in accordance with the Israeli initiative. The US understands, there¬fore, that the Palestinians will be free to raise issues that re¬late to their opinion on how to make elections and negotiations succeed. (5) In order to facilitate the process, the US proposes that the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt and the US meet in Washington within two weeks.

Baker report

see Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward – A New Approach

Baker-Hamilton report

see Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward – A New Approach


(Acronym for the Hebrew name: Brit Le'umit Demokratit, lit.: National Democratic Assembly. Arabic: Al-Tajamu' Al-Watani Al-Dimuqrati) Arab national-liberal party, established by Azmi Bishara towards the 1996 elections and led by him until his resigning in April 2007 over charges of treason and espionage being laid against him by Israeli security services. Since then led by Jamal Zahalka. Balad seeks to transform Israel from a “state of the Jews" to a "democratic state with equality for all of its citizens." The party supports creation of two states based on pre-1967 borders. In January 2015, Balad, which since its inception has been aligned with the Ta’al faction of Ahmed Tibi, signed an agreement with the other three Arab-dominated parties, Hadash, the United Arab List and Ta'al, to form the’ Joint List’ after the Knesset raised the electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25%.

Balfour Declaration

Letter sent on 2 November 1917 by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Lionel Walter de Rothschild, pledging British support for “the establishment of a Jewish national home in Pales¬tine.” It was henceforth referred to as an official British statement and was included word for word in the British Mandate document ratified by the League of Nations in 1922.

Bandung Conference

Founding meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Bandung in 1955. Israel's invitation to the conference was aborted by a threat of an Arab boycott of the meeting.


Originally referring to separate homeland for black South Africans set up by the South African Apartheid regime. The term is increasingly used to describe the areas isolated by Israel's settlements, the separation barrier, by-pass roads, and road closures in the WBGS. It encompasses the logic of the 1993 Oslo accords that grants Palestinians "autonomy" while assimilating and subjugating them in WBGS.

Bar Giora

Clandestine Jewish organization named after Simeon Bar Giora, one of the leaders of the Jewish Revolt against the Romans. It was formed in Jaffa in 1907 to defend the right to work and guard Jewish settlements as well as developing new ones. It was responsible for the protection of Sejera (Ilaniyah) and Mesha (Kfar Tavor), before merging with a new defense body, Hashomer, in 1909.

Bar-Lev Line

Defense system made up of a series of 30 strongholds along the east side of the Suez Canal, which was devised by and named after Chaim Bar Lev, Israel's chief of staff from 1968-72, to block attacks from Egypt after 1967. Egypt's troops overran them in the 1973 Yom Kippur War but the Israelis quickly regained the initiative.

Barcelona Declaration

Political agreement adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean conference on 27-28 November 1995 in Barcelona by the Foreign Ministries of the 15 EU member states, 11 Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey), and the Palestinian Authority, marking the first attempt in modern history to create strong and durable bonds between the shores of the Mediterranean. The declaration intended to establish a comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean partnership in order to turn the Mediterranean into a common area of peace, stability and prosperity through the reinforcement of political dialogue and security, an economic and financial partnership and a social, cultural and human partnership.

Basic Laws

Israeli legislation dealing with the formation and role of the principal state's institutions, relationships between the state's authorities, and civil rights. These laws have been used in lieu of a formal constitution, although the laws do not cover all constitutional issues. Basic laws have been issued on various subjects, including: The Knesset (1958), The People's Lands (1960), The President of the State (1964), The Government (1968), The State Economy (1975), The Army (1976), Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel (1980), The Judiciary (1984), The State Comptroller (1988), Human Dignity and Liberty (1992), The Government (1992), Freedom of Occupation (1992), Freedom of Occupation (1994), and The Government (2001). Once all basic laws are enacted, they are supposed to become - with an appropriate introduction and several general rulings - the constitution of the State of Israel.

Basle Program

Zionist platform formulated and adopted at the First Zionist Congress (World Zionist Organization) convened in Basle, Switzerland in 1897, by Theodor Herzl. The program declared Zionism's goals, stating that it "strives to create for the Jewish people a home in Eretz Israel [Palestine] secured by Public Law."

Battle of Jenin

Israeli invasion into Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank during 1-11 April 2002 as part of ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ during the Second Intifada. Claimed by Israel as a defensive measure against suspected militants, Palestinians considered the assault as collective punishment and a show of Israel’s military might. There were allegations of a massacre, with over 50 Palestinians killed (according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) in some cases constituting war crimes). While the army blocked humanitarian and medical assistance to the residents, a large section of Jenin refugee camp was razed to the ground (according to HRW, 35% of the camp) leaving 3,000 Palestinians homeless. Palestinian resistance was fierce and left over 20 soldiers dead.

Battle of Karameh

Legendary battle that took place on 21 March 1968 at Karameh, Jordan, in which Jordanian and PLO forces repulsed an Israeli raid (codenamed Operation ‘Inferno’) on the town, which served as a base for PLO/Fateh guerillas, as well as the nearby village of Safi. The raid was in reprisal for a series of attacks by the Palestinian guerillas against Israel. After the battle, the PLO's strength began to grow, which eventually led to the 1970 Black September in Jordan (see below). The partial defeat inflicted on the Israel troops at Karameh (although most of the Karameh camp was destroyed and hundreds of prisoners were taken) was the political and military turning point in Palestinian resistance, as it restored the dignity and self-esteem of the Palestinians and of the Arab World at large, especially after the disaster of the 1967 June War. Its anniversary is still marked by Palestinians.

BDS movement


Beilin-Eitan Agreement

(in full: National Agreement Regarding the Negotiations on the Permanent Settlement with the Palestinians) Agreement regarding future negotiations with the Palestinians reached between Labor and Likud MKs, headed by Yossi Beilin of Labor and Michael Eitan of Likud (with the blessing of then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) in 1997 (publicized on 26 January 1997). It foresaw the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian entity in the OPT, the territory of which was yet to be negotiated but would clearly not imply a return to the 1967 borders nor the dismantlement of settlements, which would remain under Israeli sovereignty and whose territorial contiguity with Israel would be assured. The Jordan River would be Israel’s security border and the army would be deployed in a special security zone in the Jordan Valley. Jerusalem would become the undivided unified capital of Israel and be recognized as such by the new Palestinian entity, whose governing center would be outside the city’s existing municipal borders. Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem would be granted special status. As for refugees, there would be no return to Israel and entry to the new the Palestinian entity would be subject to negotiations. Neither the Likud nor the Labor Party endorsed the plan.

Ben-Eliezer Proposal

Plan put forward by then Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) in July 2002, based on the "vision of two states for two peoples,” UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, and 1397, as well as the Clinton parameters and the Saudi proposal. The plan included fighting against terrorism, security separation (including erection of a fence between Israel and the WBGS), negotiations, the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state in “most” of the WBGS with territorial continuity in the West Bank, and special arrangements for travel between the West Bank to Gaza. Israel would abandon settlements in Gaza and isolated ones in the West Bank, annex the large settlement blocs adjacent to Israel proper (with territorial swaps), and limit construction to the natural growth needs of existing settlements. West Jerusalem would be enlarged, including settlements in East Jerusalem, and be recognized as the capital of Israel. The Old City and its holy sites would need a ‘special regime’, in which no one would obtain sovereignty over Haram Ash-Sharif. As for 1948 refugees, the plan rejected the right of return and called for resettlement in the future Palestinian state or the granting of citizenship in their current host countries.

Benchmark Document

see Acceleration Benchmarks for Agreement on Movement and Access

Bertini Report

Report prepared by Ms. Catherine Bertini, under the auspices of UN/OCHA, as Personal Humanitarian Envoy of the UN Secretary General. The report was published on 19 August 2002, and concluded, “There is a serious humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza. The crisis is not a 'traditional' humanitarian crisis, such as those caused by famines or droughts, but is inextricably linked to the ongoing conflict and particularly to the measures imposed by Israel." The report was not binding, and was rejected by Israel.


(acronym for Brith Yousef Trumpeldor) Zionist movement established in 1923 as the youth movement of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky’s Revisionist party and named after Joseph Trumpeldor, who died defending the settlement of Tel Hai. The movement emphasized Hebrew language, culture, and self-defense, as well as the goal of a Jewish state "on both sides of the Jordan." Its members fought against the British during the Mandate. Later, they have been traditionally linked to Likud party (and its predecessors). Today, Betar promotes Jewish leadership on university campuses as well as in local communities in Israel and internationally.


(Arabic: Al-Izzariyya) Biblical village recorded in the New Testament as the home of Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Simon the Leper, as well as the place from where Jesus parted from his disciples at the Ascension. Today it is commonly identified with the Palestinian suburb of Al-Izzariyya some 2 km east of Jerusalem, which has recently been bisected by the Israeli Separation Barrier.


West Bank village 12 km west of Ramallah that has gained international attention for its weekly non-violent demonstrations against the Israeli Separation Barrier. The protestors include Palestinians (nearly all 1,800 villagers in Bil'in have participated in the protest), Israelis, and internationals. Over 1,000 people have been injured during and arrested as result of the protests. In September 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered its government to redraw the route of the Barrier near the village. However, no implementation of their order took place. In December 2008, the High Court of Justice found the Israeli Defence Ministry in contempt for failing to implement its ruling on the Separation Barrier and stated that the government must comply with their decision "without any further delays." However, the weekly protests continue as of February 2009, which marks 4 years of continuous popular struggle in Bil’in. A film portraying the protests shot from the perspective of the people of Bil'in over many years starting in 2005 called 5 Broken Cameras, by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi became popular after its release in 2012 and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature in the 85th Academy Awards.

Bilad Ash-sham

Arabic term traditionally referring to the region of the Levant or ‘Greater Syria’, i.e., the regions of the eastern Mediterranean (modern day Syria, Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, and Jordan).

Biltmore Program

Series of eight resolutions adopted by the May 1942 Zionist Conference, which took place at the Biltmore Hotel in New York (thus sometimes referred to as Biltmore Conference), after the real dimensions of the Holocaust became known. Among the nearly 600 delegates, there were Zionist leaders from the US and 17 other countries. The program totally rejected the British 1939 White Paper and called for the establishment of a Jewish state. It urged that "Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth integrated in the structure of the new democratic world (after World War II)." There was opposition to the proposal by the non-Zionists and those who believed in a bi-national state. After approval of the resolutions by the Zionist General Council in Palestine, the Biltmore Program became the platform of the World Zionist Organization.


Concept of a single secular state providing a national home for both Jews and Arabs on the same territory (a one-state solution as opposed to partition/two-state solution). The idea of a bi-national state goes back to the 1920s, when it was pro¬posed in one form or another by Jewish intellectuals, and has recently been revised in the face of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence, continuous Israeli unilateral measures to create facts on the ground in Palestinian territories, and the impasse in the negotiations. Nevertheless, it is estimated that a majority of both Jews and Palestinians reject the idea of a bi-national state. Main forms of bi-nationalism include the consociational democracy (e.g., Northern Ireland) and the federal model (e.g., Switzerland).

Black Panthers

(Arabic: Al-Fahd Al-Aswad) Para-military secular group formed by Fateh during the first Intifada in the northern West Bank. It became mainly known for executing Palestinian collaborators and attacking Israeli forces. Its apparent brutality and outright rejection of the peace process provoked public rebukes from the mainstream Fateh leadership. Following a harsh Israeli crackdown on their members and the signing of the Oslo Accords, which they jointly with other groups such as the Fateh Hawks and Hamas completely rejected, they lost strength but maintained arms and continued low-level violence. In 2005, a group under the same name (re-)emerged in Gaza, claiming responsibility for a number of kidnappings of foreign aid workers and journalists.

Black September

Military confrontation between the Jordanian army and Palestinian guerrillas in Jordan in September 1970 after PFLP commandos hijacked four air¬planes "to pay special attention to the Palestinian problem," blew two of them up, and declared the Irbid region a “liberated area”. The civil war-like confrontation began on 15 September 1970, when King Hussein, challenged by PLO attempts to create a ‘state within a state’, declared martial law and the American backed Jordanian army began attacking the headquarters of Palestinian organizations, first in Amman, then in other locations as well. The fighting left some 2,000 dead and led, after weeks of bitter fighting, to the expulsion of the PLO leadership and troops from Jordan. When the PLO set up its new bases in Beirut, Israeli retaliatory air raids on Lebanon began.

Black September Organization

Palestinian group founded by Fateh members in the 1970s as a small cell and is named after the 1970 'Black September' conflict between Jordanian military forces and Palestinian fighters (see entry above). The organization was joined by members of other factions and groups determined to take revenge on King Hussein and the Jordanian army, and operated from bases in Syria and Lebanon. The Black September Organization became known for the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Bludan Conference(s)

(I.) The Arab conference that convened in 1937 in Bludan, Syria, in response to the 1937 Peel Commission Partition Plan. Participants rejected partition of historic Palestine and a Jewish state and confirmed Palestine’s place as part of the Arab World. (II.) Arab League conference held on 8 June 1946 in Bludan, Syria. Participants denounced the findings of the 1945-46 Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry, criticized Western/US policy, and discussed ways in which Arab states could assist the Palestinians, including reconstituting the Arab Higher Committee and dispatching forces from various Arab armies into Palestine in the case of war.

Blue Line

Border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel drawn by the UN on 7 June 2000 to determine whether Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon. The Blue Line is based on the deployment of the Israeli army prior to 14 March 1978, when Israel launched Operation Litani and occupied the entire southern part of Lebanon. The blue line has been violated multiple times by both Israel and Lebanon.

Bolling Air Force Base

US base near Washington, DC, where Israeli and Palestinian delegations led by Oded Eran and Yasser Abed Rabbo held intense and secluded talks in spring 2000. Negotiations focused on some of the tough outstanding ‘final status’ issues with the aim of reaching a framework agreement by May 2000 and a final agreement by 13 September 2000. Talks ended without the hoped-for breakthrough.

Border Guards/Borders Police

(also known by its Hebrew abbreviation Magav) Military branch of the Israeli police, mainly professional officers on payroll and field policemen redirected from the army. All border policemen receive combat training and consequently are employed in unquiet areas, where there are greater risks for violence. They serve mainly in the countryside, in Arab villages and towns (along with the regular police), near the borders, and in the West Bank. The Border Guards heaviest area of operation is the city of Jerusalem.


Israel has actually never officially fixed its territorial borders, which are still based on those which were eventually established by the British Mandate. When the state of Israel was established on 14 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion refused to define its borders, saying, “We are announcing the creation of a state in the Western part of our country.” Some Israeli Jews still refer to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria and consider it part of ‘Greater’ or ‘Eretz Yisrael.’ Israeli peace groups, such as Gush Shalom, call for the pre-1967 borders, or Green Line, to be accepted as the 'border of peace.' In January 2001, agreements at Taba, Egypt (later repudiated by Israel), acknowledged the 1967 borders as the basis for lasting peace. Israel’s borders with Egypt and with Jordan have been formalized in peace treaties, that with Lebanon is part of the 1949 Armistice Agreement, while the borders with Syria and the Palestinian territories are still not settled and yet to be negotiated.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

International economic campaign and movement launched on 9 July 2005 by 171 Palestinian NGOs, calling for boycott (withdrawing support for Israel and Israeli and international companies that are involved in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as well as complicit Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions), divestment (urging banks, local councils, churches, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from Israeli and international companies involved in violating Palestinian rights) and sanctions (pressuring governments to fulfill their legal obligation to hold Israel accountable, e.g., by ending trade agreements or expelling Israel from international forums such as the UN and FIFA) against Israel until it complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights." Refers to non-violent punitive measures aimed at pressuring Israel to recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and to comply with its obligations under international law. The three stated goals of the campaign are (1) an end to Israel's “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall," (2) Israel’s recognition of the "fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality," and (3) Israeli respect, protection, and promotion of "the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194." In 2017, the Knesset passed a law barring BDS supporters from Israel.

Brezhnev Plan

Six-point plan for the Middle East presented by Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev on 15 September 1982. It includes (1) the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and thus (2) the need for a complete Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem; (3) the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinians to self-determination and to the establishment of their own independent state; (4) safeguarding the right of all states in the region to secure an independent existence and development; (5) termination of the state of war and the establishment of peace between the Arab States and Israel; and (6) the elaboration and adoption of international guarantees of a peaceful settlement. The six points were subsequently reaffirmed on 5 January 1983 by the Political Consultative Committee of the States Parties to the Warsaw Treaty.

British Mandate

Form of administrative control given to the British by the League of Nations, based on the decision of the 1920 San Remo Conference awarding the mandate for Syria and Lebanon to France and that of Palestine, Transjordan and Mesopotamia (Iraq) to Britain. The fact that the British mandate included references to the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of a Jewish homeland was a severe blow to the Arabs. The League of Nations Council formally approved the mandate on 24 July 1922 - without the consent of the Palestinians – which then became official on 29 September 1923. Sir Herbert Samuel was appointed first High Commissioner. By the power granted under the mandate, Britain ruled Palestine in the years 1920-1948. In 1947, Britain decided to terminate the Mandate and submitted the Question of Palestine to the UN. On 15 May 1948, the Mandate officially ended.

British Military Administration

(also: Occupied Enemy Territory Administration - OETA) Military rule in Palestine that followed the British conquest of Palestine in 1917 and lasted until 1920 when the British Mandate and its civil administration replaced it.

Building Permit

Document or license Palestinians must obtain from the Israeli authorities (except in PA-controlled areas) in order to be able to build on their land. Because Israel’s pol¬icy is politically motivated, it is very difficult for Palestinians to obtain building permits, which is particularly true with regard to East Jerusalem, where Israel aims to maintain a Jewish majority. And even if a permit is granted, there are still very high costs accompanied with it. Consequently, many Palestinians build without permits and their homes are thus ‘illegal’ under Israeli law, making them vulnerable to Israel’s house demolition policy. One of the main obstacles in obtaining building permits are Israeli declarations of land as ‘unfit for building’ or as ‘green’ or ‘open space,’ where construction is forbidden. Often this is the case in areas earmarked for future building by Israel (e.g., settlement expansion). Inability to prove land ownership, which was not documented under Ottoman rule, the British Mandate, Jordanian, or Israeli rule, and very high costs for building permits are additional obstacles.


(English: lightning) According to Islamic belief, a winged horse-like creature that first bore Mohammed on his Isra’ (night journey) from Mecca to a place in Jerusalem near the Western Wall of the Second Temple, and then to heaven on his Mi’raj in the company of the angel Jibril. Traditions also state that Al-Buraq was the mount of all the prophets.

Al-Buraq revolt or riots

see Western Wall Disturbances

Al-Buraq Wall

represents the southwestern section of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s wall, some 50 meters in length and approximately 20 meters in height. It is part of Al-Aqsa Mosque and considered an Islamic property. The Buraq (English- Lightning) winged horse-like creature that first bore Prophet Mohammed on his Isra’ (night journey) from Mecca to Jerusalem, tied it near the wall, before ascending to heaven, when he received his revelation of Islam and lead the other prophets of God in prayer. The Jews call it the “Wailing Wall’, the “Western Wall” or the “Kotel”, and claim it is the remaining part of the Sulaiman Temple.

Burj Al-Laqlaq

(English: Storks Tower) Site located at the northeast corner of the Old City, which was built in 1537. The site was acquired by Burj Al-Laqlaq Community Society from private Palestinian owners to be used for social, educational and recreational activities. On 25 July 2005, the West Jerusalem Planning Committee approved a plan - dating back to 1990 when Ariel Sharon was housing minister - for construction of a Jewish settlement (21 housing units and a synagogue) on a 3.8-dunum site. The Israel Land Administration owns 1,9 dunums (absentee property) of the land in question while Himanuta Ltd., a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund, owns 1,3 dunums, which were reportedly acquired privately from the White Russian Orthodox Church in 1982. In 1998, settlers from Ataret Cohanim – protected by Israeli soldiers - laid the 'cornerstone' for the new settlement and moved land caravans to the area. However, due to the ensuing confrontations with Palestinians, the process was halted in June 1998 by the Israeli government, which 'compensated' the settlers by allowing excavations works at the site. In addition, it should be noted that the proposed construction represents a technical and engineering violation of the Old City regulations since Buri Al-Laqlaq is not only an archeological site also a 'green area' where building of any kind is prohibited.

Bus 300 Affair

Refers to the murder of two Palestinian hijackers of an Israeli bus by agents of the Shin Bet, and the subsequent attempt within the Shin Bet to hide the truth. In April 1984, four PFLP activists hijacked Egged Bus No. 300 en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon with 41 passengers and forced it to drive to the Gaza Strip in order to press for the release of some 500 prisoners from Israeli jails. In Deir Al-Balah, the bus was stormed by Israeli forces; during the operation, one passenger and two of the hijackers were killed, while the other two reportedly were wounded and died en route to a hospital. However, a government report later revealed that the two detained hijackers were torture and beaten to death by agents on order by then Shin Bet chief Avraham Shalom.

Bypass road

Term that emerged from the Oslo Ac¬cords, referring to roads built for and used by Israelis to link settlements with each other and with Israel proper to circumvent Palestinian built up areas. The main rationale behind these roads is the ‘security’ of the settlers, but they also serve the purpose of dividing the West Bank into isolated ‘’cantons’ and blocking Palestinian development. It is argued that bypass roads entirely bury the possibility of establishing an independent contiguous and viable Palestinian state. Bypass roads are under Israeli control and entail a 50-75-m buffer zone on each side of the road in which no construction is allowed. Typically, they are built at the expense of Palestinian agricultural land and development plans. To date, Israel has constructed some 794.79 km of bypass roads in the West Bank. Palestinians are denied access to most of them (often enforced with cement blocks, trenches, earth-mounds, barbwires and iron gates) under the pretext of military and/or security purposes. The largest bypass road networks are in the Ramallah and Hebron areas.

B’nai B'rith

(English: Sons of the Covenant) The world's oldest and largest Jewish fraternal and charitable organization, founded by a group of German-Jewish immigrants in 1843 in New York, with the goal of uniting Jews and protecting Jewish interests around the world. Today B'nai B'rith fights against anti-semitism and anti-Israel bias, provides senior housing and advocacy on issues of vital concern to seniors and their families, helps communities in crisis, and promotes Jewish identity through cultural activities. Its work is implemented by several centers. In recent years, B’nai B'rith reported hundreds of thousands of members and supporters, mainly in the US, and a budget of $14 million.

Cairo Agreement (Fatah-Hamas)

(1) Egyptian-mediated agreement reached on 27 April 2011 and formally signed on 4 May 2011 by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo, paving the way for a transitional technocrat government, preparation for elections, and Hamas’ access to the PLO. However, persistent differences between the two sides led to the suspension of further talks. (2) Reconciliation Accord signed by Hamas and Fatah in Cairo on 20 May 2012, to carry out the previous Doha Agreement, signed three and a half months earlier and prepare for elections of a new unity government. However, because of continued disagreements between the two sides, the agreement was terminated. (3) Understanding reached between Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and PLO/PA President Mahmoud Abbas and signed on 25 September 2014 in Cairo, stipulating that the Palestinian Unity Government would assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and allow the PA to take control over the border crossings, work on lifting the siege and reconstructing the Gaza Strip, convene a donor conference, revive the PLC, and implement the understanding laid down in the 2006 and 2011 National Conciliation Documents.

Cairo Agreement (Israeli-Palestinian)

see Gaza-Jericho Agreement

Cairo Declaration (Fatah-Hamas)

Document signed on 19 March 2005 by including Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP and DFLP in a bid to unite the Palestinian factions against the Israeli occupation. This first attempt at Intra-Palestinian conciliation also called for reforming the PLO so as to include all Palestinian groups.


(Arabic: Khalifa) Combining the notions of ‘successor’ and 'deputy', referring to Prophet Mohammed’s successors to lead the Muslim community. The four caliphs, known as Rashidun (the rightly guided ones), are Abu Baker Sadiq, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, Othman Ibn Affan, and Ali Ibn Abu Taleb.

Camp David

US presidential retreat outside Washington where numerous Middle East negotiations have been held, including Egyptian-Israeli talks in 1978, brokered by President Jimmy Carter, which led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. More recently, in July 2000, Camp David was the place where President Clinton unsuccessfully attempted to achieve a similarly historic final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Camp David Accords

Israeli-Egyptian agreements signed by Egyptian President Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin, witnessed by US President Carter, at the White House on 17 September 1978 after twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David. The first agreement dealt with all aspects of withdrawal from the Sinai and offered a framework for the conclusion of an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. The second agreement established a for¬mat for the conduct of negotiations for the establishment of an autonomous regime in the West Bank and Gaza. In November 1978, the Arab Summit in Baghdad rejected the accords and ostracized Egypt from the Arab League. The actual Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was signed on 26 March 1979.

Campbell-Bannerman Report

Report submitted in 1907 to British Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman by a committee of scholars from seven European countries that were commissioned to study ways to assure the continuity of European colonialist interests The report emphasized that the Arab countries and the Muslim-Arab people living in the Ottoman Empire presented a very real threat to European countries, especially if and when they are liberated, united and progress, and recommended to the British government that it split and divide the Arab world in order to weaken it and gain control of it. It thus recommended disintegration, division, and separation in the region, to establish artificial political entities that would be under the authority of the imperialist countries, to fight any kind of unity - whether intellectual, religious or historical, and to take practical measures to divide the region’s inhabitants. To achieve this, the report proposed a “buffer state” in Palestine, populated by a strong, foreign presence that would be hostile to its neighbors and friendly to European countries and their interests. As the report was strategically important it was suppressed and until today never released to the public. However, reference to it was made by lawyer Antoine Canaan in various lectures in 1949, renown Egyptian writer Muhammad Hassanein Haikal, and others.

Center of Life Policy

Discriminatory regulation, introduced by Israel in 1995, authorizing the confiscation of ID cards from Palestinian Jerusalemites who are unable to proof to the Interior Ministry and the National Insurance Institute that Jerusalem had been their center of life for the prior seven years by producing tax receipts, educational certificates, employment records and utility bills that demonstrate continuous residency in the city. This measure turned applications for family reunification very difficult and was also applied with regard to granting permits to visit the Occupied Territories to residents living outside. Revocation of residency rights has to date affected over 14,000 East Jerusalemite Palestinians who are denied the right to live and work in Jerusalem and lose access to social benefits for themselves and their families.

Center Party

(Hebrew: Hamercaz) Short-lived moderate party in Israel (1999-2003) established by Yitzhak Mordechai, Am¬non Lipkin-Shahak, Roni Milo and Dan Meridor to carve out a centrist position between Labor and Likud. Called for a separation between Israel and the Palestinians but did not rule out the option of uprooting settlements in the WBGS and sup-ported territorial compromise on the Golan Heights. The Center Party began to unravel following Mordechai's resignation from the Barak led government in 2000, amid a sex scandal, and the party did not run in the 2003 elections.


Traditional system of rabbinic distribution of remittances from Jewish communities abroad to religious communities in Palestine – especially Jerusalem. It was the primary source of income for the Jewish communities in Palestine until the advent of Zionist immigration and production-based economic activities.

Change and Reform

Name under which Hamas ran in the January 2006 PLC elections and obtained 42.9% of the vote, winning 74 of 132 parliament seats, partially due to public impatience with the PA’s corruption and its inability to win concessions in negotiations with Israel. In the election manifesto, Hamas omitted its call for the elimination of Israel from, calling instead for the "establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem." Hamas also vowed an end to corruption and lawlessness in the Palestinian territories and advocated cutting ties with Israel, while strengthening relations with Arab countries. Further, Hamas promised to build an independent economy, effective education and health systems, and to reconstruct the Palestinian infrastructure.


(Arabic: hajez, Hebrew: mahsoum) Road¬blocks or other barriers imposed by the Israeli army or border police permanently or temporarily throughout the WBGS, to control/restrict the movement of Palestinians between villages and towns. In many cases, especially with regard to permanent check¬points, Palestinians require previous permits is¬sued by the Israeli authorities in order to be eligible to pass. Checkpoints cause immense travel delays and restrictions; as a result, deaths occasionally occur when individuals, incl. women in labor, and/or ambulances are prevented from reaching hospitals/medical care, and often agricultural products are spoiled due to delays lasting up to several days. By 2017, B’Tselem identified 39 permanent checkpoints within the West Bank (12 of which in Hebron), 26 permanent checkpoints along the separation barrier and the Green Line, 16 temporarily staffed checkpoints, and hundreds of physical roadblocks.

Christian Zionism

Belief system in support of the state of Israel and the development of a Jewish commonwealth in the belief that the founding of the state of Israel and the gathering of Jewish exiles is the first stage of fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. The second stage is then the return of the Messiah to the land of Israel. Their theological position is that in the end days all Jews will be killed with the exception of 144,000 who accept Christ. The International Christian Embassy in West Jerusalem, which is non-governmental, represents these Christians, but is not recognized by the historic churches in the Holy Land.


The Christians in Israel and Palestine, and throughout the Middle East, belong to the Eastern Orthodox (the Greek Orthodox Church being the largest and most prominent), Oriental Orthodox (including the Coptic Orthodox Church and Armenian Apostolic Church), Catholic Church (mainly Latin Catholic, Greek Catholic/Melkite, and Maronite), and the Evangelical/Protestant Church (mainly Anglicans and Lutherans). All of these denominations are members of the Middle East Council of Churches, which serves as an umbrella organization. The number of Christians in the region has declined significantly during previous decades, either because of persecution, or as a consequence of voluntary emigration. As a percentage of the total population, their decline is even more significant, because they generally have lower birth rates than the surrounding Muslim society. Declines are most acute in Palestine where the size of the Christian community has dropped from approximately 10% of the total population in 1948 to less than 2% today.

Churchill Memorandum

also: or White Paper of 1922) British policy statement on Palestine, named after the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Winston Churchill, which was issued by British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel in June 1922 in the wake of escalating violence. The memorandum stated that Arab hostility against Jews stemmed from Jewish immigration and Zionist policy and reasserted British support for the idea of a Jewish national home in Palestine, for which “it is necessary that the Jewish community in Palestine should be able to increase its numbers by immigration.” However, it stated that the British government did not wish to see Palestine become "as Jewish as England is English", but rather see the establishment of "a center in which Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride." Further, the memorandum iterated that Jewish immigration should not exceed the economic absorptive capacity of the country.

Churchill White Paper

see Churchill Memorandum

Citizenship law

(full: Nationality and Entry into Israel Law 'Temporary Order' - 2003) Legislation passed by the Knesset on 31 July 2003, prohibiting citizenship, permanent residency and/or temporary residency status to West Bank/Gaza Palestinians married to Israeli citizens. Nearly all of the affected Israeli families – over 21,000 - are Arab. The law also denies citizenship to children born of an Israeli citizen and resident of the WBGS. Via special permission from Israel's Interior Minister, children will be allowed to remain with their family in Israel until the age of 12, when the child will be uprooted and forced to leave the state. The Law has been extended several times since its creation.

City of David

Narrow promontory beyond the southern edge of Haram Ash-Sharif and the Old City, where Israelis claim King David created the city of Jerusalem over 3,000 years ago. The area is part of the Palestinian village/neighborhood of Silwan, which maps issued by the Israeli government and Israeli organizations include as the City of David. Since Israel gained control over East Jerusalem in 1967, Jewish settler organizations (Elad and Ateret Cohanim) have sought to re-establish a Jewish presence in Silwan, particularly in the Al-Bustan neighborhood (see above). Jewish settlers have taken several houses and apartment in the City of David area, where they make up 18% of the residents (2014).

Civil Administration

Form of Israeli control over the WBGS introduced by Military Order No. 947 of 8 November 1981 (Order for the Establishment of the Civilian Administration, Judea and Samaria), replacing the previous Military Government. Henceforth, powers of government, legislation, appointment and administration in relation to the WBGS and/or its inhabitants were exercised by the head of the Civil Administration.

Civil Defense

Small Palestinian security force (estimated 400 men) responsible for emergency responses, such as fire, medical, or natural disaster.

Civil Police

Palestinian police responsible for day-to-day policing, arrest of criminals, and traffic control. Civil police is organized in WBGS districts and operates in the Area’s A and B, in which the PA exerts civil control.

Clinton Parameters

(also: Clinton Proposal) Guidelines for final accelerated negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis formulated by then US President Clinton, who hop¬ed to conclude a comprehensive agreement between the two sides before the end of his term in office. The parameters, given orally to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators at a trilateral meeting in the White House on 23 December 2000, built upon previous negotiations with Israel, but fell short of the international legal standard for ending Israel’s occupation and recognizing the rights of Palestinian refugees. The parameters were officially outlined in Clinton’s speech to the Israeli Policy Forum on 7 January 2001 in New York and served as the basis for the Taba Talks later that month (Prime Minister Barak and President Arafat both accepted the parameters, with reservations, as the basis for further talks, but the election of Ariel Sharon in February effectively ended the peace process). The parameters included: (1) the establishment of a non-militarized "sovereign, viable Palestinian State that would accommodate Israel's security requirements and the demographic realities" in most of the WBGS with few land swaps; (2) a solution for the refugees that would allow them to return to a Palestinian state, resettlement in their current locations, or in third countries, as well as compensation from the international community for their losses and assistance in building their new lives; (3) an international presence to provide border security and monitor implementation of the final agreement; (4) "fair and logical propositions" regarding Jerusalem to remain an open and undivided city with assured freedom of access and worship for all and incorporation of the principle ‘what is Arab should be Palestinian’ and ‘what is Jewish should be Israeli'; and (5) an official end to the conflict.

Closed Military Zone

Areas declared by the Israeli army to be closed in order to deny access to civilians, including journalists, for instance to prevent demonstrations or civil disobedience. Those declarations are based on the emergency rules created by the British Mandate in 1945. Usually Closed Military Zones are often characterized by a massive increase in military presence and heavy surveillance of the local Palestinian population. While Palestinians are forbidden to enter these areas without authorization from the Israeli military commander, Israeli citizens, Jews from throughout the world and tourists are permitted to enter without special permits. Considerable parts of such closed areas are used by settlers for the benefit of expanding settlements.


(also referred to as siege or blockade) Israeli-imposed movement restrictions for Palestinian goods and labor on the pretext of ‘security.’ There are three basic forms: internal closure (movement restriction within the WBGS through a network of military checkpoints, reinforced by curfews); external closure of the West Bank and Gaza borders with Israel; and external closing of international borders (e.g., Gaza inter¬national airport, border crossings with Jordan and Egypt). Closures are of unspecified duration, may be total or partial, and are often imposed without explanation. Whole cities or only certain areas can be closed off or a particular population group (e.g., men under the age of 35) can be excluded. Closures seriously disrupt daily life, preventing Palestinians from reaching hospitals and other medical care, schools and universities, as well as working places and places of worship.

Closure Obstacles

Checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers imposed by the Israeli army or border police permanently or temporarily throughout the WBGS, to control/restrict the movement of Palestinians between villages and towns. In many cases, especially with regard to permanent checkpoints, Palestinians require previous permits is¬sued by the Israeli authorities in order to be eligible to pass. Checkpoints cause immense travel delays and restrictions; as a result, deaths occasionally occur when individuals, including women in labor, and/or ambulances are prevented from reaching hospitals/medical care, and often agricultural products are spoiled due to delays lasting for several days. As of September 2008, there were 630 closure obstacles blocking internal Palestinian movement in the West Bank, including 93 staffed checkpoints.

Coastal Aquifer

Underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock stretching along the Mediterranean coastline of Israel and the Gaza Strip. Its length from north to south is 120 km and its width 7-20 km. The active storage of the aquifer is estimated at 20 billion cm (cubic meters) of water and its safe yield is close to 300 mcm (million cubic meters)/year with an estimated annual recharge of 55‐65 mcm. The aquifer contributes some 20% of Israel’s fresh water supply and is also the main aquifer in the Gaza Strip. Increased seawater intrusion, infiltration of contaminants, particularly chlorides and nitrates, through the surface soil layer, and dropping water levels due to over exploitation have all decreased the fresh water storage in the aquifer (with total pumping exceeding total recharge).


(Arabic: Al-Amil) Term referring to those who betray their own people, generally out of a position of weakness or suffering (i.e., under torture) or are driven by personal benefits. In the Palestinian context, collaborators are individuals who cooperate with Israeli authorities, providing intelligence information on people within their own community or performing other tasks on behalf of the occupiers. There are four primary types of collaborators: land dealer (simsar al-‘ardi), intermediary (al-wasit), armed (al-amil al-musallah), and informer (jasous). The Palestinian collaborator is an expression of Israel's larger 'defense' policies, in which the collaborator serves the purpose of creating mistrust, spreading confusion and undermining collective self-confidence within Palestinian society. Masterminding this strategy is Israel’s secret police Shin Bet. The PA has offered on various occasions an amnesty to collaborators in return for a full confession. Over the years, several collaborators found guilty of helping Israel to assassinate Palestinian activists have been sentenced to death and formally executed. Other (suspected) collaborators have been killed (sometimes hung in public) by activists from the various factions. Some collaborators are motivated by financial benefits while in other cases Palestinians have been blackmailed by Israeli intelligence officers.

Collective Punishment

Israeli practice of punishing en¬tire Palestinian families, neighborhoods, communities, or cit¬ies for the act of one or a few. Forms of punishment include the sealing or demolishing of homes, imposing curfews, erecting roadblocks, confiscating personal property, uprooting trees, destroying agricultural land and infrastructure (e.g., water systems), and closing commercial, educational and cultural sites. In Gaza, collective punishment of the people has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis, as Israel has closed all border crossings, de facto sealing the strip from the rest of the world, disrupted power supplies and fuel shipments, increased monitoring of funds, ceased visits to prisoners, and allowed only essential food and medicine to be brought in. Collective punishment is expressively forbidden by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is prohibited by Israel's own laws, as well.

Commercial Strike

Non-violent form of economic protest that emerged during the first Intifada first as an on-the-spot protest at Israeli army actions and later organized throughout the WBGS with shops being shut down for days and sometimes weeks. Due to the resulting loss of income, tax revenues to Israel were drastically reduced. In more recent years, one- or two-day commercial strikes are called for by the various political factions in response to Israeli attacks, assassinations or other actions. During strike days, Palestinians are encouraged to take to the streets in peaceful protests.

Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)

(also: Young Turks) Turkish revolutionary nationalist reform party, which had its origins in secret societies of progressive students, army officers, and government officials, who operated underground after the constitution was abrogated by the Sultan. In 1908, CUP leaders led a rebellion against Sultan Abdul Hamid II to restore constitutional rule. The rebellion was widely supported by both Arab nationalists and Zionists and resulted in Hamid being deposed and exiled. Soon after Muslims, Christians and Jews joined together to found a branch of the CUP in Jerusalem. The CUP effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1908 until 1918, but it soon became clear that their goal was the Turkification of the Ottoman domain rather than granting local autonomy to minorities. In response, Arab intellectuals in Beirut, Cairo and Damascus formed clandestine political societies (e.g., the Ottoman Decentralization Party, Al-Ahd and Al-Fatat), though these lacked support among the masses.

Common Agenda

see Israel-Jordan Common Agenda

Conference Plan

(also: Realignment Plan) Plan formulated by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during the election campaign for the 17th Knesset in 2006, claiming that if he was elected Prime Minister, within four years he would unilaterally remove Israeli settlements from most of the West Bank and consolidate them into large groups of settlements near the 1967 border. In fact, the plan foresaw the annexation of some 10% of the West Bank, including settlements and historic areas in East Jerusalem, along a perimeter defined more or less by the separation barrier (all area west of it). Israel would expand settlements west of the barrier and withdraw its settlers from the remaining areas, while maintaining exclusive security control over all territories as well as over the border crossing points to Jordan.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (Cogat)

Head of a unit, subordinated to the Israeli Defense Ministry, which is in charge of coordinating civilian issues between the Government of Israel, the army, international organizations, diplomats, and the PA. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, it has branches in the fields of economics, infrastructure, international relations and foreign affairs, public appeals, spokesperson office, and an advisor for matters related to Palestinian affairs.

Copenhagen Group

see International Alliance for Arab-Israeli Peace

Corpus Seprartum

(English: separate body) Status proposed for Jerusalem and surrounding areas, including Bethlehem, by the UN General Assembly within the Partition Plan of November 1947. The city, within an area of 258 km2 was to be internationalized under a UN trusteeship, which would have guaranteed freedom of access to holy places, provided an international police force, and remained responsible for foreign affairs. After a ten-year period, a plebiscite was to be held, after which further recommendations would be discussed by the trusteeship council. UN General Assembly Resolution 303 of 9 December 1949 reiterated the UN commitment to internationalization of Jerusalem, and designated it a "corpus separatum."


Form of collective punishment and means of control employed by the Israeli government/army, whereby inhabitants of a Palestinian community are forced to stay indoors for as specified period of time (hours, days and sometimes weeks) with occasional breaks to stock food and other supplies. Curfews were used particularly during the first Intifada, for instance, to prevent the spread of public protests.


Traditional folk dance of both men and women in the Levant and is the national dance of Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan. The meaning of dabkeh is stomping of the feet, and stomping, as well as jumping and kicking, are moves that are represented in the dabkeh. The leader, called raas (head) or lawwih (waver), is allowed to improvise on the type of dabkeh being performed, while simultaneously twirling a handkerchief or string of beads known as a masbha (similar to a rosary). Meanwhile, the dancers use vocalizations to energize the performance and punctuate the rhythm. It is also a dance of solidarity and a way of expressing nationalism through art.

Damascus Ten

(also: Alliance of Palestinian Forces or Damascus Alliance) Umbrella group of ten Pales-tinian factions - DFLP, PFLP, PFLP-GC, PPSF, PLF, Fateh-Uprising, PRCP, Al-Sa‘iqa, Hamas & Islamic Jihad – formed in September 1992 as the 'National Democratic & Islamic Front' to oppose the peace negotiations with Israel and reaffirm the legitimacy of all forms of struggle to liberate the Palestinian homeland. The coalition is based in Damascus and has been largely in¬effective, in particular because of fundamental ideological differences between the Islamic groups such as Hamas and secular factions like the PFLP. In 1998, the Damascus Ten re-established itself as the 'Palestinian Follow-up Committee' in opposition to the signing of the Wye River Memorandum, and a year later the DFLP and PFLP were expelled for their reconciliation with the PLO leadership under Arafat. In 1999, Syrian government authorities issued an instruction to the Damascus-based factions to end armed actions, a move which meant that the idea of the Alliance as a coordination of armed struggle was abandoned. Thus, today, it has a largely marginalized structure.

Dar Al-Tifl Al-Arabi

(English: House of Arab Children) School located in East Jerusalem that was established by Hind Al-Husseini as an orphanage for victims of the Deir Yassin massacre in 1948. The school is in Dar Husseini, the home her grandfather built in Jerusalem and has grown into a school, museum, and adjoining college.

Dayton Forces

Palestinian security personnel trained by American private contractors and the Jordanian Public Security Directorate under the mission of US Security Coordinator Keith Dayton during 2005-2010. The training facilities (located outside of Amman) were provided by the US States and equipped by Egypt. The mission was controversial with some senior Pentagon officers arguing that a US training mission may raise serious objections among Arabs and Israelis claiming they were a threat. Many Palestinians indeed viewed those forces as an extension of the occupation and a mean to suppress PA dissent in the West Bank, and there were numerous accounts of torture and abuse of power.

Dayton, Keith

Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, a senior three-star military officer who served as the US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority from 2005 to 2010, in charge of the vetting, training, equipping, and strategic planning of PA special battalions (“Dayton Forces”).

Dead-Sea Red-Sea Canal

see Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal

Decentralization Party

(Arabic: Al-Lamarkaziyya) Party founded in Cairo in January 1913 by Arab elites from Greater Syria to promote reforms, including administrative decentralization in Arab provinces and equal rights for all Arabs within the framework of a multinational Ottoman state. The Decentralization Party was accused of being an agent of Western powers and was opposed by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) and other conservative groups. The party also established branches in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, and Jaffa but never became very influential.

Declaration of Independence

(I.) Statement issued by the Arab Higher Committee on 1 October 1948 in Gaza pro-claiming “the full independence of the whole of Palestine as bounded by Syria and Lebanon from the north, by Syria and Transjordan from the east, by the Mediterranean from the west, and by Egypt from the south, as well as the establishment of a free and democratic sovereign State.” (II.) Document issued by the 19th Palestine National Council convening in Algiers on 15 November 1988 (written by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish) declaring the formation of the independent State of Palestine, "The Palestine National Council, in the name of God, and in the name of the Palestinian Arab people; hereby proclaims the establishment of the State of Palestine on our Palestinian territory with its capital Holy Jerusalem (Al Quds Ash Sharif)", and explicitly endorsing the notion of two states for two people, one Jewish and one Palestinian. The document has thus far been recognized by 160 nations.

Declaration of Principles

(full: Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements) Agreement reached between PLO members and Israeli officials after being secretly negotiated in Oslo, Norway, and later signed in Washington, DC, on 13 September 1993. It provides the guidelines for future negotiations, as well as for a five-year interim autonomy for Palestinians in the WBGS, followed by a permanent settlement based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The declaration postponed difficult issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water, security, and borders, and was accompanied by letters from Yasser Arafat promising to change the PLO Charter, which called for destruction of Israel, and from Yitzhak Rabin, proclaiming Israel's intent to allow normalization of life in the occupied territories. Continued negotiations of led to the 1994 Oslo I and 1995 Oslo II Accords (see Gaza-Jericho Agreement and Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip).

Defense (Emergency Regulations)

Set of provisions enacted by the British Mandate government in September 1945 against illegal immigration, establishing military tribunals to try civilians without granting the right of appeal, allowing sweeping searches and seizures, prohibiting publication of books and newspapers, demolishing houses, detaining individuals administratively for an indefinite period, sealing off particular territories, and imposing curfew, etc. Israel incorporated the Regulations into its law in 1948 (Government and Law Arrangements Ordinance) and used them as the legal basis for the military rule imposed on Israel's Arab citizens in the early 1950s. Since the 1967 occupation, Israel has used these regulations extensively in the OPT, mostly as pretext for (collective) punishment and deterrence (e.g., demolition and sealing of houses, deportations, administrative detention, imposition of closures and curfews, and searching, confiscation and expropriation of property).

Deir Yassin

Arab village on the western outskirts of Jerusalem, which was attacked by Irgun and Stern Gang units on 9 April 1948, although it had a non-aggression pact with the Haganah. During the assault over 200 villagers were murdered, including many women and children, and the remaining inhabitants were expelled. The massacre, which was condemned by the Jewish Agency, was one of the main incidents that spurred the Arab exodus from other locations in Palestine. The day is commemorated as the ‘Deir Yassin Massacre.’

Democratic Choice

Russian and socialist immigrant party founded in 1999 after splitting from Natan Sharansky's Yisrael Ba'Aliya faction. Its constituency is made up almost entirely of Russian immigrants. Two months before the 2006 Knesset elections, the party withdrew its candidacy, following party founder Roman Bronfman's decision not to run in the election. The party also did not run in the 2009 elections.

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)

(Arabic: Al-Jabha Ad-Dimuqrati¬yya li-Tahrir Filastin) is a left-wing Palestinian group formed by Nayef Hawatmeh (Abu Nouf) on 22 Feb 1969 after a split from the PFLP following an ideological dispute over the necessity of adopting a Marxist program. The DFLP began a dialogue with the Israeli extreme left in 1970 and was the first PLO faction to call for a negotiated settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution. The party adopted pragmatic positions and attempted to find a midway position between PLO Chairman Arafat and his opponents. The DFLP was a member of the UNLU during the first Intifada, but split in 1990-91 over policy differences with Yasser Abed Rabbo, who formed the non-Marxist FIDA. The DFLP refused to attend the Madrid peace conference in 1991 and opposed the Oslo process. The majority of its leaders have returned to Palestine since 1996 and reconciliation with Arafat took place in Cairo in August 1999, where both sides defined red lines on permanent status negotiations. The DFLP is represented in the PLO Executive Committee by Taysir Khaled. The group launched an attack on an Israeli army base in August 2001 in Gaza, marking the first such attack in 10 years. In 2006, the DFLP held its own national conference and participated in the PLC elections, with politburo member Qais Abdul Karim (Abu Leila) gaining a seat. The party is surrounded by a suite of popular and democratic organizations which have their own programs dealing with the interests of women, youth, and workers.


Punitive measure prohibited without exception by Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) but used by Israel against Palestinian civilians. Since 1967, around 1,700 Palestinians have been deported. The latest and largest deportation occurred in December 1992, when 415 alleged Islamist activists were expelled to Marj Az-Zuhur, South Lebanon. The UN Security Council repeatedly condemned Israel for its deportation policy, most recently in 1992 (Resolution 799). Until 1992, none of the deportees had been charged with a criminal offense, nor tried and convicted. Since the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 most deportees have been allowed to re¬turn and Israel has not deported any Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. However, during the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel adopted a new “deterrent” measure, forcibly transferring relatives of Palestinians who had killed and injured Israelis from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. In addition, the cases of deportation of foreign nationals (including foreign passport-holding Palestinians) working in Palestinian civil society or studying at Palestinian universities and supporting BDS activities have considerably increased.


Term used by Jews and Palestinians to denote to Jews/Palestinians living outside Israel or in exile from Pales¬tine respectively.


see Jordanian Dinar


Refers to Jordan’s severance of all administrative and legal ties with the occupied West Bank, which was announced by King Hussein on 31 July 1988, a day after he formally dissolved Parliament, ending West Bank representation in the legislature and three days after he had canceled a $1.3 billion development program for the West Bank, explaining that the measure was designed to allow the PLO more responsibility for the area. While King Hussein claimed the move was merely acquiescence to the wishes of the PLO, it was also seen as a clear message to all of the major players in the Middle East peace process that the notion of the "Jordan option" was not viable from Jordan's standpoint.

Disengagement Plan

Plan proposed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Herzliya Conference on Security on 18 December 2003 to evacuate all settlers from Gaza and four settlements in the northern West Bank with a stated goal of creating "maxi¬mum security with minimum friction" between Israelis and Palestinians. The Disengagement Plan was introduced in early February 2004, at the peak of international criticism of Sharon's project of the separation barrier and just ahead of the hearings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. On 16 February 2005, the Knesset passed the Disengagement Implementation Law by a vote of 59-40 (with 5 abstentions). The plan was implemented during August and September 2005; however, Israel retains control of all land borders, air space, and sea access to Gaza.

Displaced Persons

Palestinians from the WBGS who were either absent (abroad) or displaced during the War of 1967 or who left the WBSG after the Israeli census of September 1967 and were prevented from coming back by Israel. Negotiations on displaced persons started in 1995, but an inability to agree on the definition of the term ‘displaced persons’, with Israel agreeing to only accept those displaced during the war, brought negotiations to a standstill in 1997. (See also Internally Displaced Persons).

Disputed Territories

Term frequently used by Israel and the US to soften or intentionally confuse the status of areas occupied by Israel in 1967.

District Coordination Office (DCO)

Coordinating body established as a result of the September 1995 Oslo II Agreement and jointly operated by both Israelis and Palestinians to serve as a contact point for officials from the two sides. The DCOs monitored and man¬aged matters of a joint nature that required coordination, such as security (e.g., joint patrols), incidents involving Israelis and/or Palestinians (e.g., road accidents), and administration (e.g., permit requests). Currently it is mainly charged with issuing Palestinian residents of the district magnetic cards, work permits for Israel, permits for one-time entry reasons, various police permits, etc.


(sometimes also: Disinvestment) Campaign initiated in 2002, conducted by religious and political entities with the aim to pressure the Israeli government to put an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories. Divestment campaigns - disinvestment from corporations engaged in or profiting from the occupation - targeting Israel can be traced back to the early 1990s but first received media attention in 2002, thanks largely to a petition at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was followed later that year by calls from South African anti-Apartheid activist Desmond Tutu for the international community to treat Israel as it treated South Africa under Apartheid. In 2003, the Toronto assembly of the United Church of Canada voted to boycott goods produced by Jewish settlements, in July 2004, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to initiate a process of divestment, and in 2005, the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, The United Church of Christ, and the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church followed suit. In May 2006, the Ontario section of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) approved a resolution to "support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until that state recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination." Britain's National Union of Journalists called for boycott in April 2007, and in May 2008, the largest Irish public sector and services trade union criticized Israeli suppression of the Palestinians and endorsed a boycott of Israeli goods and services. In June 2014, the pension board of the United Methodist Church voted to divest from companies contributing to the Israeli occupation, and the Presbyterian Church voted to divest from Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions - all multinational corporations operating in Israel involved with demolition and surveillance activities against Palestinians.

Doha Agreement (Fateh-Hamas)

Deal reached between Fateh and Hamas and signed on 7 February 2012 aimed at forming a transitional government of independent technocrats with a limited mandate (preparing for presidential and legislative elections and start¬ing Gaza reconstruction) with diplomacy resting with the PLO. Both sides agreed that Mahmoud Abbas would serve as both PA President and Prime Minister of the interim cabinet to overcome international concerns about Hamas’ participation and Hamas’ refusal to appoint then Prime Minister Fayyad as the head of the unity government. Seen as a step forward in the stalled implementation of the Palestinian National Initiative signed in Cairo on 27 April 2011, but failed to truly reconcile the two Palestinian factions.

Dome of the Rock

(Arabic: Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhra) Mosque built in the 7th Century by the Ummayad Caliph Abdul Malik Bin Marwan on Al-Haram Ash-Sharif. It is the spot from which the Prophet Mohammed ascended into Heaven in Lailat Al-Miraj (Night of the Ascent) on the 27th of the Arabic month of Rajah. Various mementoes of the Prophet's Nocturnal Journey - a handprint, a footprint, the spot from which he ascended - are found on the Rock. The Rock itself is believed to have come from Paradise and angels visited it 2,000 years before the creation of Adam. It also is believed to be closer to heaven than any other spot on earth and is guarded by angels. All sweet waters of the earth have their source under it, Noah's ark rested on the Rock after the flood sub¬sided, and here the angel Israel will blow the last trumpet on the Day of Judgment. The golden-domed octagonal oratory was originally completed in 691. (See also Al-Aqsa Mosque).


Religious community with roots in Islam (from which it split in the 11th Century) that follows the teachings of Darazi, Hamza Ibn Ali Ibn Ahmad, and Baha Eddin. Druze call them¬selves muwahidun - monotheists (sing.: mowahid), who believe in reincarnation, abstract concepts of heaven and hell, and celebrate the granting of the Qur'an to Mohammed. Their religion is secretive and its principles are not known to many. Druze are a national-religious minority in Lebanon, Syria and Israel, where they represent approximately 1% of the population living mainly in the Galilee, Golan Heights and Carmel areas. Druze are loyal to the state of Israel and typically serve in the Israeli army.


(also: dunam) Unit of land area used in the Ottoman Empire and still used in many countries formerly part of it. Originally the size of a dunum was 919.3 square meters, but in 1928 the metric dunum of 1,000 square meters (approximately ¼ acre) was adopted, and is still used in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

Facility 1391

(also: Camp 1391) Controversial secret Israeli prison, under the control of the military intelligence. It is located inside an army base near the main road between Hadera and Afula in northern Israel, but has been erased from maps and aerial photographs. Its existence was unknown to the public until 2003, when lawyers issued habeas corpus writs for Palestinian clients who had disappeared while being detained there during the mass round-ups of 2002. It has housed many Lebanese abducted by the Israeli army as hostages, Iraqi defectors, a Syrian intelligence officer, most of whom were released as part of a prisoner swap with Hizbullah in January 2004. More recently, scores of Palestinians were incarcerated there for interrogation. Facility 1391 has never been independently inspected and precise information about conditions in the prison is difficult to obtain due to a government-imposed information blackout and the fact that even the ICRC is denied access, but allegations of torture and mistreatment are common.

Fahd Plan

Eight point peace plan to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict proposed by then Prince (later King) Fahd of Saudi Ara¬bia in August 1981, calling for: (1) Israeli withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; (2) removal of Israeli settlements established on Arab land since 1967; (3) guaranteed freedom of worship in the holy places for all religions; (4) affirmation of the Palestinian people’s right of return to their homes and compensation for those who de¬cide not to do so; (5) UN control of the WBGS for a transitional period not exceeding a few months; (6) establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; (7) affirmation of the right of all states in the region to live in pace; (8) the UN or some of its members guarantee and implement the above principles. The plan was adopted with minor changes at the Arab League summit in Fez, Morocco, in September 1982 (see also Fez-Plan).

Family (re)unification

Legislation regarding the right to live with a (foreign) spouse in Israel. An Israeli census conducted imme¬diately after the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967 counted 66,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem within the new municipal borders; while these Palestinians were classified as permanent residents of Jeru¬salem (according to the Law of Entry into Israel 1952, Entry to Israel Regulations 1974), those who were not re¬corded due to absence - whether studying abroad, visiting relatives elsewhere, etc. - had later to apply for family reunification to the Ministry of the Interior. Until this day, any Palestinian who is not classified by the Is¬raeli government as a permanent resident of East Jerusalem - including spouses, children and other relatives of East Jerusalem permanent residents - must apply for family reunification to reside legally there. The decision to grant or deny these appli¬cations is, according to Israeli Law, ultimately at the discretion of the Interior Minister, who is not required to justify refusal. In May 2002, Israel suspended the processing of family reunifi-cation claims between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Pal¬es¬tinians from the West Bank and Gaza to prevent the latter from acquiring Israeli citizenship, arguing that the growth in the non-Jewish population of Israel due to family reunification was a threat to the ‘Jewish character’ of the state. (See also Law of Entry into Israel).


(also spelled Fatah, Arabic: Harakat At-Tahrir Al-Fil¬istiniya = Pales¬tinian Liberation Movement, with the first letters in re¬verse order giving Fateh = conquest) Political movement for¬mally founded in Kuwait in 1959 by Yasser Arafat and as¬soci¬ates (including Salah Khalaf, Khalil Al-Wazir, Moh¬ammed Yousef Najjar, Ka¬mal Ad¬wan) and grew out of a clandestine organization formed by Pal¬estin¬ian students in 1957 advocating armed struggle to liber¬ate all of Pales¬tine by Pales¬tinians, while remain¬ing inde¬pendent of all Arab governments. Fateh is the largest and strongest PLO faction, and was headed by Arafat from its founding until his death on 11 November 2004. Fateh began as a net¬work of un¬der¬ground cells, but reorganized with a Cen-tral Com¬mittee in 1963 and took control of the PLO as the largest single bloc at the 5th PNC meeting in Cairo in 1969. It adopted the principle of political pluralism within the PLO and fol-lowed a guerrilla strategy (with its mili¬tary wing Al-As¬sifa and squads operating underground in the OPT known as Fateh Hawks and Black Panthers), until 1972, when it formulated a new pol¬icy putting guerrilla war¬fare as only one of various means of strug¬gle. Fateh ad¬vocates a democratic, secular, multi-reli¬g¬ious state and played a cen¬tral role in the first Intifada and was a mem¬ber of the UNLU. It also had a leading role in the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada, during which its military wing (Al-Aqsa Mar¬tyrs Brigades) were formed. Fateh is currently headed by Mahmoud Abbas and represented in the PLO Executive Committee by three members. Fateh was badly defeated by Hamas in the January 2006 PLC elections, where it gained only 45 seats out of the 132 (as opposed to Hamas’s 72 seats) and following inter-Palestinian fighting and Hamas's military takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, President Abbas dismissed the Hamas government and appointed a new Fateh-led Emergency Govern¬ment. However, its authority has effectively been limited to the West Bank. Fateh has repeatedly postponed convening its long-overdue Sixth Congress (the last one having been held in Algiers in 1988) mainly due to the failure of the peace process to achieve anything tangible and due to differences within the leadership.

Fateh central committee

Fateh’s highest decision-making and executive body, which was established in 1963, and has per its constitution 21 members. The current Fateh Central Committee, elected in 1988, has 16 members and is headed by Secretary-General Farouk Kaddoumi. Since 1995, no new members have been added and none of the current members lived in the WBGS between 1967-1994 (considered to be the ‘Old Guard’ of Fateh). During a meeting in June 2007, the Committee decided to sever ties with Hamas. The current Fateh Central Committee, elected in Aug. 2009, has 20 members (plus three yet to be appointed.

Fateh convention

Gathering of the Fateh leadership. The first Fateh convention in 20 years was held from 4-9 Aug. 2009 in Bethlehem to discuss the state of negotiations and issues such as resistance, Jerusalem, refugees, and Gaza and agree Fateh’s political program. This 6th Convention was attended by over 2,500 participants, elected new members for its Central Committee and Revolutionary Council, and resolved that Fateh is for a two-state solution based on the borders of 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital, a fair negotiated solution to the refugee problem, armed struggle, and, in the case that negotiations will fail, struggle towards a binational state in all of the historical Palestine and unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state under occupation. Re-elected at its latest (7th) Congress in November 2016 Mahmoud Abbas as its Chairman. Is with 3 members represented in the PLO Exec. Commit¬tee ADD.

Fateh hawks

Popular youth movement that emerged as a branch of Fateh during the first Intifada, where they mainly attacked Israeli army targets and dealt with killing Palestinian collaborators. They disappeared or were disbanded after the Oslo Accords, but re-emerged during the second Intifada as an offshoot of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, where they were identified with Musa Arafat, then head of the PA's military intelligence. The Hawks held a convention in Rafah, Gaza, on 21 September 2004, attended by 3,000 members of Fateh, and announced its re-establishment as a separate entity within Fateh.

Fateh Islam

(Arabic: Fatah Al-Islam) Alleged Sunni Islamist break away of the Damascus-based Fateh Uprising that was formed in late 2006. It is said to be inspired by Al-Qaeda and wants to bring religion back to the Palestinian cause. It acts mainly in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon with headquarters in the Nahr Al-Bared camp. The group, which is led by Shaker Al-Abassi, a Palestinian refugee from Jericho, took part in violent clashes with the Lebanese Army in May-June 2007. The US State Department classified the group as a terrorist organization on 9 August 2007.

Fateh revolutionary council

(I.) Second-ranking decision-making body of Fateh (after the Central Committee) with up to 148 members. It is the highest authority in Fateh when convened between two sessions of the General Conference. Its jurisdictions include following up and executing decisions of the General Conference, monitoring Fateh operations, including the work of the Central Committee, and military affairs. (II.) Anti-Arafat faction (short: Fateh RC; also referred to as the Abu Nidal Group or Organization) established by Sabri Khalil Al-Banna (Abu Nidal) that split from Fateh in 1974.

Fateh Uprising

(Arabic: Fatah Al-Intifada; also referred to as the 'Abu Musa Faction') Syrian-backed Palestinian splinter group founded by former Fateh Colonel Sa’ed Musa Muragha (Abu Musa) that broke away from mainstream Fateh in 1983, after blaming Arafat’s corrup¬tion for in-effective re¬sponse to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. In 1985-88, the group took part in the ‘War of the Camps,’ in Lebanon. Fateh Uprising is based in Damascus, with guerrillas in Syria and Leba¬non, and does not play a role in today's Palestinian politics. It is not part of the PLO and op¬poses any politi¬cal settlement with Israel. Current Secretary-General is Abu Khaled Al-'Umla.


(plural fatawa) Islamic religious ruling or legal statement. It is issued by a recognized religious authority in Islam (e.g., a mufti, imam, sheikh or qadi) who pronounce a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law, which they base on evidence from Islamic sources. A fatwa is not necessarily "binding" on the faithful.

Fayyad plan

Proactive plan by PM Salam Fayyad for building a Palestinian state by 2011, which is outlined in a booklet entitled "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State" and was released in Aug. 2009. It includes an assessment of institutional state-building needs (e.g., airport, schools, sewage, improved education and legal systems, new cities, affordable housing, better trained troops, better infrastructure and use of natural energy sources and water, ending the Palestinian economy's dependence on Israel,) and sets a two-year timetable for its implementation to build positive facts on the ground. The plan won praise from the UN and the West but drew criticism from Israel for its call to unilateral action in disputed territory (e.g., building in "Area C") and from Hamas and Islamic Jihad claiming the plan was serving Israeli interests.


(Arabic: Fida’iyyun; singular: Fida’i) Palestinian (re¬sistance or freedom) fighters, often ready to sacrifice themselves in their struggle against Zionism and suppression and for a liberated Palestine. Inspired by guerrilla movements in Vietnam, Algeria and Latin America, Palestinian fedayeen grew from within the refugee population in the early 1950s, determined to mount cross-border operations against Israelis and their allies. Palestinian fedayeen groups were united under the umbrella of the PLO after the 1967 War.

Federation plan

(Also: Federal Plan) see United Arab Kingdom Plan


(singular: Fellah) Arabic term for farmers/peasants.

Fez plan

Peace proposal based on a version of the Fahd Plan (see above) adopted at the 12th Arab League summit in Fez, Morocco, on 9 September 1982. The plan, which implic¬itly recognized Israel's right to exist, consisted of the following eight points: (1) Israeli withdrawal from all captured Arab ter¬ritories, including East Jerusalem; (2) dismantlement of Israeli settle¬ments in Arab territories; (3) assurance of freedom of wor¬ship for all religions; (4) recognition of the rights of the Pales¬tinians to self-determination, to be implemented through their exclusive representative, the PLO; (5) a several-month transi¬tion period for Gaza and the West Bank under the auspices of the UN; (6) establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; (7) a guarantee from the UN Security Council for peace and secu¬rity of all states in the region; and (8) a guarantee from the UN Security Council for the implementation of the above-mentioned principles. The PNC endorsed the plan at its 16th session in Algiers on February 1983, while Israel and some PLO fac¬tions rejected it.


(Arabic: Al-Ittihad Ad-Dimuqrati Al-Filastini, with the first letters in re¬verse order giving FIDA; English: Palestinian Democratic Union) Reformist movement established in March 1990 as a splinter faction of the DFLP and headed by Yasser Abed Rabbo until 2002, who also represented FIDA in the PLO Executive Committee until his departure from FIDA. The party consists mainly of West Bank residents. FIDA advocates democratiza¬tion in the Pal¬estinian arena, fo¬cus on a party system that re¬flects political plural¬ism and democ¬racy, and heavily sup¬ported the Oslo process. In the 1996 PLC election, FIDA secured one seat, while it ran in the 2006 PLC elections as part of the coalition “The Alternative”, which won two seats. The current FIDA Secretary-General is Saleh Ra’fat.

Final status issue

Unresolved issues between the PA and Israel that are to be resolved in (and not before) the Final Status Negotiations, including: borders, right to return of Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and water.

Final status negotiations

Provided for in the 1993 Declaration of Principles (DOP), to be the second part of a two-phase timetable. The first part involved a five-year "interim" or "transitional" period during which Israel would gradually with¬draw from Palestinian centers in the WBGS and transfer powers to the Palestinians. The negotiations were supposed to begin “as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period,” i.e., in May 1996, and to cover “remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security ar-rangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.” On 4 May 1999, the interim phase ended with no permanent status agreement in sight. In the Sharm Esh-Sheikh Agreement of 4 September 1999, the beginning of final status talks was re¬scheduled for 13 September 1999, with an overall agreement to be reached by 13 September 2000. As of 2017, final status negotiations have yet to take place.


see Baker Five-Point-Framework

Force 17

Body formed in the early 1970s in Beirut by senior Fateh officers, initially as a personal security force for the PLO leadership headed by Yasser Arafat. Soon became one of the PLO’s elite units serving as intelligence and counter-terrorist service, mainly against internal rivals and other Pal¬estinian commanders and factions. Played an important role in internal politics, but remained rather marginal with regard to the armed struggle against Israel. With the establishment of the PA, Force 17 was officially merged with the Presidential Security Force (Al-Amn Ar-Ri'asah), but in reality the unit still exists apart from the official security forces as Arafat’s per¬sonal guard and to undertake intelligence and counter-terror¬ism functions. The force is estimated at some 3,000 mem¬bers, headed by Brigadier-General Faisal Abu Sharkh and based in Gaza. Was added to Israel’s list of "terrorist" entities in December 2001. (There are a several versions of how the unit got its name; one says that 1 and 7 were the last digits of the phone number of the unit’s first commander, Hassan Salameh, another one says reference is made to 17 Pales¬tinians killed at the battle of Karameh in 1968, while a third says the name derives from the location of the unit’s office in Beirut: 17 Faqahani Street).

Fouth Geneva Convention

International agreement, which was adopted at the close of a diplomatic conference for the establishment of international conventions for the protection of victims of war in Geneva on 12 August 1949 and entered into force on 21 October 1950. It contains standards for the treatment of civilians during times of war "in the hands" of an enemy and under any military occupation by a foreign power. To date, 194 countries have ratified the convention, including Israel. However, Israel refuses to recognize the applicability of the Ge¬neva Convention to the OPT. Particularly rele¬vant clauses in the Convention forbid degrading or dehu¬manizing treatment of occupied peoples and protection from coercion, corporal punishment, torture, the confiscation of personal property, and collective punishment. Further, the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids the transfer of part of the occupier’s population to the occupied territories and ensures freedom of movement, especially for medical personnel.

Franghia plan

One of the first plans regarding the Jordan River waters. The plan, which was drafted by the Ottoman Director of Works for Palestine, Georges Franghia in 1913, proposed using the Jordan River system for irrigation in the Jordan Valley and generation of electricity. The plan was sponsored by the Otto¬man Empire, and floundered with its fall after World War I.

Freedom and Independence

Party list representing the small PLO faction Palestinian Arab Front (PAF) that was formed prior to the January 2006 PLC elections, led by Salim Al-Bardeni. In total the list got 4,398 votes (0.44%), which was far below the 2%-barrier to gain parliamentary representation.

Freedom and Social Justice

Party list formed for the January 2006 PLC elections, representing the Popular Struggle Front, the Kafa’ (Enough) movement, and the Green Party, and headed by Ahmad Majdalany. In total, the list received only 7,127 votes (0.72%) and failed to win a seat.

French peace initiative in the Middle East

French call on the international community to help restarting the peace process and focus talks on formulating parameters for a solution to the core issues of a final peace deal. On 3 June 2016, France hosted a first international meeting, attended by 26 nations, exclud¬ing Israel, which ended with a vague call to work on a package of economic and security incentives and hold a Mideast Peace Summit before the end of the year.

French proposal

(officially: ‘Non-paper on the Revival of a Dynamic of Peace in the Middle East’) Mideast peace plan for a European Ini¬tiative, introduced by France in February 2002, which involved two ‘inseparable issues:’ elections and statehood. First, the plan proposed holding new elections in Palestine as a means for the Palestinian people to express themselves through voting rather than violence and to legiti¬mize the PA. Second, the declaration of an independent Palestinian state - without exact borders for the time being - and international recognition of the state as a starting point for re¬suming final status negotiations between two equal partners on the basis of UN Resolutions 242 and 338.


(English: ‘courage’, ‘chivalry’ or ‘manliness’) Originally term referring to specific virtues - courage, manliness, chivalry, generosity, truth, honor, self-reliance, altruism. Derived from fata’ (young man), Futuwwa became a symbol of rebelling against all evil and striving for sincere servanthood to God. The name was used by informal associations of young men who claimed to promote these values and by (paramilitary) Arab youth organizations. In the Palestinian context, Futuwwa was a paramilitary youth movement founded in 1935 and associated with the Arab Party led by Jamal Husseini.

Galilee document

Pro-annexationist plan, drafted by Israeli Minister Yisrael Galili, outlining the government’s proposed pol¬icy in the OPT from 1973-77. It was adopted by the La¬bor Party on September 1973 and included development of the economy (infrastructure and service sector in the territo¬ries as well as their economic ties with Israel and local government), continuation of the ‘open bridges policy’ with Jordan, a permanent resettlement scheme for refu¬gees in the Gaza Strip, and encouragement of settlement con¬struction in the West Bank (especially Jerusalem and Jordan Valley areas) and Golan Heights.

'Gaza and Bethlehem first' plan

Proposal put forth in August 2002 by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, calling for the phased withdrawal of Israeli forces from WBGS areas granted self-rule under 1994-95 Oslo Accords (starting with Gaza and Bethlehem) in return for PA action to curb violence. The basis of the plan, which was also an attempt to end the 're-occupation' of the Palestinian territories during Operation ‘Defensive Shield’, was step-by-step implementation, which was predicated on reductions of 'terror' and violence in the Gaza Strip and Bethlehem. The plan was approved by Israel and the Palestinians but the Sharon Government retreated from it soon after, saying it wants to solve the issue of Gaza first.

Gaza blockade

refers to a land, air, and sea block¬ade on the Gaza Strip by Israel from 2007 to present with the help of Egypt and the support of the US, rarely allowing persons or goods to enter or leave. The blockade with Israeli military opera¬tions in Gaza greatly exacerbated the already poor living-conditions in the over-populated Strip, lead¬ing to a severe economic and humanitarian crisis.

Gaza Strip

Coastal region on the Mediterranean Sea, ad¬joining Egypt and Israel, 45 km long and 5-12 km in width, covering an area of approximately 365 km2. It is inhabited by some 1.5 million Palestinians, mostly refugees. The strip was part of the British Mandate for Palestine from 1917 to 1948, passed to Egyptian control in 1949, and has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 War. Following the evacuation of all Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip under Sharon's 2005 unilateral disengagement plan and Hamas' complete takeover of the territory in June 2007, Israel declared the entire Gaza Strip a "hostile entity." Israel currently retains control of all land, air and sea access, and reserves the right to prevent the PA from re-opening its airport or building a seaport. After the six-month truce between Hamas and Israel ended in December 2008, Israel initiated the 'Gaza War' (Operation ‘Cast Lead’) on 27 December 2008, which lasted 22 days, and left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and over 5,000 wounded, a large percentage of which were civilians.

Gaza-Jericho Autonomy agreement

(Also: Cairo or Oslo Agreement or Accord) Agreement was signed on 4 May 1994 in Cairo and was the second stage in the process begun with the Declaration of Principles. It outlined the first stage of Palestinian auton¬omy - in some 60% of Gaza and a 65 km2 area in and around Jeri¬cho - including Israeli rede¬ployment and the establishment of a Palestinian authority as the governing body in the evacuated territories. In addition, a Palestinian Police force was set up in those areas and powers in five civilian spheres were transferred to the Palestinian (see Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities). Israel would remain in con¬trol of the settlements, military locations, and security matters. The stipulated interim period ended after five years on 4 May 1999 and trig¬gered a heated debate among the Palestinians as to whether to declare unilaterally a Palestinian state.

General intelligence

Palestinian security force responsible for external intelligence, counterespionage, and liaison with foreign intelligence. Runs the Intelligence Sciences College in Jericho and has some 3,500 troops.

General security services

see Shin Bet

General strike

Form of non-violent protest in which Palestinians close shops and businesses, workers do not go to their jobs in Israel, and/or public and private transport stays off the roads. Palestinian’s have regularly employed general strikes – during the Mandate period in protest of the British authorities (peaking in the 1936 Great Revolt) and later against Arab rulers and Israeli occupation, most notably during the first Intifada (1987-1993).

General unions

Well-established PLO-affiliated popular organizations, often older than the PLO, repre¬senting impor¬tant sectors of Palestin¬ian society world¬wide. There are Gen¬eral Unions of Palestinian Stu¬dents, Workers, Women, Teachers, Writers and Jour¬nalists, Jurists, Engineers, Doctors, Artists, Artistic Performers, Farmers, and Economists.

Geneva Accord

(also: Switzerland/Swiss Proposal or Document or Beilin-Abed Rabbo Plan; officially: Draft Permanent Status Agreement) Alternative, unofficial peace initiative drafted by Israeli and Palestinian politicians and activists, led by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, sponsored by Switzerland, and signed in Aqaba on 12 October 2003. The Geneva Accord was created in an effort to formulate a complete final status agreement, in contrast to Sharon's approach of long-term interim agreements, and was officially launched at a ceremony in Geneva on 1 December 2003. The Israeli government condemned the plan as undermining its own policies, while the PA supported it. Members of the initiative on the Israeli side included Haim Oron, Amram Mitzna, Avraham Burg, Nehama Ronen, Amnon Lip¬kin-Shahak, Yuli Tamir, as well as Brig.-Gen. Giora Inbar, Brig.-Gen. Shlomo Brom, authors Amos Oz and David Grossman, David Kimche, Prof. Arie Arnon, and Dr. Menachem Klein. Members on the Palestinian side included Yasser Abed Rabbo, Nabil Qassis, Hisham Abdel Razzeq, Kadoura Fares and Moham¬med Al-Hourani, Jamal Zaqout, Saman Khouri, Zuheir Al-Ma¬nasrah, Radi Jamil Jarai, Ibrahim Mohammed Khrishi, Samih Karakra, Basel Jaber, and Nazmi Al-Ju'beh. The main points of the detailed plan include: • The Palestinians will concede the right of return. • The Palestinians will recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. • Israel will withdraw to the 1967 borders, except for certain territorial exchanges. • Jerusalem will be divided with Arab parts of East Jerusalem be¬come part of the Palestinian state, and Jewish settlements, as well as the West Bank suburbs of Givat Ze'ev, Ma'ale Ad¬umim, and the Gush Etzion settlements will become part of Is¬rael. • Haram Ash-Sharif will be Palestinian, but an international force will ensure freedom of access for visitors of all faiths. Archaeological digs will not be permitted. The Western Wall will remain under Jewish sovereignty. • The settlements of Ariel, Efrat, and Har Homa will be part of the Palestinian state, and Israel will also transfer parts of the Negev next to Gaza in exchange for the parts of the West Bank it will receive. • The Palestinians will pledge to prevent terror and incite¬ment and disarm all militias. Their state will be demilitarized, and border crossings will be supervised by an inter¬national force. • The agreement will replace all, and in some cases will be regarded as fulfillment of, UN resolutions and previous agreements

Geneva conferences

(I.) Conference for Peace in the Middle East in December 1973 in Geneva, attended by Egypt, Israel, the US, the USSR, Jordan, and the UN Secretary-General It created working groups but achieved no further results. (II.) A UN General Assembly-called international conference resulting from acknowledgment that separate solutions like Camp David did not solve much and that the exclusion of Palestinian representatives would not lead to a fair and lasting peaceful solution. It convened 23 August-7 September 1983 in Geneva and was attended by 137 states, but was boycotted by Israel and the US. Ultimately, the Geneva Declaration was adopted, calling for a peace conference under the auspices of the UN with full participation, on equal footing, of all parties connected to the conflict, including the PLO, US, USSR, and others. This declaration was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in Resolution 38/58C on 13 December 1983.

Geneva Conventions

CONVENTIONS Standards for international law for humanitarian concerns formulated in four treaties in Geneva. The First Convention followed the foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863 and adopted the ‘Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field’ in 1864. All four conventions were last revised and ratified in 1949 as follows: (1) ‘First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field’ (first adopted in 1864); (2) ‘Second Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea" (first adopted in 1906); (3) ‘Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War’ (first adopted in 1929), and ‘Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War’ (first adopted in 1949). (See also Fourth Geneva Convention).

German proposal

European peace initiative, introduced by Germany in April 2002, suggesting a referendum asking the Palestinian population about their willingness to recognize Israel and normalize relations in return for a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian territory. Further, the plan included a ceasefire, followed by an early declaration of a Palestinian state, an end to Jewish settlements in the WBGS, phased talks on tricky issues such as Israel's borders and the status of Jerusalem, and provided for inter¬national peacekeepers to patrol a buffer zone between Israel and Palestinian areas.


(English: Bridge) Centrist-right Israeli party formed in 1996 as a breakaway from the Likud by former Likud MK and Foreign Minister David Levy. It ran in coalition with Likud in the 1996 elections and joined One Israel in the 1999 elections. Gesher focused on the socioeconomic problems of immigrants from North Africa. In 2003, it merged back into the Likud.


see Jordan Rift Valley

Ghor Canal

(also: East Ghor Canal) Waterway built between 1955-66 that runs parallel to the Jordan River for 72 km from the Yarmouk River to the Zarqa River. The canal makes year-round cultivation possible, with wheat, vegetables, and citrus fruit being the main products. The southern extension of the canal was halted by the War of 1967. In the southern part of the Ghor, oasis farming is prac¬ticed, and in the non-irrigated parts, sheep and goat herding pre¬dominates

Golan heights

Rocky plateau in south-western Syria, stretching over some 1,800 km2 and overlooking northern Israel, thus of militarily and strategic importance. The area is also a key source of water as rainwater from the Golan's catchment feeds into the Jordan River. Israel captured 1,200 km2 the region from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967. A Syrian attempt to regain the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War failed. In December 1981, Israel unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights, but under international law the Golan Heights are con¬sidered part of the Occupied Territories. Syria wants to secure the return of the Golan Heights as part of any peace deal.

Goldston report

Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission, appointed in April 2009 by the UNCHR and headed by Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, to investigate the events of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip in Dec. 2008/Jan. 2009. The report was presented to the UNCHR in Geneva on 29 Sept. 2009, urging the Council and the international community as a whole to put an end to impunity for violations of international law in Israel and the OPT, and accusing both Israel and Hamas of war crimes, though clearly stating that Israel had intentionally targeted civilian sites during the fighting. The report’s findings echoed those of other international human and humanitarian organizations. The government of Pres. Abbas caused an outrage when it initially decided in Oct. 2009 – due to Israeli and US pressure - to withdraw its support for a resolution at the UNHCR, thus "postponing" the report’s consideration and further action until next March. Nevertheless, on 16 Oct., the UNHCR voted with 25:6 (and 11 abstentions and five absent) in favor of a resolution endorsing war crimes charges as spelled out in the Goldstone report. On 5 Nov. 2009, the UNGA adopted by a vote of 114:18 (and 44 abstaining) a resolution, based on the Goldstone report, which calls on the UN Sec.-Gen. to transmit the report to the UNSC, which has powers to refer the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court if Israel and Hamas prove unable or unwilling to conduct independent investigations that meet international standards.


Administrative unit/district in the WBGS. Fol¬lowing the arrival of the PA, the WBGS was divided into 16 Governorates (11 in the West Bank: Jenin, Tubas, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Salfit, Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, and Hebron and five in the Gaza Strip: Jabalia, Gaza City, Deir Al-Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah). Each of these is headed by a governor appointed by the President. The governorates are subordinate to the Ministry of Local Government and cooperate with the mayors and heads of village councils in their respective districts.

Grad rockets

(also: Katyusha) Standard military artillery weapon originally produced in the former Soviet bloc. Palestinian militant groups in Gaza use 122-mm rockets, but unlike Hizbullah, not from truck-based launchers. The rockets launched from Gaza have a range of about 40 km, and can reach the cities of Ashdod, Beer Sheva, Ofakim, Gedera, and Gan Yavne in Israel.

Grassroots International Protection for the Palestinian People (GIPP)

International movement launched in 2001 with the main objective of granting a form of protection to the Palestinian people. GIPP organizes solidarity ac¬tions and coordinates the activities of international activists who come to Palestine to express solidarity with the Palestinians, protect them from Israeli aggression, and send messages and reports on the situation in the WBGS to the international community. Missions/delegations are organized in cooperation among Palestinian, European, American, and church partners.

Great Revolt

(also: Great Rebellion) Widespread uprising that emerged from Arab-Jewish clashes throughout Palestine from April to October 1936. The Great Revolt involved the establishment of National Committees and an Arab General Strike (April-October 1936) in support of three basic demands: an end to Jewish immigration, an end to Jewish land sales, and the establishment of an Arab national government. As part of the strike, the National Committees adopted the slogan ‘no taxation without representation’, refusing to pay taxes until the British fulfilled their demands. In response to the riots, the British declared the Arab Higher Committee illegal. A second phase of the Great Revolt began in autumn 1937, triggered by the UN Partition Plan issued in the Royal (Peel) Commission report. On 1 October the British government dissolved the Arab Higher Committee and all National Committees, arrested numerous members, deporting five of them to Seychelles Islands, and officially stripped Haj Amin Al-Husseini of his positions as Chairman of the Waqf and President of the Supreme Muslim Council. The ‘second’ Great Rebellion lasted until 1939 and concluded with the 1939 British White Paper.

Greater Israel

Term most commonly used to define the land encompassed by the state of Israel and the OPT. Other definitions include the territory of the former British Mandate of Palestine, either in the 1923 or 1948 borders, or the Biblical definitions of the 'Land of Israel' (Eretz Yisrael). The term 'Land of Israel' is found in the charters of both the Likud and Kadima parties, describing the right of the state of Israel and Jews to all of present day Israel and the OPT.

Greater Jerusalem

Reference to an area that extends beyond the Green Line into the West Bank and encompasses roughly a 20-km radius around the Old City. This area is home to around 600,000 Israelis and 600,000 Palestinians, and comprises two overlapping metropolitan areas - West Jerusalem and the Israeli built-up areas located inside and on the periphery of East Jerusalem; and the traditionally Palestinian East Jerusalem, including its adjacent neighborhoods on the edges of Jerusalem’s municipal borders. Greater Jerusalem also includes an outer ring of 20 Israeli settlements extending Jerusalem far beyond the city's municipal boundaries into the West Bank.

Green area

Areas zoned by Israeli municipal authorities for open space in which no construction is allowed, allegedly in order to maintain a minimum of greenery in the city and related pretexts such as preservation of views, environmental protection etc.. However, green areas often serve as Jewish land reserves and to block Palestinian development. Examples for the rezoning of formerly designated ‘Green Areas’ to allow for Jewish building are Har Homa built on Jabal Abu Ghneim and Rekhes Shu’fat (Ramot Shu’fat)

Green line

Term used following Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 to refer to the post-1948 War cease-fire line (proper name is 1949 Armistice Line), and is thus the border separating pre-1967 Israel from the OPT. The demarcation line (laid down in the Armistice Agreements of 1949) is the internationally recognized border, but it is important to note that Israel has never specified the boundaries of its state.

Group of 77

Body established by originally 77 developing countries represented at the first UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva 15 June 1964. The purpose of the group was to allow for the formulation of common positions in advance of plenary UNCTAD meetings. Now with in excess of 130 members, the group, of which Palestine is a full member, is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states in the UN. The Group of 77 concentrates on developing common negotiation positions on trade and development and on promoting collective economic interests as well as South-South cooperation for development

Gush Emunim

(English: Bloc of the Faithful) Israeli extra-parliamentary religious lobby whose beliefs are heavily based on the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Kook and his son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook. Supporters believe the ‘Land of Is¬rael’ is the fulfillment of the Zionist dream and that the coming of the messiah can be hastened through Jewish settlement on land they believe God has allotted for Jews. Therefore, they oppose the return of territory conquered by Israel in 1967. Since 1967, Gush Emunim is the single most active settlement move¬ment in the OPT, with over half of all settlements in the West Bank affiliated with its various administrative, ideological and pedagogic divisions.

Gush Etzion

see Etzion Bloc

Gush Katif

(English: Harvest Bloc) Bloc of 16 Jewish settlements along the southern Gaza coastline (Bedolah, Bnei Atzmon, Gadid, Gan Or, Ganei Tal, Kfar Darom, Kfar Yam, Kerem Atzmona, Morag, Neve Dekalim, Netzer Hazani, Pe’at Sade, Katif, Rafiah Yam, Shirat HaYam, Selav, and Tel Katifa). In August 2005, however, the over 8,000 settlers were removed and their houses demolished as part of then Prime Minister Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan.

Gush Shalom

(English: Peace Bloc) Extra-parliamentary, independent organization founded by Uri Avnery and others in 1993, when it became apparent that all the older peace groups in Israel were either unable or unwilling to oppose the repressive measures introduced by the new Labor government headed by Yitzhak Rabin. Plays a leading role in determining the agenda of the peace forces in Israel and influencing Israeli public opinion. Its goals based on principles such as ending the occupation, the Palestinian right to establish an independent and sovereign state, reinstating the pre-1967 "Green Line" as border, recognizing in principle the right of return of the Palestinian refugees, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital of the two states, with East Jerusalem serving as the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

H1 and H2

see Hebron Agreement


(Hebrew acronym; English: The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) Alliance of the Israel Communist Party and other Arab and Jewish political groups which has undergone numerous transformations in its history. The Jewish-Arab Leftist movement, founded in 1977 when the Rakah Party joined with several non-parliamentary groups, including members of the Black Panthers and other left-wing non-communist groups, stresses social justice and equality, as well as recognition and cultural integration of the Palestinian minority. It supports a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and maintains that all Israeli settlements outside the pre-1967 borders are illegal and should be evacuated, including East Jerusalem. Current leader is Mohammed Barakeh. In the 2009 elections it won 4 seats


(English: news, statement, narrative or story) Spoken traditions attributed to the Prophet Mohammed, i.e., his deeds, sayings, and tacit approvals, which are revered and received in Islam as a major source for implementing and explaining religious law and moral guidance.


(English: Defense) Clandestine Jewish paramilitary organization set up in June 1920 by the Labor Zionist Achdut HaAvoda party to combat the attacks of Palestinian Arabs on Jewish settlements. The Haganah was outlawed by the British authorities but remained active under the British Mandate years (1920-48), after which it became the nucleus of the Israeli army. The Haganah was under the authority if the Jewish Trade Union Movement Histadrut from late 1920 until its split in April 1931 over whether the Histradut or the Jewish Agency should rule the body. The split off be¬came known as Irgun Zvei Le'umi (also named Irgun B or Haganah Le'umit). Haganah’s activities were moderate by contrast with more extreme Zionist militias, but it turned to terrorism after World War II when the British refused to permit unlimited Jewish immigration to Palestine.


Pilgrimage to Mecca which forms one of the five pillars of Islam (i.e., an obligation that must be carried out at least once in a Muslim’s lifetime if health and financial situation permit). The pilgrimage occurs from the 7th to 10th day of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar (Dhu al-Hijjah). Those who have performed the Hajj receive the title Hajj (female: Hajjeh).


(Adjective: halachic; plural: halakhot, lit.: the way to go) Normative Jewish religious law, as well as customs and traditions, practice, or rite established or ratified by authoritative rabbinic jurists and teachers. Halakha guides not only religious but numerous other aspects of day-to-day life. Settler rabbis and other extremist Jewish religious leaders often issue rulings, each on his own judgement, which state laws to flout, what commands soldiers are to disobey, and even commanding the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians if this helps to save Jews.

Halutza sands or dunes

Uninhabited arid 150-km2 area in the northwest Negev, southeast of the Gaza Strip, which was suggested by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak to be ceded in a land-swap in return for keeping some settlements in the West Bank. Palestinian negotiators rejected the Halutza Dunes as the centerpiece of the land swap, noting that its potential for agricultural development and human settlement appeared highly constrained and therefore of less value than the land that Israel wants to annex in the West Bank. In 2001, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon initiated plans for three new settlements in the area in an effort to foil any future attempt to transfer the area to Palestinian control as part of a final peace settlement. Following the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, evacuees from Gush Katif, Atzmona and Netzarim settlements have begun to build permanent residences in communities located in the Halutza Sands area.

Hamas (Isamic resistance movement)

(Arabic: Abbreviation of Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamiyya; English: Zeal) Political movement grown out of religious association. Hamas served as the Muslim Brotherhood’s link to the First Intifada and emerged shortly after the outbreak of the Intifada in January 1988. Its formation and development was tolerated, if not encouraged, by Israel as an alter-native or counterforce to the PLO. The spiritual leader and founding father of Hamas is Sheikh Ahmad Yassin (assassinated by Israel on 22 March 2004). Other founding leaders include Fattah Dukhan, Mohammed Shama’, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Yazuri, Issa An-Najjar, Salah She-hadeh (assassinated in July 2002), and Abdul Aziz Rantisi (assassinated in April 2004). The Hamas Covenant, issued in August 1988, declared that all of Palestine is Islamic trust land and can never be surrendered to non-Muslims, and pro¬claimed jihad against Israel. Hamas advocates an Islamic state in all of historic Palestine and the application of Shar’ia Law. It is not a member of the PLO and has worked independently from the UNLU during the first Intifada, but does not seriously question the PLO’s role as representative of the Palestinian people at an international level. In 1989, Hamas agreed to abide by decisions of the PNC, but called for new elections to it in 1991. Hamas gained popularity through charitable efforts and the provision of educational and health services. The group has been responsible for many attacks on Israeli tar¬gets (mostly carried out by its military wing, the Izz Ed¬din Al-Qassem Bri-gades) and are listed as a terror¬ist organiza¬tion by the US State Department. Hamas strongly opposes Oslo and is a member of the Alliance of Palestinian Forces, which is opposed to the peace process. It boycotted the Palestinian elections of January 1996, but run in the second PLC elections and won a landslide victory (74 out of the 132 seats in the PLC), defeating Fateh. Subsequently, Hamas formed a new PA government with Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister. However, the newly formed unity government was widely boycotted by the international community. In June 2007, clashes with Fateh supporters led to a near civil war in the Gaza Strip; afterwards President Abbas dissolved the Hamas government and appointed a Fateh-led emergency government. As a result of the 2007 Battle of Gaza, a Hamas-controlled government still rules the Gaza Strip and rejects the Fateh-led emergency government in the West Bank, claiming Ismail Haniyeh remains head of the PA.

Hamas takeover of Gaza

In June 2007, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and seized the presidential com¬pound in Gaza City after a week of factional fighting which left more than 100 people dead. Following the take-over, Pres. Abbas sacked the Hamas-led govt. and declared a state of emergency.


(plural: hama’il; English: Clan) Kinship unit exercising important roles for social cohesion in the Arab World, particularly in rural areas. A hamula is a form of extended family, consisting of several family branches which claim a shared ancestry, linked through the father’s male line. Clans provide security, shared financial wellbeing, an important source of spouses, and more broadly, a trusted network for all social occasions. Clan members are tied together by a code of honor (mithaq al-sharaf), which is binding on all male members.

Haram Ash-sharif

(English: The Noble Sanctuary) Muslim holy place containing the Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and other structures. It is one of the three most important sites in Islam. The entire area is regarded as a mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem (approximately 135 dunums). Muslims revere the site as the area where Prophet Mo¬hammed broke his miraculous night journey from Mecca to heaven (isra wa-miraj). Jews revere the area as the location of their First and Second Temples, and refer to the area above and to the east of the Western Wall as ‘Har HaMoriyya’ or ‘Har HaBayt’ in He¬brew and as the ‘Temple Mount’ in English. Jewish extremists advocate the construction of a third Temple there. The visit of Ariel Sharon and fellow Likud members to the site on 28 September 2000 sparked the beginning of the 2nd Intifada.


(plural: Haredim) Follower of Haredi Judaism, the most theologically conservative form of Judaism (often called ‘Ultra-Orthodox’, though Haredim object to the term). Haredim consider the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism to be unjustifiable deviations from authentic Judaism. The vast majority of Haredi Jews are Ashkenazi. The largest Haredi population is found in Israel. They generally wear clothing associated with 17th century central and eastern Europe, are generally separate from the rest of Israeli society and follow strict behavior codes that ensure that they cannot be influenced by secular society.


Arab clan of Hashim from within the larger Quraish tribe, which directly descended from the Prophet Mo¬hammed through Fatima, his daughter, and Ali, his son-in-law and cousin. Since the 20th century the head of this family has been Governor of Mecca, with the title of Sharif. The Hashemites remained guardians of the Holy Places of Islam until 1923, when Sharif Hussein lost control of Mecca, which was taken over by the fundamentalist Wahabites under As-Saud (later founder of Saudi Arabia).


(English: Watchman) Jewish defense organization created in Palestine in April 1909, becoming the legal version of the secret Bar Giora) to guard Jewish settlements. The organization ceased to operate after the founding of the Haganah in 1920.


(English: The Hope) (I.) National anthem of the State of Israel since its foundation in 1948. (II.) Minor secular right party in Israel, formed in late 2007 and headed by MK Aryeh Eldad. The party ran a joint list with Moledet for the 2009 Knesset elections. Hatikva is a "non-segregated party," drawing its constituency from both secular and religious elements of Israeli society.

Haycraft commission of inquiry

Commission established by the British authorities and headed by the Chief Justice of Pales-tine, Sir Thomas Haycraft. Its mandate was to investigate recent Palestinian violence against Jews, especially in the Jaffa area, during spring 1921, and to calm the tense atmosphere in historic Palestine. The Haycraft Commission of Inquiry issued its report in October 1921, attributing disturbances to Arab fears about increasing Jewish immigration into Palestine.


Largest West Bank city (some 170,000 Palestinian residents), which the 1997 Hebron Agreement (see below) divided into Palestinian-ad¬ministered H1 (80%) and Israeli-controlled H2 (20%, including the Old City). The city is holy to Muslims and Jews who both pray at the traditional burial site of the matriarchs and patriarchs common to both faiths (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Re¬becca, and Jacob and Leah), which is located in the Old City and known as Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi Mosque for Muslims and as Machpela Cave to Jews. Israel divided the worship area following the Hebron Massacre of 25 February 1994, when US-born settler and Kach supporter Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Muslims while praying. With around 450 extremist settlers living among tens of thousands of Palestinians in several enclaves in the center of the city, Hebron remains a point of frequent frictions. Following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to evict settlers, by force if necessary, from Bet HaShalom (House of Peace), the Israeli army forcibly expelled roughly 200 settlers from the building in December 2008. The Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) is the largest outside observer group currently operating in Hebron, following the closure of the Christian Peacemaker Team's Hebron project.

Hebron agreement

(also: Hebron Protocol) Accord reached on 15 January 1997, in which Israel agreed to withdraw from 80% of the city (H1), while retaining control over an enclave with 450 settlers and 35,000 Palestinians in the city’s center (20%, H2). H2 includes the Old City, Ibrahimi Mosque, and seven settlements (Abraham Avinu, Bet Hadassah, Bet Romano, Ramat Yashai-Tel Rumaida, Na¬hum House/Yehuda Barqoush, Bet Hashasha, Rachel Salonique). Following the signing of the Hebron Protocol the two sides also signed, on 21 January 1997, an ‘Agreement on the Temporary International Presence in the city of Hebron’ setting out the arrangements for the ‘TIPH,’ to be up to 180 persons from Norway, Italy, Denmark Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, tasked to monitor and report, with Norway being responsible for the overall coordination

Hebron riots

(referred to by Jews as Hebron Massacre) Unrest that occurred on 23-24 August 1929 in Hebron, during the British Mandate era, in the wake of the Al-Buraq (Western Wall) disturbances between Arabs and Jews that spread from Jerusalem throughout the country. The riots were triggered by rumors that Jews had killed Arabs in Jerusalem and burned down Al-Aqsa Mosque. Arabs then began attacking Jews in the city, killing 67 Jews and wounding many others. About 435 Jews survived by hiding with their Arab neighbors, who risked their lives to save them. The surviving Jews were evacuated by the British, but some returned and lived in Hebron until the Arab Revolt of 1936.


Political movement established in 1948 by Menachem Begin and other members of the Irgun-Zvei Leumi to continue as a parliamentary party with the ideals of Vladimir Jabotinsky. Herut merged with other parties and evolved into the Gahal party and later into the Likud.

Herut - the national movement

Small rightwing Israeli faction that broke away from Likud in 1998 over the Likud Party's ratification and implementation of the Hebron Agreement and the Wye Accords, which derives its inspiration from the ideology of the historic Herut Party. The movement was headed by Benny Be¬gin, son of Menachem Begin, until his retirement and is currently led by Michael Kleiner.


see Hizbullah

High commissioner of Palestine

Head of the Civil Administration in Palestine that replaced British military rule in June 1920 and lasted until May 1948. The High Commissioners enjoyed wide ranging authority and powers over almost all spheres, although ultimate control resided with the British government, including using means such as collective punishment, censorship, deportation, and detention without trial. Altogether, there were seven British High Commissioners in Palestine, serving as follows: Sir Herbert Samuel (1920-25), Lord Herbert Onslow Plumer (1925-28), Sir John Herbert Chancellor (1928-31), Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope (1931-38), Sir Harold MacMichael (1938-44), John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, Viscount Gort (1944-45), and Sir Alan Gordon Cunningham (1945-48).


Jewish Labor Federation/Trade Union Movement, inaugurated in December 1920 in Haifa. It promoted Jewish employment, workers’ rights, and land settlement, and set up a national defense organization (Haganah) "to safeguard the national and social content of popular defense in this country" and controlled it until its split in 1931. The Histadrut operates a number of enterprises, Bank HaPoalim, and the Kupat Holim health care system.

Historic Palestine

Area which today comprises the Palestinian Territories (which make up 22% of historic Palestine) and Israel, before it was partitioned in 1948.


(English: Party of God; also spelled Hezbollah) Iranian-backed Islamic resistance organization, created in 1982 in response to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. It formally announced its existence in 1985 with the release of a “Open Letter” – a manifesto that outlined the party’s ideological beliefs, including ousting of Israeli forces from Lebanese soil, destruction of Israel, liberation of Jerusalem, and creation of an Islamic state in Lebanon. The organization is drawn from several Shi’a religious and political groups and derives its inspiration from Iran’s supreme leader. Hizbullah is based in predominantly Shi'ite areas of South Lebanon, the suburbs of Beirut, and the Beka’a Valley and is currently led by Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. They are strongly backed by Syria and Iran and have recently evolved into a significant political party that is represented in the Lebanese Parliament since July 2005. In June 2006, Hizbullah’s abduction of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of four others triggered a fierce month-long military onslaught from Israel that impacted the whole of Lebanon. In November 2006, Hizbullah and its Shi’a allies quit the cabinet and have since spearheaded an opposition campaign to topple the government.

Holy Basin

(also: Historical Basin) Concept introduced by Israel during the Camp David negotiations in July 2000 and picked up in the Taba talks in early 2001 with regard to the area embracing the Old City of Jerusalem and adjacent localities, including, the Mt. of Olives, Mt. Zion, the City of David, the Kidron Valley and the settlement area of Shimon Hatzadik in Sheikh Jarrah, which contain sites holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians. The idea was to create a special regime (international) for the area, which would be responsible for keeping order and ensuring freedom of belief as well as open access to holy sites. The Palestinians rejected the proposal, seeing it as a means of justifying Israeli claims to sovereignty in an area which is predominantly Palestinian, and insisted on Palestinian sovereignty instead.

Holy City

Term referring to Jerusalem, especially the Old City. Muslims, Jews, and Christians view Jerusalem as uniquely significant because it contains some of their most important Holy Places.

Holy Land

Term referring to historical Palestine (i.e., today’s Israel and the WBGS, as well as portions of Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon), where biblical events and those related to Prophet Mohammed have occurred.

Holy places

Religious sites generally identified with the lives and activities of Prophet Mohammed, Jesus, Mary, and the disciples, as well as King David and the Hebrew prophets, who are sometimes revered by members of all three faiths (e.g., the burial place of Abraham in Hebron, the tomb of Joseph in Nablus, and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem).

Homat Shalem

Jewish settler organization that operates on behalf of Jewish right-wing families living in the Shimon Hatzadik area in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem. It aims at evicting local Arab residents from their houses in the neighborhood to establish a new Jewish settlement there.

Home demolitions

Form of collective punishment in accordance with a military order, in which families are forcibly re¬moved from their homes, which are then partially or completely destroyed. Israel uses house demolitions (sometimes sealing) as a punitive measure (e.g. against the families of suspected terrorists) or under the pretext of lacking building permits. Home demolitions, as a punitive measure, are a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Hope-Simpson commission of inquiry

Second commission, following the Shaw Commission (see below), formed by British Prime Minister MacDonald in October 1930 to investigate the Palestinian uprisings in 1929 and the questions of Zionist immigration, settlement, and development. The inquiry was conducted by Sir John Hope-Simpson, who focused on the economic absorptive capacity of Palestine and rec¬om¬mended that Jewish immigration and land purchase be restricted because it was causing a growing population of landless Arabs and threatened Palestinian agricultural development. The recommendations were adopted by the Passfield White Paper (see below).

Hostile entity

(also: Enemy Entity) Term introduced by Israel in September 2007 to denote the new status of the Gaza Strip, citing the threats posed by Hamas rule following the takeover of the strip in June that year, and continued Palestinian rocket attacks. Israel's goal in using this terminology was to reduce their responsibility for the safety and well-being of Gaza's civilian population and to discharge Israel of its obligations under international law to guarantee access to humanitarian supplies to the people in Gaza, though this assertion was promptly rejected by the UN and others in the international community.


(English: often translated as truce or ceasefire) Term that goes back to 628 AD when Prophet Mohammed concluded the legendary, ten-year Hudaybiyya accord (after the place where it was signed) with the Quraysh tribe, which controlled Mecca at the time. In April 2008, Hamas political leader Khalid Masha’al offered Israel (which rejected) a 10-year hudna as a proof of recognition in exchange for a Palestinian state with genuine sovereignty, without settlements on pre-1967 borders, and with Jerusalem as its capital.

Hussein-Macmahon correspondence

The July 1915-January 1916 exchange of letters between Sharif Hussein of Mecca and Sir Henry MacMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, in which MacMahon proposed Arab post-war independence from the Otto¬man Empire, including Palestine, in return for an Arab rebellion against Ottoman forces. Based on this correspondence, Sharif Hussein launched the Arab Re¬volt and declared Arab independence from Ottoman rule in June 1916. However, neither agreed on precise borders for a future Arab state, nor was Palestine mentioned by name.

Identity cards

Israeli law requires every permanent resident above the age of 16, whether a citizen or not, to carry an identification card called in Hebrew te'udat zehut. Following the 1967 occupation, those documents were also imposed on Palestinians in two forms – in blue plastic casings with the Israeli Coat of Arms embossed on them for permanent residents of Jerusalem (as for Israeli citizens) and cards in orange plastic casings with the IDF insignia embossed for residents of the WBGS. After its establishment in 1994, the PA began issuing ID cards with green casings for WBGS residents but as Israel remains in control of the Palestinian population registry per the Oslo Accords, it still decides who receives a Palestinian ID card and assigns the ID numbers. Since the 2005 Disengagement, Gaza is excluded from this. Only those individuals who hold the Jerusalem ID card are permitted to travel freely and live or work in Jerusalem. Acquiring a Jerusalem ID card has been made in¬creasingly difficult by the Israeli government in order to alter the demographic composition of the Jerusalem Municipality. Holders of Jerusalem ID cards are classed as ‘permanent residents’ (not citizens) of Israel, and must reapply for their ID periodically. Leaving the city for a period of seven years or more results in loss of residency status, however this does not apply to Jewish residents. Any Palestinian who was not residing in East Jerusalem at the time of Israel’s occupation in 1967 (or a descendant thereof) can only obtain Jerusalem ID if they have a close family member living in the city. They must then apply for ‘family re-unification’, which is a lengthy process, taking several years. The Israeli Interior Ministry is not required to provide reasons for its regular refusal of family re-unifica¬tion applications. Israel suspended the processing of family reunification claims in May 2002. (See also Family Reunification).


English acronym for ‘Israel Defense Forces,’ which is Israel's military - ground forces, navy and air force. The IDF was officially formed, at the order of then Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion on 26 May 1948, as a conscript army (male and females from age 18), and incorporated the three Jewish underground organizations Haganah, Irgun and Lehi. Palestinians prefer to use the term “Israeli (occupation) army” or “forces”.


Hostile, forced entrance into a territory, usually used to denote an Israeli military invasion of Palestinian Area A, which is officially under full Palestinian civil and military control.

Independent Palestine

Umbrella list of candidates composed of individuals from the Palestinian National Initiative (Al-Mubadara) and other like-minded independents, headed by Mustafa Barghouthi, which ran in the January 2006 PLC elections, winning two out of 132 parliament seats. The list promised to fight corruption, nepotism, and the Israeli separation barrier, and to provide "a truly democratic and independent 'third way' for the large majority of silent and unrepresented Palestinian voters, who favor neither the autocracy and corruption of the governing Fateh party, nor the fundamentalism of Hamas." Independent Palestine accepted the 1993 Oslo Accords and favored resumption of negotiations with Israel.

Interim agreement between Israel and Egypt

(also known as Sinai Interim Agreement) Understanding signed by Israel and Egypt, with US presence, in Geneva on 4 September 1975, providing for a limited forces zone, a UN supervised buffer zone, an Israeli and an Egyptian electronic surveillance station, and an additional station to be manned by American technicians as part of an early warning system in the Sinai. Egypt also regained access to the Abu Rudeis oil fields. The agreement was for at least three years with an annual extension of the mandate of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF).

Interim agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip

(Also: Taba or Oslo II Agreement) Agreement concluded in Taba on 26 September 1995 and was signed by Israel and the Palestinians in Washington on 28 September. It outlines the 2nd stage of Palestinian autonomy, extending it to other parts of the West Bank, which is divided into Area A (full Palestinian civil jurisdiction and internal security), Area B (full Palestinian civil jurisdiction, joint Israeli-Palestinian internal security), and Area C (Israeli civil and overall security control). Further¬more, the election and powers of a Palestinian Legislative Council were determined. October 1997 was the target date for the completion of further redeployment and October 1999 for reaching a final status agreement

Internally displaced persons

Palestinian refugees who left, were displaced, or were expelled from their villages and homes during the 1948 War but remained in the area that be¬came the state of Israel. UNRWA and ICRC estimates their number at 30,000-40,000. Today, the number of these originally displaced persons and their descendants are estimated at over 270,000. These Palestinians have never been allowed to return to their homes and villages, and Israel has always refused to deal with the issue of internally displaced Palestinians as a refugee problem. (See also Displaced Persons)

International alliance for Arab-Israeli peace

(also known as the Copenhagen Group and the Louisiana Group) Regional peace initiative, sponsored by the Danish government, founded in Louisiana, Denmark (north of Copenhagen) on January 1997 by a group of Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals. Participants issued the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’ which states their commitment to unify those who have a shared vision of peace, to sustain Israeli-Arab dialogue, and to promote peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The group held several conferences but has come under fierce attack throughout the Arab World on the grounds that there should be no efforts toward normalization until the policies of the Israeli government dramatically change.

International Christian embassy

see Christian Zionism

International Solidarity Movement (ISM)

Palestinian-led movement of Palestinian and international activists, which works to raise awareness of the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to Israeli occupation, while promoting nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance and protesting Israeli policies in the OPT.


(English: Civil Uprising; lit.: Shaking off) (I.) What is today referred to as the 'first Intifada' erupted in Gaza on 9 December 1987 after four Palestinians were killed when an Israeli truck collided with two vans carrying Palestinian workers. Ensuing clashes spread rapidly to the rest of the OPT. The Intifada was carried by youth and directed by the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising, a coalition of the main political factions, with the goal of ending the Israeli occupation and establishing Palestinian independence. Israel's heavy-handed response included closing universities, deporting activists, destroying homes, but it also stirred the international community into finding a permanent solution. The Intifada came to an end with the signing of the Oslo accords; however, casualties were high with over 1,500 Palestinians dead and tens of thousands injured. (II.) The 'Al-Aqsa Intifada' or 'second Intifada' began on 28 September 2000 when Likud opposition leader Ariel Sharon made a provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque with thousands of security forces deployed in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. Ensuing clashes with Palestinian protestors left five Palestinians dead and over 200 injured during the first two days, and the incident soon sparked a wide¬spread – this time armed - up¬rising in the WBGS, Israel, and the Arab world. The Al-Aqsa Intifada brought the peace process to a halt, sidelined President Arafat, caused unprecedented damage to both the Palestinian economy and Palestinian infrastructure, saw PA areas re-occupied, and an accelerated construction of the separation barrier. By late 2008, the death toll among Palestinians had reached almost 5,000 with over 50,000 injured. Israeli attacks also led to unprecedented and economic viability.

Iraq study group report: The way forward - a new approach

IRAQ STUDY GROUP REPORT: THE WAY FORWARD – A NEW APPROACH Report issued on 6 December 2006 by the Iraq Study Group, headed by Lee Hamilton and Jim Baker, which assesses the state of the US war in Iraq, recommending the training of Iraqi troops and an end to combat operations but stopping short of calling for a phased withdrawal of US troops. The report also stated that "there must be a renewed and sustained commitment by the United States to comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace on all fronts" and a "commitment to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine." In regards to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, there are five key elements: (1) adhere to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace, (2) provide strong support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in negotiations with Israel, (3) move from the current hostilities by consolidating the cease-fire reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis in November 2006, (4) support a Palestinian unity government, and (5) facilitate sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement along the lines of President Bush's two-state solution, which would address final status issues.

Iraqi-Jordanian federation

(also: Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan) Alliance formed on 14 February 1958 when King Faisal II of Iraq and his cousin, King Hussein of Jordan, sought to unite their kingdoms in order to counter the recent alignment between Syria and Egypt (United Arab Republic). The confederation lasted only six months in the face of Egyptian opposition and was officially dissolved on 2 August 1958, after King Faisal was deposed by a military coup two weeks earlier.


(full name: Irgun Zvei Le'umi – English: National Military Organization; also: Haganah Le'umit – English: National Defense or Etzel) Jewish underground movement established by dissident Haganah commanders in April 1931. In June 1940, the Irgun split into Avraham Stern’s Irgun Zvei Leumi Be'yisrael (National Military Organization in Israel, later known as Lohamei Herut Yisrael, Lehi, or Stern Gang), which saw the British as the main enemy, and David Raziel's Irgun Zvai Leumi Be'eretz Yisrael (National Military Organization in Eretz Israel), which was closely linked to Jabotinsky’s Revisionist party and whose main targets were Arabs. The Irgun disbanded following the establishment of the state of Israel and integrated into the army of the new state.

ISG report

see Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward – A New Approach

Islamic Jihad

see Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Islamic movement (in Israel)

Version of the international Muslim Brotherhood founded in 1971 by Abdullah Nimr Darwish and a group of Israeli Ar¬abs, advocating a return to Islam and armed struggle against the state. The Islamic Movement runs kindergartens, clinics, social welfare services, sports clubs, a religious college, volunteer work camps, and a TV station. In 1996, the organization split between the southern, more moderate branch, led by Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, and the northern, more hard-line branch, which boycotts Israeli elections and strongly supports the Palestinians in the territories, currently led by Sheikh Ra’ed Salah from Umm Al-Fahm and Sheikh Kamal Khatib from Kufr Kana. On 13 May 2003, Israeli forces arrested 13 leaders of the northern branch, including Sheikh Salah, accusing them of transferring funds to Hamas and involvement in 'terrorism.' Although, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah was released from prison in 2005 he is barred him from traveling abroad.

Israel Land Administration (ILA)

Government agency responsible for managing national lands (i.e. lands of the De-velopment Authority and the Jewish National Fund), which amount to some 93% of the land in the State of Israel. Ac¬cording to the Israel Lands Administration Law of 1960, the Finance and Agriculture Ministries are charged with its imple¬mentation. Among the functions of the ILA are safeguarding state lands, development planning, and making state land available for 'public use.'

Israel-Jordan common agenda

Understanding signed in Washington on 14 September 1994, constituting the blueprint for the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty (see below). The Agenda comprised of the following components: security, water, refugees and dis¬placed persons, borders, and territorial matters.

Israeli Arabs

Jewish Israeli term for members of the indigenous population of Israel, i.e., those Palestinians who were left in what became the State of Israel in 1948 (see Palestinians in Israel).

Israeli Defense Forces

see IDF

Israeli proposal for a self-governing Authority in the territories

Proposal, similar in nature to Menahem Be¬gin’s 1977 Autonomy Plan, made with reference to the provisions of the Camp David Accords (September 1978) and put forward on 31 January 1982. Foresaw a “Self-Governing Authority” (Administrative Council) to be elected in the WBGS with control over civil and municipal affairs (ad¬ministration of the justice system, agriculture, finance, health, education, housing and public works, transportation and communications, labor and social welfare, police, religious affairs, industry, commerce and tourism, etc.), while Israel would have retained control of security with army redeployment to “specified security locations.”

Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty

(full name: Treaty of Peace Between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; also: Wadi Araba Treaty) Treaty signed by Israel and Jordan at the southern border crossing of Wadi ‘Araba on 26 October 1994 after the Washington Declaration (see Washington Declaration) was signed in July 1994, which ended the 46 year war between Israel and Jordan. The Peace Treaty normalized relations between the two countries, resolved territorial disputes between them (restoring some 380 km2 of occupied lands to Jordan, guaranteeing it an equal share of water from the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers, and defining its western borders conclusively), and provided a solid framework for bilateral cooperation in the political, economic, and cultural fields. As a result of this treaty, Jordan became the second Arab country (after Egypt) to sign a peace agreement with Israel.

Istiqlal party

(English: Independence Party) First regularly constituted Palestinian political party established in August 1932 by Awni Abdul Hadi and other activists. It reflected the frustration of educated nationalists over the national movement’s failure to effectively confront Zionism and British sup¬port of it. The party called for an end of the Mandate and advocated the in¬dependence and unity of all Arab countries, as well as Palestine's Arab identity and its belonging to Greater Syria. Istiqlal criticized the Husseini-Nashashibi rivalry for dividing Palestinians but was unable to challenge either camp and became increasingly insignificant.

Izz Eddin Al-Qassam Brigades

(also: Izz Al-Din, Izzeddin or Ezzedin Al-Qassam or short: Qassam Brigades) Military wing of Hamas and nominally controlled by the political organization, but it is largely a nebula of small groups. It grew out of several resistance networks established by Hamas during the first Intifada and became known as its armed branch in mid-1991. Izz Eddin Al-Qassam Brigades are named after Muslim Brotherhood member Sheikh Izz Eddin Al-Qassam, who preached Jihad against the British and the Zionists, and was killed in action by British forces near Jenin in 1935. They are responsible for numerous attacks on Israeli tar¬gets, including suicide bombings. Since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000, the group became a central target of Israel and so far over 800 of its members have been martyred. The Brigades are listed as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU, and Australia.

Jarring Mission

Assignment named after its head, Sweden's Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Dr. Gunnar Jarring, who aimed at bringing the Arabs and Israelis together for talks. The assignment was based on UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967, which called for the appointment of a special Middle East representative to help promote an agreement to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement. Jarring arrived in the Middle East in early 1968 and met with the leaders of Israel and of the Arab States. The Mission reached an impasse in late 1969 because Arab States would not negotiate with Israel directly or indirectly. It resumed briefly after August 1970 but was again suspended because of Egyptian violations of the cease-fire agreement (that had ended the war of attrition along the Suez Canal). In February 1971 Jarring presented Israel and Egypt identical notes proposing a peace settlement. However, due to Egypt’s insistence of a total Israeli withdrawal and a resolution of the Palestinian problem and Israel’s refusal to return to the 4 June 1967 lines the mission effectively lapsed. The failure of the Jarring Mission, which was not formally terminated until 1990, led the US to create its own approach to Middle East peace, the Rogers Plan. Jarring remained a UN special envoy on the Middle East until 1991.


see American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

Jericho jail deal

Deal brokered by the UK and US which ended an Israeli siege of Yasser Arafat's Ramallah compound (Al-Muqata’a) in the spring of 2002. Israeli troops had surrounded the compound during a major incursion into the West Bank (see Operation ‘Defensive Shield’) demanding the surrender of wanted men hiding inside the compound. Under the deal, accepted by both Israel and the PA, six Palestinian prisoners were to be placed in the Jericho jail under the guard of American and British monitors. Four of the prisoners had been convicted by a makeshift Palestinian military court of assassinating extreme right-wing Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001. The fifth was PFLP leader, Ahmed Sa’adat, whose group claimed responsibility for Ze'evi's murder. The sixth was one of Arafat's top financial advisers, Fuad Shobaki, who was linked to the failed attempt to smuggle weapons from Iran to Gaza via the Karine A ship. They remained in the Jericho jail until Israel’s raid of it, following the withdrawal of American and British monitors (see entry below).

Jericho jail raid

Israeli army raid on the PA’s Jericho prison on 14 March 2006, minutes after the American and British monitors withdrew - a move they had threatened after complaining to the PA about the security conditions and non-compliance with the Jericho jail deal (see entry above) over monitoring arrangements regarding visitors, cell searches, telephone access, and correspondence. After a nearly 10 hour siege of the prison, during which two Palestinian policemen were killed and several others wounded, at least 200 Palestinian prisoners and security guards surrendered to the Israeli forces, including the six Palestinian prisoners connected with the Jericho jail deal.

Jericho plan

Proposal discussed in 1974 between Jordan and Israel, promoted by then Foreign Minister Yigal Allon with the assistance of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. According to the plan, segments of the Jericho district would be returned to Jordan within the framework of a separation of forces agreement, similar to the agreements Israel signed with Egypt and Syria. The plan was abandoned following the Arab summit in Rabat in October 1974, which denied King Hussein the right to negotiate on the future of the OPT and declared the PLO the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

Jerusalem (security) envelope plan

Separation barrier under construction which is intended to surround Jerusalem with a fence or concrete wall, thus restricting access for Palestinians from the West Bank to Jerusalem. There are currently 12 routes and crossings to enter Jerusalem from the West Bank. Palestinian traffic is limited to four crossings, while the eight other routes and crossing points remain open to residents of Israel and non-Israelis with valid visas. The barrier around Jerusalem will, once completed, be 167.3 km long and include the E-1 and the Ma'ale Adumim area; so far it is estimated that nearly 50% of the construction is completed. The Wall in the Jerusalem area now de facto annexes 228.2 km2 or 3.9% of the West Bank. It will separate or isolate over 230,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites from the rest of the West Bank and will further separate over two million Palestinians living on the "eastern" side of the Wall from East Jerusalem. The barrier will further de facto annex to Israel three major settlement blocs surrounding metropolitan East Jerusalem - Givon, Adumim, and Etzion - land critical to Palestinian population growth and economic development.

Jerusalem day

(Hebrew: Yom Yerushalayim) Celebrated by Jews with memorial services, parades and prayers on the 28th of Iyar to commemorate the “reunification” of East and West Jerusalem on 7 June 1967 as well as Israel’s regaining control over the Old City. It is often accompanied by provocative actions against Palestinians living in the city.

Jerusalem embassy relocation act

Piece of legislation adopted on 23 October 1995 by both the US Senate (93-5) and House (374-37) and states that every country designates its own capital, and that Israel has so designated Jerusalem, the spiritual center of Judaism. Additionally, the act states US official policy towards Jerusalem is that it should remain a united city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected, it should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel, and that the US Embassy should be established there no later than 31 May 1999. US President Clinton repeatedly invoked national security waivers to postpone moving the embassy to Jerusalem, as has been the tendency of President Bush. The law allowing the waiver requires the issue to be reexamined every six months.

Jerusalem statement of 2007

Declaration in November 2007 by over 100 Palestinian Jerusalemite public figures, as well as Muslim and Christian leaders, in reaction to the lack of a definitive stance by the PA and negotiating teams regarding Jerusalem prior to the Istanbul International Conference on Jerusalem and the Annapolis conference. The statement asserts Palestinian political, religious, and economic rights to the city and declares these non-negotiable in any final status talks.

Jewish Agency

Organization formed in 1920-21 by virtue of Article IV of the British Mandate for Palestine terms of reference as the formal representative of the Jewish community vis-à-vis the British mandatory government. After the establishment of the state of Israel, the Jewish Agency shifted its focus to issues common to the state and to Jewish communities abroad, encouraging and organizing the immigration of Jews and assisting in their integration.

Jewish Colonization Association

Organization founded in 1891 by the German financier Baron Maurice de Hirsch to assist Jewish emigration from countries of persecution or depressed economies (e.g., Russia and other Eastern European countries) to mainly North and South America, where the association purchased land to establish agricultural colonies for that purpose. Financial aid for independent colonies in Ottoman Palestine was provided from 1896, marking the initial process of Zionist land acquisition and settlement.

Jewish National Fund

(JNF, Hebrew: Keren Kayemeth L'Yisrael or KKL, lit: 'Perpetual Fund Capital for Israel') Body of the World Zionist Organization, founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, to raise funds in Jewish communities for the purpose of purchasing, colonizing and developing land in Palestine for Jews exclusively. Today, the JNF is a multi-national corporation with offices in numerous countries worldwide. By 2007, it was estimated that the JNF owned 13% of the total land in Israel.


Form of land ownership in the Ottoman Empire referring to land that had been bequeathed to the Sultan by its owners and was then rented out directly to tenants.


(English: Holy struggle – not: Holy war) Reference to the striving of a Muslim to keep the faith, to achieve self-control or personal development, and/or to improve the quality of life in society (greater jihad). The Qur’an also speaks of a jihad of arms (smaller jihad), which permits fighting as a means of self-protection against tyranny or oppression. The fighter who fights a jihad - a Mujahid - is believed to go to Paradise if he dies, while the enemy will go to Hell.

Johnston plan

(also: Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan) Water allocation scheme proposed in 1953 by Ambassador Eric Johnston, US Special Envoy to the Middle East. The plan was the product of negotiations with representatives of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, which led, in 1955, to a unified plan for water resource development of the Jordan Valley. The plan was never adopted or ratified partly because the Arab states, particularly Jordan, did not need a comprehensive water development program that directly involved Israel to achieve their immediate development goals. In addition, Arabs did not agree to the criteria that were used for dividing the shares among the parties.

'Jordan is Palestine'

Slogan first coined in 1981 by then Defense Minster Ariel Sharon describing a policy which sought to have Jordan recognized as the Palestinian state (i.e., suggesting that the Palestine Question should be resolved in Jordan rather than in the West Bank). The notion is based on arguments such as: Jordan occupies most of what was the original Palestine Mandate, Jordanians and Palestinians are one people, and a majority of the Jordanians are actually Palestinians.

Jordan option

Term referring to the Israeli plan (first articulated by the Labor Party) to reach a political agreement over the future of the West Bank and Gaza with Jordan rather than the Palestinians. Even after King Hussein's disengagement from the West Bank in 1988, both Labor and Likud still favor a residual role for Jordan in the West Bank.

Jordan Rift Valley

(Arabic: Al-Ghor or al-Ghawr) Segment of the 6,500-km-long Syrian-East African Rift (extending from Syria to the Red Sea and continuing through a large portion of Eastern Africa). The rift valley, which covers 400 km2 and lies at an elevation of roughly 200-300 meters below sea level, is located in Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights and covers the areas of the Jordan River, Lake Tiberias, Jericho, and the Dead Sea. The Jordan Valley represents more than a quarter of the West Bank and is home to almost 60,000 Palestinians and about 9,400 Israeli settlers. Today, most of the Jordan Valley falls under the control of Israeli settlement councils at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population. Further, it acts as a border between Israel and Jordan. Israel wants to retain the area as a buffer zone, which it claims is vital to Israel's defense interests. Because of the Jordan Valley's water resources, arable lands, and border access to Jordan it also is necessary for a viable Palestinian state. In 2006, Israel cut off most of the area from the remainder of the West Bank through an extensive checkpoint and closure regime, thus prohibiting free entry into the area for Palestinians, restricting freedom of movement, and reducing economic viability.

Jordan river basin

Major international watercourse in the Middle East region shared among Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. The 320 km long Jordan River, which flows through the Sea of Galilee to the northern end of the Dead Sea, is the main regional surface water system in the West Bank and the only permanent surface water source for Palestine. To date, however, Israel diverts 75% of the river’s water before it reaches the West Bank. The Jordan River derives its waters from the Hasbani River, which originates in Syria (while parts of it flow into Lebanon), and the Dan and Banias Rivers, which originate in the occupied Golan Heights and flow into the Jor¬dan above the Sea of Galilee. The lower Jordan River is fed from rainfall, groundwater flow, the western wadis of the West Bank, Syria, and Jordan, and by the Yarmouk River, which originates in Syria and borders Jordan, Syria, and the Golan. The bulk of water from the Jordan River is used by Israel, while Palestinians are denied access to their share of available water. Prior to 1967, Palestinians made use of these waters through 140 pumping units, which were either destroyed or con¬fiscated by Israeli authorities immediately after the occupation began in June 1967. Because Palestinians are not allowed to utilize the Jordan River, groundwater is the only source of water for the West Bank.

Jordanian Dinar

(or short: JD) Unit of currency in Jordan (one dinar being equal to 1,000 fils), which also circulates in the West Bank.

Jordanian-Egyptian proposal

(also: Jordanian-Egyptian Non-Paper or Initiative) Joint Jordanian-Egyptian plan submitted in April 2001 that aimed to end violence between Israelis and Palestinians (Al-Aqsa Intifada) and resume negotiations. The plan foresaw a ceasefire, an end to Israel’s sanctions against the Palestinians and withdrawal of its troops, implementation of existing interim agreements, confidence-building measures (including implementation of the September 1999 Sharm Esh-Sheikh Memorandum, as well as all security commitments, cessation of settlement activities, and protection of all holy places), and the renewal of negotiations on all final status issues. Final status negotiations would be based on the progress achieved in previous talks, including Camp David and Taba, and a target date would be set for their conclusion. The EU, Egypt, Jordan, and the UN Secretary-General were proposed as monitors for the implementation of the suggested process. While most Arab and world leaders welcomed the initiative, Prime Minister Sharon rejected it as a "nonstarter."

Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty

see Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty


Underlying concept for Israeli measures aimed at replacing traditional Arab-Palestinian political, cultural and geographic property, names, and features with Jewish/Hebrew ones. These include all forms of land theft and dispossession, including expulsion of the native Palestinian population from their homeland and demolition of their villages, the building and subsidization of settlements, destruction of historical sites, civil institutions and residential areas, and the replacement of the Palestinian presence with the dominant Israeli-Jewish one.

Judea and Samaria

Biblical names for areas approximating the current northern (Samaria) and southern (Judea) portions of the West Bank, applied by Israel to form the main administrative division under which the Israeli military, settlements, and occupation authorities classify the West Bank’s smaller sub-divisions.

'Judea First' plan

Proposal made by former Israeli Defense Minster Ben Eliezer in 2002 to withdraw Israeli troops from Hebron and surrounding areas in the southern West Bank (Judea). The plan's core concept is based on the "Gaza and Bethlehem" security plans which involved a phased withdrawal from Palestinian areas reoccupied during the Second Intifada and resumption of Palestinian security control.

Kach/Kahane Chai

(acronym for Kahane LaKnesset – English: Kahane to the Knesset) Two ultra rightwing organizations that advocate the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel. Kach was formed by Rabbi Meir Kahane in the early 1970s. Kach was represented in the Knesset in 1984, but was barred from the next elections for inciting racism. After Kahane’s assassination in 1990, Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives) split from Kach. The Israeli government banned group members from serving in the Knesset because of their racist orientation. In March 1994, after settler Baruch Goldstein mur¬dered 29 Muslims in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, both groups were outlawed. Kach and Kahane Chai are considered terrorist organizations by Israel, Canada, the European Union, and the US


(English: Forward) An Israeli political party founded by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, after he formally left the Likud party in November 2005, that would allow him to carry out his controversial policy of unilateral disengagement. Kadima became the strongest party as a result of the March 2006 elections (29 of 120 Knesset seats). Kadima defines itself as a broad popular movement working to ensure the future of Israel as a Jewish democratic state and is currently led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who was elected in intra-party primaries on 17 September 2008. In the February 2009 elections, Kadima won 28 out of the 120 Knesset seats.


(English: Struggle) Home-made rockets developed by Fateh that are much less common than the Qassam rockets of Hamas (see Qassam). They were reportedly used for the first time on 3 October 2004, when fired against the Netzarim settlement in the Gaza Strip.

Kahan commission

A three-member Commission of Enquiry into the Events at the Refugee Camps in Beirut formed by the Israeli government under pressure from its own peace movement. The commission, headed by Israeli Supreme Court president Yitzhak Kahan, was to look into Israel’s role in the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon and determined in its report, issued on 3 February 1983, that the massacre was carried out by Phalangists, acting on their own, but their entry was known to Israel. No Israeli was directly responsible for the events, but Israel had indirect responsibility for the massacre since its army held the area. Then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was found responsible for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge (the murder of two days earlier) when he approved the entry of the Phalangists into the camps as well as not taking appropriate measures to prevent blood¬shed. Army Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan did not give the appropriate orders to prevent the massacre, Prime Minister Menachem Begin was responsible for not exercising greater involvement and awareness in the matter of introducing the Phalangists into the camps, and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir erred by not taking action after being alerted by Communications Min. Zippori. The Commission recommended that the Defense Minister resign, that the Di¬rector of Military Intelligence not continue in his post and other senior officers be removed.


PLO base in Jordan in the 1960s, where Palestinian resistance forces, in March 1968, confronted Israeli troops in their first major battle (see Battle of Karameh).

Karine A

(also: Karine A Affair) Freighter seized by Israeli commandos in the Red Sea on 3 January 2002. On board were 50 tons of weapons, including Katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles. Altogether, the weapons were worth an estimated $3 million. The Karine A was purchased in Lebanon in October 2001 by Adel Mughrabi, a senior PA figure, and Fuad Shubaki, the PA’s chief procurement and finance officer. The captain of the vessel was Fateh activist Omar Akawi, a PA Coastal Police officer and senior Fateh member, who an Israeli military court sentenced to 25 years in prison in October 2004. Two officers, Riad Abdullah and Ahmed Khiris, were each sentenced to 17 years in prison. A fourth suspect, Salem As-Sankri, was set free in a Hizbullah prisoner swap after all charges against him were dropped. Fuad Shubaki was jailed, along with five PFLP activists accused of involvement in the 2001 killing of Rehavam Zeevi, in a Jericho prison are guarded by British soldiers under a 2002 deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Karm Al-Mufti

(Hebrew: Kerem Hamufti, also known as ‘Mufti’s grove’) A 110-dunum plot of land in Jerusalem, cultivated with olive trees, which stretches downhill from Sheikh Jarrah (Shepherds Hotel area) towards the edges of the Wadi Al-Joz Industrial Zone, and which the Israel Lands Administration, together with Ateret Cohanim, tried to gain control of. At the request of the ILA, the state formally expropriated the land in March 2007 under the rubric of "acquisition for public needs", thus reclassifying its “green area” status to make way for a planned Jewish neighborhood at the site. The case is still pending with the High Court of Justice.

Katyusha rockets

see Grad Rockets

Kendall Town plan/scheme

Plan named for former British Mandate city planner Henry Kendall and commissioned by Jordan in 1966, which envisioned that Jerusalem become a major administrative and commercial center. The plan was based on an earlier version (published in 1944 for the British Mandate authorities), adapting it to the changed geo-political realities. It covered an area of 34,750 acres/139,000 dunums and aimed at linking all scattered Palestinian residential areas within one integrated planning area and to create space for industrial and commercial areas and thousands of new residential buildings. In particular, the plan foresaw residential areas to the north, agriculture in the valleys, heavy industry in the Anata area, and arterial roads to Ramallah, Bethlehem and Amman. However, instead of implementing the Kendall Scheme, Israel's extension and annexation of East Jerusalem excluded half of the suburbs and its land expropriation deprived Jerusalem's Palestinians of approximately 30 km2 of territory and another 2.5 km^2 of industrial space in five separate areas in Arab Jerusalem (four of them being today the sites of the Israeli settlements of Gilo-East, Atarot, Pisgat Ze'ev-Center, and Rekhes Shu’fat-South). Meanwhile the 30,000 dwellings envisioned by the Kendall Scheme were built, but for Israelis.

Keren Hayesod

(English: The Foundation Fund) The financial arm and central fundraising organization for the state of Israel, which was founded in 1920 at the World Zionist Conference in London to finance activities in the Yishuv and later Israel.

Kerry mission

Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians launched on 29 July 2013 by US Secretary of State John Kerry in a bid to revive the peace process with the aim of reaching a final status agreement within nine months. Following months of talks, both sides worked out a common "framework" based on the Clinton Parameters. However, the mission failed when Israel refused to release the last agreed group of Palestinian prisoners and approved over 700 new units settlements in East Jerusalem. Negotiations were officially suspended by Israel on 24 April, one day after Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to form a unity government.

Khartoum summit

An Arab League Summit that convened in Khartoum from 29 August-1 September 1967 in the wake of the June 1967 War. A consensus resolution was adopted at the summit regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, calling, inter alia, for a continued state of belligerency with Israel, ending the Arab oil boycott declared during the War, and the three ‘Nos’ in the continued struggle against Israel: no peace, no negotiations with Israel, and no recognition of Israel. Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Kuwait further agreed to set up a fund for countries that suffered as a result of the June 1967 War.

Khiam prison

A notorious detention and interrogation facility in South Lebanon used by Israel and partially staffed by its proxy militia, the SLA, during Israel's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon. In 1998, as part of a prisoner exchange with the Lebanese resistance, Israel released 55 Khiam prisoners and handed over 44 bodies in return for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers. The prison was abandoned following Israel’s retreat from south Lebanon in 2000 when local Lebanese residents broke into the prison and freed the remaining inmates. Detainees, including members of the resistance and their relatives, as well as civilians who would not collaborate with the Israelis or the SLA, were held without charge for up to 17 years, and were routinely tortured.


(plural: kibbutzim) Communities in Israel proper, often on expropriated Arab land, or settlements in the OPT that were originally socialist-agricultural, but have become increasingly industrial, in which most property is collectively owned.

King Hussein's Federation Plan

see United Arab Kingdom Plan

King's garden

English name for the Hebrew ‘Gan Hamelech’ project championed by WJM mayor Nir Barkat, which intends to raze 22 Palestinian homes (while legalizing 66 others) in the Al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan in order to erect an archaeological park there.

King-Crane commission

International commission of inquiry, led by the Americans Henry King and Charles Crane, which examined the situation in Palestine in June July 1919. Their re¬port, warned against the effects of unrestricted Jewish immigration and Zionist plans regarding Palestinian Arabs, was kept secret for three years and remained unpublished until 1947


(English: Assembly) Israel's parliamentary body which sits in West Jerusalem. Its name and the number of its members are based on the 'Knesset Hagdola' of the early Second Temple period. It is composed of 120 representatives of different political parties, who are elected to four-year terms. The Knesset is built on the private property of the Palestinian Khalaf family from Lifta.

Knife Intifada

Cycle of violence that began in October 2015 as what is widely seen a (leaderless) out¬burst of frustration and hopelessness by (young) Palestinian as tensions over Al-Aqsa Mosque grew and prospect for peace further vanished. It is characterized largely by “lone wolf” stabbing at¬tacks, detached from the armed factions, and mainly focused on Jerusalem.

Kufr Qassem Massacre

An Israeli massacre of 49 inhabitants of the small town of Kufr Qassem, located in the triangle region of northern Israel, which took place on 29 October 1956, a few hours after the tripartite attack of Israel, France, and Britain on Egypt began (see Sinai Campaign). As a result of the attack, the entire area was put under curfew and when villagers, unaware of the curfew, returned from work, they found a road block near the entrance to the village, which had been set up by the Israeli army. The soldiers then shot the villagers without warning when they exited their vehicles at the roadblock. Every year the massacre’s anniversary is commemorated.

Kulgman committee

Governmental Board of Inquiry headed by then-Director General of the Justice Ministry, Haim Klugman, which was commissioned in 1992 by then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to investigate covert and illegal government policies abetting settler activities in Jerusalem. The Committee submitted its report, which remains classified, to the Government on 13 September 1992. The report revealed that Minister Sharon implemented illegal policies in East Jerusalem, including funneling millions of dollars with no oversight to settler groups, and using forged documents to seize Palestinian property as 'absentee property' and then subsequently handing it over to settlers. Furthermore, it accused the Israel Lands Authority and the Jewish National Fund of having allotted much of Silwan to settlers without offering it for tender, and accused the government of having used public funds to finance the settlers' legal expenses. The Klugman Report caused a scandal in Israel, and the government responded by abruptly ceasing support for settler activities in East Jerusalem. However, activity resumed, albeit at a lower level, when Binyamin Netanyahu took over as Prime Minister.

Labor Party

(Hebrew: Mifleget HaAvoda HaYisraelit; also: Avoda) Israeli social-democratic, center-left, and Zionist party founded in 1968 through the union of the Mapai, Akhdut Ha'avoda, and Rafi parties. It also is aligned with the Mapam party. Labor is a member of the Socialist International. A small group, led by Yossi Beilin, split from the Labor Party in 2003 to form the left-wing Meretz party. In 2006, several other members left Labor to join the newly formed Kadima party, including veterans Shimon Peres, Haim Ramon, and Dalia Itzhik. The Labor Party, since June 2007 led by Ehud Barak, won 13 seats in the February 2009 elections.

Labor Party peace platform

(also: Plan) The Labor Party’s principles for a peace agreement with the Palestinians, which was publicized in November 2003, includes returning to the 4 June 1967 borders "with slight revisions due to security reasons and around blocs of Jewish settlements", dividing Jerusalem into Israeli and Palestinian capitals and into Jewish and Arab sections based on the current population structure, relinquishing the Palestinian right of return, dismantling all "illegal" outposts, and constructing a separation barrier on the Green Line.

Lake Tabariyya

(also: Lake of Tiberias and Sea of Galilee; Arabic: Buhayrat Tabariyya) This lake, through which the Jordan Rivers flows, is located on the southwestern Syrian-Palestinian border, and from 1948 to 1967, Syria had access to its northeastern shoreline. Lake Tabariyya is located 209 m below sea level, and has a surface area of 166 square km. The sea's maximum depth, which occurs in the northeast, is 48 m, and it measures 21 km from north to south and 11 km from east to west. The lake is fed primarily by the Jordan River, however, other streams and wadis (seasonal watercourses) flow into it from the hills of the Galilee. In these watersheds and the lake itself are many. Be¬cause of extensive mineral deposits and strong evaporation in the watersheds feeding the lake and within the lake itself, the lake's waters are relatively salty. Lake Tabariyya was the main dispute in the recent peace talks between Israel and Syria, and Israel’s refusal to return a few kilometers on the north¬eastern shore brought the talks to a dead end in April 2000.

Land Day

(Arabic: Yom Al-Ard) Commemorates the bloody killing of six Palestinians, the wounding of 96 others, and the arrest of over 300 in the Galilee on 30 March 1976 by Israeli troops during peaceful protests over the confiscation of Palestinian lands. The day has since been observed with demonstrations and other actions denouncing Israeli injustice and oppression against the Palestinians.

'Land for Peace'

Formula that gained importance with the Oslo Accords, but its origins go back to UN Security Council Resolution 242 (of November 1967), which called for the establishment of a just and lasting peace based on Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967 in return for the end of belligerency from all states, respect for the sovereignty of all states in the area, and the right to live in peace within secure, recognized boundaries. Today, ‘land for peace’ is used as the basis of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, according to which, Israel is to relinquish control of occupied territory to Palestinians in return for peace. The principle is still considered the key to the resolution of the Palestine Question.

Land swap

Concept that evolved in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that refers to an exchange of land between the two sides, whereby areas within Israel proper will be transferred to a Palestinian state as compensation for land Israel will annex as part of a final status agreement (i.e., mainly the large settlement blocs in the West Bank and around Jerusalem).

Land Transfer regulations

Set of laws/directives dating back to the British Mandate period, which limited or prohibited the transfer of land to Jews in most of Palestine.

Lausanne conference

Unsuccessful Israel-Arab peace conference convened in Lausanne, Switzerland, between 27 April and 15 September 1949 under the auspices of the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) with the goal of resolving all problems related to Palestine – mainly boundaries, refugees and Jerusalem - and achieving overall peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The Arabs – from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Transjordan - appeared as one body with Ahmed Shuqeiri attached to the Syrian delegation as Palestinian advisor (Iraq was also invited, but declined). The talks, a series of parallel UNCCP-Arab and UNCCP-Israeli meetings with no official direct Arab-Israeli communication, failed mainly due to Israel’s uncompromising attitude toward refugees. Nevertheless, the so-called Lausanne Proto¬col was signed, which stated the UNCCP had submitted in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 194 a ‘working document” to serve “as a basis for discussions” and agreed to cooperate with the UNCCP. After Lausanne, Israel unilaterally enlarged its boundaries, proclaimed Jerusalem as its exclusive capital, and denied Palestinian refugees both the right of return and compensation.

Law of entry to Israel

Law issued in 1952, which governs (together with the 1974 Entry to Israel Regulations) the entry of foreigners into Israel and their stay in the country. Because Palestinians from Jerusalem are considered foreigners they are subject to the law and must apply for family reunification when they marry partners who are not East Jerusalem residents or Israel citizens. Israel has intensively used the law to control the number of Palestinians who legally re¬side in Jerusalem and Israel proper and to confiscate ID cards. Restrictive provisions – which do not apply to Jewish permanent residents or Israeli citizens – include; a) those who wish to travel abroad must obtain an Israeli re-entry visa or they lose their right of return; b) those who hold or apply for residency/citizenship elsewhere lose their residency right in Jerusalem (center of life policy); c) those who live abroad, which since 1996 includes the West Bank and Gaza, for over seven years lose their residency rights; d) those who want to register their children as Jerusalem residents can do so only if the father holds a valid Jerusalem ID card; e) those who marry non-resident spouses from the WBGS or abroad must apply for family reunification to live legally with their spouses in Jerusalem. On 31 July 2003, the Knesset approved a bill to prevent Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens from receiving Israeli citizenship or permanent residency status, which is to become an amendment to a clause in the family unification law (Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law - Temporary Order 2003) and will apply retroactively. The family unification law has been extended several times, most recently for an additional year on 1 July 2008. According to this policy, children born to permanent residents of Israel will only be recognized as Israeli residents following an approved family unification application, which were frozen in May 2002.

Law of return

Law adopted in 1950 by the Knesset granting any Jew the right to settle in Israel as an olah (new immigrant) and become Israeli citizen. The Law of Return was amended in 1970 to allow all persons with a Jewish grand¬parent to immigrate to Israel, contradicting Jewish-religious standards by which having a Jewish mother is the criteria for ‘Jewishness’.

League of Arab states

see Arab League

League of Nations

International association of nations - preceding the UN - that promoted world peace from 1920-1946. The League of Nations handed Britain and France the Mandates over territories gained during World War I, including Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.

Lebanon War

(I.) War that began on 6 June 1982 (called by Israel ‘Operation Peace of the Galilee’ or “first Lebanon War” and by Arabs "the invasion"), with the invasion of Israeli forces into South Lebanon, triggered by an assassination attempt of the Abu Nidal group against Israel's ambassador to the UK, and directed by then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon. The operation involved attacks against PLO, Syrian, and Muslim-Lebanese forces, leaving over 20,000 people dead, and ended with Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon (later establishment of a SLA-controlled security zone) and the negotiated passage of the PLO from Lebanon. (II.) Massive Israeli military assault on Lebanon (also known as “July War” or “Second Lebanon War”) that began on 12 July 2006 in response to a Hizbullah attack on an Israeli border patrol. The 34 days of Israeli airstrikes, air and naval blockade, and ground invasions left Lebanese civilian infrastructure, including Beirut airport, badly damaged as well as over 1,500 people, mostly civilians, killed, and displaced an estimated one million Lebanese. The conflict ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire (UNSC Resolution 1701, effective as of 14 August 2006).


(Abbreviation for Lohamei Herut Israel – English: Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) Jewish anti-British armed underground organization in Palestine, founded in 1940 as a splinter group of the Irgun. Lehi also is known as Stern Gang after its founder Avraham Stern. The group was responsible for many terror acts on British and Arab targets, as well as for the assassination of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte in 1948. Among its leading members was future Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Although Zionist historians later distanced the normative Israeli military agencies from Lehi, referring to the organization as a ‘rogue’ terror outfit, from the outset of 1947 hostilities Lehi joined forces and command-structure with the Jewish Agency’s Haganah, cooperating in combined offensives and numerous well-documented atrocities throughout the war, including the massacre at Deir Yassin. As such, Lehi contributed both regular and irregular soldiers to the nascent Israeli army and maintained political representation at the highest levels in the new state.

Levy report

(‘Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria’) Report on Israeli settlements authored by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy and commissioned by PM Netanyahu in January 2012 to examine the legal status of the so-called ‘outposts’ and whether the Israeli presence in the West Bank is to be considered an occupation or not. The report, published on 9 July 2012, concluded that Israel is not an occupier and settlements are legal under international law because the West Bank was seized from a state (Jordan) which was not its rightful sovereign. The report recommends legalizing most outposts and facilitating the expansion of existing settlements. To date (Dec. 2012) Netanyahu’s government has not adopted the re¬port (by fear of international condemnation), but has threatened to do so (notably to deter the Palestinians from requesting an upgraded status at the UN).

Liberal Party

Established in 1927 in Jaffa and Gaza by ‘Issa Al-‘Issa and others as an alternative for those not aligned with either of the rival Husseini and Nashashibi factions. The liberal party advocated Palestinian unity and social reforms.


(English: Union) Right wing political party founded in 1973 as an alliance of several right-wing and liberal parties, including the nationalist-populist Herut Party, the centrist Liberal Party, and several smaller parties, to challenge the then ruling Labor Party. Likud came to power for the first time in 1977 and experienced a major split in 2005 when Likud leader Ariel Sharon left to form the new Kadima party. Binyamin Netanyahu has led Likud since Sharon’s departure. In the February 2009 elections, the Likud won 27 out of the 120 Knesset seats.

Literary society

(Arabic: Muntada Al-Adabi) One of two main national movements (the other being Nadi Al-Arabi), which emerged during Palestine’s unity with Syria (1918-20). Membership was based on ideology, in contrast to the traditional organization around family heads and notables, and consisted largely of young people. The interests of the two national movements were almost identical, which led to cooperation between them in all major political events, however, both disappeared after 1921. Muntada Al-Adabi was organized in January 1918 by Hassan Sidqi Ad-Dajani, under the name of Muqtatafl Al-Durus (Selection of Lessons), to spread French propaganda and was renamed in November 1918. It was officially financed by France as a cultural organization. The leadership was mainly composed of members of the Nashashibi family and the goal was the unification of Palestine with Syria, as well as resistance against British and Zionist policies.

Little triangle

(also: Triangle) Area within Israel abutting the northwestern border of the West Bank that was ceded to Israeli forces by Jordan without Palestinian consent during the 1949 armistice agreements. The Little Triangle was sparsely settled by Zionists prior to the war and remains the area with the highest population density of Palestinians in Israel. Therefore, it suffers from serious infrastructure and development deficiencies. Its principal towns are Umm Al-Fahm, Al-Khadeira, and Kufr Qara’, between which lie numerous small Palestinian villages.

London Conference(s)

(I.) First Palestinian delegations to London during 1920-21 which stated Palestinian aspirations and opposition to the Balfour Declaration; (II.) Palestinian delegation to London in 1930, which received British rejection of its demands for cessation of Jewish mass immigration, land acquisition in Palestine, and the establishment of a representative government; (III.) (also: St. James Roundtable Conference) Conference held following publication of the recommendations of the Peel and the Wood¬head Commissions at St. James Palace between February-March 1939 with Jewish, Palestinian, and other Arab delegates to discuss the future of Palestine. It failed to reach a settlement and was followed by the Macdonald White Paper, which restricted Jewish immigration and land buying; (IV.) Conference on the future of Palestine held in September 1946 to follow-up on the Morrison-Grady Plan for creation of a unitary, federal trusteeship in Palestine and to consider British proposals for Palestine’s division into Arab and Jewish provinces (federal solution) under a British High Commissioner. The conference reconvened in February 1947 to again consider the British proposals, however both the Arab Higher Committee and the Zionist movement rejected the proposal and soon after the British government announced it would turn over the Pales¬tine question to the UN.

Lowdermilk plan

Plan recommended by the US in 1944, which was based on the idea of irrigating the Negev Desert with the waters of the Jordan and Litani rivers and refilling the Dead Sea through a canal from the Mediterranean Sea. The plan was abandoned following the change of circumstances in the Jordan River Basin after World War II (i.e., the creation of Israel and the influx of large numbers of refugees).

Macdonald White Paper

(also: White Paper of 1939) British policy paper, named after Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald, issued on 17 May 1939 after the Woodhead Commission’s finding that partition was impracticable and the failure of the St. James Roundtable Conference. The paper disclaimed any intention to create a Jewish state, placed restrictions on Jewish immigration (15,000 people annually for five years, after which all immigration would be subject to Arab consent) and land purchase, and envisaged an independent state in Palestine with a two-thirds Arab ma¬jority within 10 years. In providing for the establishment of a Palestinian (Arab) state, the White Paper marked the end of British commitment to the Jews under the Balfour Declaration. The Zionists rejected it and launched a bloody anti-British and anti-Palestinian campaign with the aim of driving both out of Palestine and paving the way for the establishment of the Zionist state. The paper was also rejected by the Arab Higher Committee for not going far enough.

Machpela (Cave of)

Jewish reference to the Tomb of the Patriarchs located inside the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron (i.e., the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).

Machsom Watch

Organization formed in 2001 by female Israeli peace activists, which is against the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories and the systematic repression of the Palestinian nation. Machsom Watch calls for Palestinian freedom of movement within their own territory and for an end to the occupation. They monitor the behavior of the military at checkpoints (Machsom) with regard to Palestinian human and civil rights and document each observation through written reports.

Madrid + 15 Conference

Conference held in Madrid on 11 January 2007, which was attended by Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestinians, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The Madrid + 15 Conference commemorated the 15th anniversary of the 1991 Madrid Peace conference and called for an official international Middle East peace conference as a first step towards a comprehensive agreement.

Madrid Conference

Three-day Middle East peace conference, which opened in Madrid on 30 October 1991 under the co-chairmanship of the US and the Soviet Union in lieu of the long desired UN-sponsored international conference. The conference was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War. The conference included Israel, Palestinians, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The Madrid Conference initiated two tracks: bilateral talks which began in Washington on 9 December 1991 and multilateral talks which began in Moscow on 28 January 1992. The peace conference led to the Oslo Process, mutual recognition by the PLO and Israel, and a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.


(Hebrew acronym for Mafleget Dati Leumi – English: The National Religious Party) Modern Orthodox and Zionist party that was officially established in 1956 through the merging of Mizrachi, Hapoel Mizrachi, and other religious Zionist groups. The party is typically identified with the right-wing because of its support of settlements and its opposition to any land-for-peace deal. In November 2008, Mafdal voted to disband and join the new Jewish Home Party which was created by Mafdal’s merger with most National Union factions.


Form of land ownership in Ottoman Empire law. Mahlul was miri agricultural land (see Miri) that reverted to the state when an owner died without an heir or the land was not cultivated for three or more years. The last owner could reclaim the land by payment of the unimproved value, or if the owner failed to do so, others could purchase the lease to the land.


Part of a system created by the League of Nations whereby, "peoples not yet able to stand by themselves," would be administered by "advanced nations" (principally the Allied Powers) for a time, before transferring authority to the local population. The Mandate of Palestine was given to Britain and lasted from 1920 to 1948.

Mandelbaum Gate

UN-monitored official crossing point on the post-1948 border between Israel and Jordan in Jerusalem (West and East Jerusalem). The Mandelbaum Gate was named after the owner of what was then a strategically located house and was the only way for diplomats and tourists to move between the two sides of the divided city during the period of Jordanian rule of the West Bank (1948-1967). The gate was located on Road # 1, but was pulled down by Israeli troops in 1967.

Marj Az-zuhur

Camp named after a nearby village in South Lebanon to which Israel expelled 416 alleged Islamists from the WBGS on 17 December 1992, following a week of Hamas at¬tacks that left six Israeli soldiers killed. The Palestinians suspended negotiations with Israel in response to the move, which was condemned worldwide, including in UN Security Council Resolution 799. The episode contributed to Hamas’ emergence as a player in the international arena.


Members of one of the Syriac Eastern Catholic Churches and one of the largest United churches in the Arab world. Maronites are the leading Christian community in Lebanon and represent the majority of Lebanese in the Diaspora. The Maronite church is named after their founder, St. Maron

Martur Abu Al-Abbas

Small list led by Omar Shalabi that represented the PLF in the January 2006 PLC elections. It is named after the founder and late PLF leader Mohammed Zeidan (Abul Abbas). The list did not win a seat in the PLC.


see Shahid

Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa

List formed by the PFLP, which ran in the January 2006 PLC elections and won three out of 132 parliament seats (4.2%). Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa, led by imprisoned Ahmad Sa'adat, is named after the late Secretary-General of the PFLP Abu Ali Mustafa, who was assassinated by Israeli forces in 2001.

Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades

see Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades.

Masada Complex

Belief said to play a role in Israeli political thinking, according to which, it is preferable to fight to the end (death) rather than to surrender and acquiesce to loss of independent statehood. The term goes back to the experience of some 960 Jewish zealots who held the fortified castle of Masada (above the Dead Sea) from 66-73 CE and refused to surrender to the Roman forces, eventually choosing suicide over defeat and capitulation.

Al-Mascubiyya prison

see Russian Compound

Master Plan Jerusalem 2000

On 13 September 2004 then-mayor of Jerusalem Uri Lupoliansky disclosed a Town Planning Scheme for a “united Jerusalem,” known as Master Plan 2000, which would serve as a mandatory map for land use and a blueprint for other municipal planning purposes until the year 2020. The ‘stated’ target of the plan is a city population made up of 70% Jews and 30% Palestinians, while the current trend suggests a population ratio of 60:40 by 2020. Geographic and demographic manipulations to counter the trend and achieve their aim include the separation barrier which excludes over 150,000 Palestinians from municipal borders, closure and house demolition policies, and expropriation of Palestinian land, including private property, through the application of the 1950 Absentee Property Law. The plan provides for the establishment of additional Jewish settlements and public institutions, while hampering Palestinian development and isolating Palestinian suburbs.


(also: Metruka) One of the legal modes of land ownership in Ottoman Turkish law that referred to ‘common’ land set aside for public use such as roads and pastures. Matruka land cannot be sold by an individual nor is disposition possible.


(also: Mewat) One of the legal modes of land ownership in Ottoman Turkish law that referred to waste land that was declared unsuitable for any purpose (e.g., desert, swamp, mountains) and had not been left or assigned to its inhabitants. Mawat land lies beyond the sound of human voice from an inhabited location. It was mainly used for grazing under common property regimes and provided an opportunity for the poor to acquire land through their efforts (cultivation). Mawat lands were often a grey area with political undertones.

Mecca Agreement

(also: Palestinian Unity Agreement) Agreement between Fateh and Hamas signed in Mecca in February 2007 calling for an immediate ceasefire between the Palestinian factions. The agreement stressed the principle of political partnership and power-sharing between Hamas and Fateh, and charged Prime Minister-elect Haniyeh with forming a national unity government. The Mecca Agreement was criticized for its vague wording and was dismissed by the US and Israel who insisted that any new government must reject terror, recognize Israel, and honour past accords. The National Unity Government took office on 17 March 2007.


(Hebrew acronym for Medina Yehudit, Medina Demokratit - English: Jewish State, Democratic State) Left-wing, religious-Zionist movement founded in 1988 by Rabbi Yehuda Amital as a breakaway group from the National Religious Party. Meimad was established in 1999 to represent religious and non-religious people who believe Israel should be both a democratic and Jewish state. The party won one seat in the 1999 Israeli parliamentary elections and was represented in the Knesset by Michael Melchior, the former Chief Rabbi of Norway. Meimad maintains that territorial compromise regarding the Land of Israel is acceptable because saving a life is more important than and supercedes any other biblical in¬junctions. Former Labor Party member Ami Ayalon joined Meimad in November 2008 and in the same month the party ended its alliance with the Labor Party after being told that the 10th spot on the list, which until the 2006 elections had been reserved for Meimad, would no longer be available in the Knesset elections of 2009. Meimad did not receive enough votes in the 2009 elections to be elected to the Knesset.


Israeli Water Company founded in 1937 as a joint venture of the Histadrut, Jewish National Fund, and the Jewish Agency. Since 1982, Mekorot has controlled all water is¬sues in Palestine. Due to Israel’s discriminatory water policies, Palestinians are forced to purchase water from Mekorot, which according to international law belongs to the Palestinians. In 2007, they obtained some 49.4 million m3 from Mekorot at a cost of NIS 129 million. Mekorot also is responsible for supplying water to the settlements, which receive water regularly and without interruption, while the supply to Palestinian communities is often reduced or interrupted to meet increased demand in the settlements.

MENA Summits/Conferences

Middle East and North Africa Economic Conferences (MENA) held under the sponsorship of the US Foreign Relations Committee and the World Economic Forum, which aimed to strengthen cooperation between governments and business communities to reinforce achievements made in peace talks. The first summit was held in the wake of the Oslo Accords in Casablanca from 30 October-1 November 1994 and was at¬tended by representatives of 64 countries. The second took place in Am¬man from 29-31 October 1995, and the third took place in Cairo from 12-15 November 1996. Due to the slowing of the peace process following the election of then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, it was downgraded to simply a ‘conference’. The fourth MENA Conference took place in Doha, Qatar from 16-18 November 1997, but was boycotted by most Arab countries and the PA.


(Acronym for Mapam and Ratz) Left-wing Israeli party formed in 1992 by the merger of the socialist Mapam, the centrist-socialist Ratz, and the centrist Shinui party. Meretz was initially led by Ratz chairwoman Shulamit Aloni and was a major coalition partner of the Labor Party. However, Meretz lost a quarter of their seats in the 1996 elections, after which Yossi Sarid became the new party leader and part of Shinui broke away to form a separate movement. Meretz ran on a joint list with Roman Bronfman's Democratic Choice Party for the 2003 Knesset elections; however, the party disbanded in December 2003, following a significant blow in the elections, and re-established itself as Meretz-Yachad after merging with Yossi Beilin’s Shahar movement. In 2006, the party dropped Yachad and ran simply as Meretz in the elections for the 17th Knesset. Meretz has been led by new chairman Haim Oron since March 2008 and merged with Hatnua HaHadasha (The New Movement) to form the New Movement-Meretz for the 2009 Knesset elections. The list garnered 2.95% of the vote and won three seats in the elections.


(Literally: Together; Hebrew acronym for Yisrael Hevratit Demokratit – English: Social-Democratic Israel; also: Yachad) Israeli dovish, left-wing, social democratic party that evolved from a merger of Meretz and Yossi Beilin's Shahar movement in December 2003 during the 16th Knesset to unite and resuscitate the Israeli Zionist peace camp. The party was initially named Ya'ad (Goal), but then renamed Yachad. The party supports the Geneva Accord, the two-state solution, and previous peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. Yossi Beilin was elected chairman in March 2004 and served in this role until 2007. In July 2005, the party changed its name to Meretz-Yachad, and then in 2006 dropped Yachad and ran simply as Meretz in the elections for the 17th Knesset. (See also Meretz)

Military Courts

Courts based on the British Mandate 1945 Defense (Emergency) Regulations, which were instituted by the ‘Israeli Defense Forces’ following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Prior to 1967, military courts were mainly used to try Palestinian citizens of Israel, however immediately after the outbreak of the 1967 June War courts were established by the Israeli army for security-related cases in the Palestinian territories. They are mainly regulated by Military Order Concerning Security Provisions (Judea and Samaria) (No. 378) 5727-1967 of 20 April 1970, which constitutes the basis for the laws governing the arrest and detention of Palestinians in Israeli custody, the definition of offenses and the determination of penalties for offenders, and the establishment of legal procedures in the military courts. Military courts are normally presided over by a senior Israeli army officer (Captain or higher) and two other officers who act as magistrates. An Israeli officer presents the prosecution’s case while the defendant may appoint a civilian attorney. It is estimated that half of the prison population in Israel consists of Palestinians sentenced to prison via military courts.

Military Intelligence

Palestinian security force responsible for internal affairs and the military police (act against infiltration by militant groups). It is estimated to be comprised of 950 troops.

Military Order

Orders signed by the Israeli Area Military Commander and published by the Israeli authorities since 1967. These orders became the main form of legislation for regulating life in the Palestinian Territories and are dictated by Israel’s own interests, including acquisition and confiscation of land, manipulation of natural resources, access restrictions, deportation, implementation of economic restrictions, and use of ‘security’ pretexts. Some 1,377 military orders have been issued in the West Bank, and over 1,000 have been issued in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s occupation began. East Jerusalem is excluded since it was illegally annexed to Israel in 1967 and thus became subject to Israeli law.


(Arabic: Millah) Originally a 19th century Ottoman Turkish term for a confessional community, which describes a form of autonomy/legal protection regarding the handling of community affairs granted by the Ottoman authorities to non-Islamic entities (i.e., religious minority groups, primarily Jews and Christians).


The most common form of land ownership in the Ottoman Empire. Miri is land suitable for agricultural use, for which the state technically owns the title, but sells the heritable, usufructuary rights to cultivators (governmental land lease). While miri rights could be transferred to heirs and the land could be sublet to tenants, ownership could only be transferred with the approval of the state. If the owner died without an heir or the land was not cultivated for three years the land reverted to the government (see Mahlul). Most cultivated land in Palestine was miri. (See also the opposite: Mulk).

Mitchel Report

Fact-finding committee that investigated the events leading to the Al-Aqsa Intifada, how to prevent their recurrence, and how to rebuild confidence and resume negotiations. The committee, headed by former US senator and current US Special Envoy to the Middle East George J. Mitchell, was formed following the summit at Sharm Ash-Sheikh (17 October 2000), which was attended by Israel, the PA, Egypt, Jordan, the US, the UN, and the EU. Members of the committee were: former senator Warren Rudman, former Turkish President Suleiman Demirel, the EU’s Javier Solana, and Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjorn Jagland. Recommendations of the report, completed on 30 April 2001 and published on 20 May 2001, included a “freeze of all settlement activity, including the ‘natural growth’ of existing settlements”, a call on both sides to reaffirm their commitment to existing agreements, and an immediate, unconditional ending of violence and resumption of security cooperation.

Mixed Armistice Commission

Commission formed by the UN in 1949 as a component of the Jordanian-Israeli Armistice Agreement to supervise and monitor the implementation of the terms of the armistice. The Mixed Armistice Commission included a sub-committee on Jerusalem, which was charged with ensuring access to holy sites, securing transit between no man’s land zones, and liaising with the UN’s other bodies, as well as the Jordanian and Israeli governments.


(English: Homeland) Small ideological right-wing party in Israel, which was founded in 1988 by Rehavam Ze'evi, who headed it until his murder in 2001. Following Ze’evi’s murder, Rabbi Binyamin Elon was elected chairman of Moledet, which advocates population transfer as an integral part of a comprehensive plan to achieve peace be¬tween Jews and Arabs. Moledet united with other small parties to form the National Union in 1999 and announced a merger with other right-wing parties to form the Jewish Home Party in November 2008, but broke away soon after and joined a revived National Union for the 2009 elections. The National Union won four seats in the election, one of which went to Moledet candidate Ya'akov Katz.

Morrison-Grady Plan

Federal solution for Pales¬tine pro¬posed by British Deputy Prime Minister Herbert Morri¬son and US Ambassador Henry Grady in July 1946, following the rejection of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry’s recommendations to increase Jewish immigration. The plan intended to convert the British Mandate into a trusteeship and to divide the country into Jewish and Arab provinces, as well as two districts (Jerusalem and Negev). In September 1946, the Palestine Roundtable Conference in London rejected the plan with Arab delegates proposing a unitary state of Pales¬tine, in which Jews would have full civil rights.


(plural: moshavim, English: settlement, village) Israeli cooperative community of small farmers who own property individually (with farms of fixed and equal size), but organize their work cooperatively and market their produce jointly. The first moshav, Nahalal, was established in the Jezreel Valley in September 1921. Many moshavim were built on former Arab villages or lands.


(Hebrew: Hamossad Le’mode’in U’le’tafkidim Me¬yuchadim) The Israeli intelligence agency responsible for overseas intelligence work, including intelligence collection, counter terrorism, covert operations such as paramilitary activities and political assassinations, and the facilitation of aliya where it is banned. Mossad focuses largely on anti-Israel organizations and the Arab nations.


(English: Opposition; plural: Mu’aradun) Term that refers to the followers of the Nashashibi-led opposition during the British Mandate, which stood for secularism and modern development (see also Al-Majlisyoun).


(English: Palestinian National Initiative) Political party formed in 2002 by the late Dr. Haidar Abdel-Shafi, Ibrahim Dakkak, and Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi to realize Palestinian national rights and a durable, just peace. These objective would be accomplished through the establishment of a national emergency leadership, implementation of democratic elections at all levels of the political system, and reform of political, administrative and other institutional structures in Palestine. The Mubadara is led by Dr. Barghouthi, who ran unsuccessfully for President in the January 2005 elections. In the January 2006 PLC elections, the Mubadara ran on a joint list (Independent Palestine) with some independents, gaining 2.7% of the votes and two PLC seats.

Mubarak's Ten Points

Proposal formulated by President Mubarak of Egypt in September 1989, which was comprised of ten points and based on the ‘land-for-peace’ formula and the notion of trying to reach a final settlement in the OPT. It also proposed that a Palestinian-Israeli meeting be held in Cairo. In particular, the proposal suggested the following: (1) An Israeli commitment to accept any and all results of the election polls. (2) The presence of international observers for the elections. (3) The granting of total immunity to elected representatives. (4) A withdrawal of the Israeli army from the balloting areas on Election Day. (5) An Israeli commitment to start talks on the final status of the OPT on a specific date within three or five years. (6) An end to all settlement activities during the elections. (7) Complete freedom to organize and hold election campaigns. (8) A ban on entry on Election Day for all Israelis who do not live and work in the OPT. (9) The participation of East Jerusalemites in the elections. (10) An Israeli commitment to the principle of exchanging land for peace. Palestinians were receptive to the proposal, but insisted that the Palestinian delegation be appointed by the PLO and could include Palestinians from out¬side the OPT. Further, they called for the agenda to be open to discussion of more than just municipal elections, and sought a meeting with international participation. Israel first ignored the proposals then rejected them in a cabinet vote on 6 October 1989.

Mughrabi Gate

(also: Moroccan Gate) One of eleven gates providing access to the Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the only entrance for non-Muslims. The access ramp to the Mughrabi Gate collapsed in early 2004, and in February 2007 Israel started controversial excavations to prepare for construction of a new ramp. The excavations were stopped after an outcry from Arabs and Muslims worldwide, who feared the excavations would not only endanger the foundations of the holy site, but would also change the political status quo of the complex by increasing Jewish access to the compound. Their appeals received wide¬spread international support, including from within Israel.


(lit.: chosen) (Elected) head or representative of a kinship unit or a village, town, district, or neighborhood in dealings with other authorities. Generally the highest ranking official at the local level.


Ottoman land term in which both the title and the usufructuary rights were privately owned and could be transferred to others without state interference. The land also could be mortgaged or bequeathed (See also the opposite: Miri).

Multilateral Talks

Talks launched at the 1991 Madrid Conference. Participants were split into five working groups, water, security and arms control, refugees, environment, and economic development, which were coordinated by the World Bank. Numerous rounds of talks were held through 2004, and a few steering committee meetings took place in 1996 before talks were halted due to a general stale¬mate in the peace process.

Multilateral working groups

Five working groups established as part of the multilateral track of the Middle East Peace Process to address issues of mutual interest on a regional basis (water, security and arms control, refugees, environment, and economic development).

Munich Operation

Assault during the Summer Olympics in Munich (5-6 September 1972), in which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventual killed or injured by a group of Palestinians associated with the Black September Organization. The group demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons. Five of the eight attackers (from refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan), nine of the hostages, and a German police officer were killed during the rescue attempt. Israel responded with a series of airstrikes and assassinations of those suspected of planning the killings (see Operation ‘Spring of Youth’ and Operation ‘Wrath of God’).

Muntada Al-Adabi

see Literary Society

Muntada Falastin

(Palestinian Forum) Political party founded in Oct. 2007 by Palestinian businessmen (led by Munib Masri) in an attempt to challenge the Islamist Hamas and secular Fateh and to provide an alternative to the two polarized parties.


(lit.: something separated) Walled government compound in Ramallah which was originally used by the British military in the 1920s. After the Israeli occupation in 1967, it served as the Israeli army’s military headquarters and prison in Ramallah until the army withdrew in 1995 and Palestinians assumed control of the compound. The Muqata'a served as President Arafat’s official West Bank headquarters and included a helipad, a prison, offices, a meeting hall, a VIP guesthouse, and a residential block housing himself and his aides. Arafat was forcibly confined to his headquarters by Israel from December 2001 to October 2004. Most of the compound’s buildings were destroyed or damaged when Israel invaded Ramallah and seized the Muqata’a in March 2002. In November 2004, President Arafat was buried on the compound, and a mausoleum was built on top of his grave. The Muqata’a still serves as the PA’s headquarters.


(also: Mesha' or Mesha'a) A form of land ownership in the Ottoman Empire referring to commonly owned and cultivated land (e.g., village land).

Muslim Brotherhood

(Arabic: Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun) Organization that was established by Hassan Al-Banna in Egypt in 1929 as an Islamic political-religious movement to fight against Egypt’s secular 1923 constitution and promote the return to Islam’s fundamental values. The Muslim Brotherhood soon spread to other Arab countries and is considered the ideological basis/forefather of many Islamic organizations.

Muslim-Christian Association

(MCA) Associations which first appeared in Jaffa (November 1918) and Jerusalem (early 1919) to ex¬press a Palestinian national identity and to oppose Zionism. The MCA was composed of representatives of leading families and religious scholars and soon became a countrywide network with its headquarters in Jerusalem.


Ottoman title for the administrative governor of a Sanjak (sub-province). Sanjaks were in turn sub-divided into Kazas (districts), each governed by a Kaimakam. The Mutassarif was responsible to a vali, the ruler of a wider vilayet (providence) and thereafter to the Sultan in Istanbul.

Nabi Musa Uprising

Anti-Zionist uprising in and around Jerusalem that erupted in early April 1920 during the Muslim festival of Nabi Musa, an annual pilgrimage from Jerusalem to Jericho and the site of the Mosque of Prophet Musa. The riots followed rising tensions in Arab-Jewish relations over the implications of Zionist immigration

Nadi Al-Arabi

see the Arab Club


Palestinian Arab youth movement (paramilitary) formed by Mohammed Nimr Al-Hawari in October 1945 in Jaffa. Najjada was dissolved around 1948.


Home-made rockets manufactured by the PRC with several models ranging from 6-10 km.

National and Islamic Forces

Umbrella group of Palestinian forces established shortly after the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada to serve as a coordinating body, provide political leadership, conduct na¬tional dialogue, and work towards national unity. Members were Fateh, PFLP, Hamas, DFLP, PPP, FIDA, PPSF, PLF, Islamic Jihad, ALF, Palestinian Arab Front, PFLP-GC, Islamic Na¬tional Salvation Party, and Popular Liberation War Pioneers (Sa’iqa).

National Bloc Party

(Arabic: Al-Kutlah Al-Wataniyah) Party founded in 1935 by Abdul Latif Salah that remained weak even in its ‘strongholds’ of Tulkarem and Nablus. During different periods, the National Bloc Party both promoted cooperation with the British and struggled against them. The party nearly disappeared in the early 1940s before being re¬constituted in 1944, however it remained uninfluential.

National Coalition for Justice and Democracy

see Wa’ad

National Defense Party

Party headed by Ragheb Al-Nashashibi, which was established in December 1934 by the Nashashibi family and their followers, Al-Mu’aradun. The National Defense Party was a rival to the Husseini family and their Arab Party. They opposed land sales to Jews and Jewish immigration, but were altogether more compromising with the British and the Zionists. The National Defense Party maintained a close relationship with Emir Abdullah of Transjordan, and was the only political group to formally accept partition with the Arab state linked to Transjordan and the 1939 MacDonald White Paper. The party ceased functioning in the mid-1940s.

National Guidance Committee

Palestinian leadership initiative that emerged during the 1970s inside the Occupied Territories and was formally established in November 1978, in part by the Arab Thought Forum, to oppose both the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords and Israel’s new Likud government. Members included Palestinians mayors, journalists, professionals, representatives of unions, and religious figures, and reflected new strategic thinking and a new generation of local leaders. The Committee soon served as a link between Palestinian anti-Israeli activities inside the territories and the exiled PLO. It was banned by Israel in 1982 and dissolved soon after.

National Reconciliation Document

see Prisoners’ Document

National Religious Party

see Mafdal

National Security

Palestinian security force responsible for internal and border security. It is currently organized into 10 battalions in the West Bank with directorates (e.g., training and finance) and sub-branches (e.g., military intelligence) and is comprised of an estimated 7,600 troops (effective ca. 3,700).

National Security Council

A 14-member body formed and headed by President Arafat on 11 September 2003 to unify and supervise all eight Palestinian security, military, and police forces to guarantee their unity and effectiveness. The Council was initially comprised of the President of the PA, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Interior Minister, a PLO Executive Committee member, a PLC member, the Chief of the Civil Police, the two Commanders of the West Bank and Gaza National Security Forces, the General Intelligence Service Chief, the Military Intelligence Service Chief, and security ad¬visors., President Mahmoud Abbas reconstructed (28 October 2005) and re-formed (8 April 2007) the Council via presidential degrees before dissolving it in June 2007 in the wake of Hamas’ takeover of Gaza.

National Union

(Hebrew: HaIhud HaLeumi) Coalition formed in 1999, which was initially comprised of the Israeli secular parties Herut (National Movement), Moledet (Homeland), and Tekuma (Rebirth), but was joined by Yisrael Beiteinu in 2001. The National Union opposes a Palestinian state and advocates “transfer.” In 2005, Yisrael Beiteinu left the Union to run on its own in the 2006 Knesset elections. In the 2009 elections, the National Union ran as an alliance of Moledet, HaTikva, Eretz Yisrael Yehudi and some of Tekuma which had split. The party won roughly 3.3% of the vote and four seats in the Knesset.

National water carrier

Water works project unilaterally undertaken by Israel to man¬age its water resources. The carrier has been fully operational since 1964 and was designed to bring water from the less arid north to arid areas in the south. It diverts water from the Jordan River above the northwest corner of Lake Tabarriya.

Neturei Karta

(Aramaic name for Guardians of the City) Group of religious Orthodox Jews, founded in Jerusalem in 1938, which have maintained traditional Jewish opposition to Zionism and thus refuse to recognize Zionist authority, including the "State of Israel", in any aspect of their lives. They argue that the entire concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to Jewish Law. Its followers do not participate in Israeli elections nor do they accept any social services or educational aid from the government.

New Israeli Shekel

(NIS) Israeli currency, which is also used in the WBGS. The NIS replaced the Shekel on 1 January 1986, and one NIS is divided into 100 agorot.

New Movement-Meretz

List formed for the 2009 Knesset elections following the merger of Hatnua HaHadasha (The New Movement) and Meretz. The list garnered 2.95% of the vote and won three seats in the elections. (See also Meretz)

NGO Transparency Bill

(Formally: “Transparency Requirements for Parties Supported by Foreign State Entities Bill 5766-2016”), Controversial bill that the Knesset passed into law on 11 July 2016, which states that any nonprofit organization that receives more than half of its funding from a foreign political entity must indicate as much in any publication or letter. Critics see the law unfairly targeting left-wing NGOs critical of Israel’s policies.


(Acronym for the Hebrew phrase Netzakh Yisrael Lo Yishaker – English: The Eternity [G-D] of Israel will not lie) Small Jewish underground group formed in Palestine during World War I to assist the British Army against the Turks. The group ceased to exist following the death of its co-founder and leader Aaron Aaronsohn

No-Man's Land

UN demilitarized buffer zones between Israeli occupied territory and Jordanian-controlled territory in Jerusalem and the Latrun Area and between Israeli and Jordanian demilitarized zones on Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem. The buffer zones were created by the 1948/1949 cease-fire agreements.

Non-aligned movement

(NAM) Coalition of developing countries formed in 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia to pave a neutral path be¬tween the US and the Soviet Bloc. The Non-Aligned Movement held its first conference in Belgrade in 1961 and confers every few years to coordinate positions on international political and economic issues. It currently consists of 118 member states of which Palestine is a full member. The 7th NAM Summit in New Delhi in 1983 resulted in the establishment of the Committee on Palestine, whose task it is to support the rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with international law and to work towards a just, durable, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East which will enable the Palestinian people to exercise their rights in a free and sovereign manner in their independent homeland.

Non-Paper on the Revival of a Dynamic of Peace in the Middle East

see French Proposal


Term referring to the normalization of diplomatic and economic relations with Israel. Most recently, it was an integral component of the peace plan of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz (see Saudi Peace Initiative), who suggested in mid-February 2002 that Arab countries normalize relations with Israel in exchange for full withdrawal from all Arab lands occupied since the 1967 war.

Northeastern Aquifer Basin (NEAB)

Trans-boundary aquifer in the north central part of the West Bank, covering the areas of Nablus and Jenin. The aquifer starts near Nablus and flows northwards towards the Gilboa Mountains, Jezreel, and the Bet Shean valley. The feeding and storage area lies completely in the West Bank with most recharge occurring in the mountains of the West Bank. In the Oslo II Agreement, the annual recharge of the NEAB was estimated to yield 145 mcm. Israel utilizes most of the aquifer through wells and springs located outside the West Bank


Prominent men, often from large clans, who wielded socioeconomic and political influence in Palestine, particularly prior to the outbreak of the First Intifada in 1987.

Nusseibeh-Ayalon Plan

Peace initiative launched by Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh and former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon in 2002 under the slogan “The People’s Voice” to win support from the Israeli and Palestinian public rather than the leadership. The plan is based on a six-point Statement of Principles that foresees Israeli withdrawal to the 4 June 1967 line, the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state on 100% of the occupied territory with "border modifications" based on an equitable and agreed-upon territorial exchange (1:1), relinquishment of the demand to realize the right of return in exchange for financial compensation for refugees and their having the opportunity to reside in the Palestinian state, and an open Jerusalem as capital of two states with Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods and Israeli sovereignty over Jewish neighborhoods and each side having guardianship - not sovereignty - over the respective holy sites.


Acquisition of territory by war which is inadmissible ac¬cording to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 (signed by Israel). The convention defines “Occupied Territory”, “Occupying Power”, and “Protected People” as a situation resulting from cross-border military action. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 is the international law that forbids settlement or destruction of property and defines other obligations of an occupying power.

Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (OETA)

see British Military Administration

Occupied Palestinian Territories

Those areas of Mandatory Palestine occupied by the State of Israel following the June War of 1967 (i.e., West Bank and Gaza Strip). They comprise approximately 22% of the land of Palestine, which was controlled by the British Mandate authorities prior to 1948.


A department of the UN Secretariat, which was established in December 1991 (UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182) to strengthen the UN’s response to complex emergencies, natural disasters, and humanitarian suffering. OCHA operates through a network of field offices and maintains regional support offices, including one in the occupied Palestinian territories.

One Israel

(Hebrew: Yisrael Ahad) A political alliance comprised of the Labor, Gesher and Meimad parties in Israel, which was formed to run jointly in the 1999 elections to make the Prime Minister-candidacy of Ehud Barak more acceptable to Israelis who would not vote for Labor. As a result of Barak's participation in the Camp David Summit in July 2000 Gesher pulled out of the alliance on 4 August 2000, thus bringing an end to One Israel.

One nation

(Hebrew: Am Ehad) Israeli social democratic party established in March 1999 as a splinter party from Labor to represent workers’ interests. One Nation was led by Histadrut chairman Amir Peretz, but merged back into the Labor Party in May 2005.

One Voice Campaign

Grassroots peace initiative which emerged in 2003 as an offshoot of the US-based Peace Works Foundation and was officially launched on 24 February 2004 by Mideast Director Mohammad Darawshe, an Israeli Arab, and Peace Works President Daniel Lubetzky, a US Jew. The initiative adopts a similar approach to the Nusseibeh-Ayalon People’s Voice campaign and aims to mobilize the silent moderate majority on the Israeli and Palestinian sides as well as in the wider Middle East. The One Voice Campaign calls for a three stage process: first, sig¬natures will be collected for a set of principles, second, a panel of experts will formulate an agreement in line with those principles, and third, the agreement will be presented to the leaders of the two sides. The campaign was endorsed by a broad range of organizations and people, including Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, Hollywood celebrities Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, World Jewish Congress chairman Edgar Bronfman, and American Arab Institute President James Zogby. IBM is one of the major sponsors of the One Voice Campaign

Open Bridges Policy

Policy introduced by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan after the 1967 War to provide Palestinians access to the Arab World via the two bridges across the Jordan River to Jordan. Access would facilitate the export of Palestinian products (competition for Israel), and the pas¬sage of workers to the Gulf States and elsewhere. The remittances of these workers to the OPT were essential for the market of Israeli goods. The policy also aimed at encouraging emigration, as Palestinians aged 20-40 were not permit¬ted to return for nine months and would lose their "right of residence" if they did not return within three years.

Operation 'Autumn Clouds'

Israeli military operation that began on 1 November 2006 with Israeli forces entering the Gaza Strip near Beit Hanoun and lasted until 8 November 2006 when they began withdrawing. During the operation, which was launched under the pretext of stopping Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel, over 50 Palestinians were killed and 200 were wounded. Operation ‘Autumn Clouds’ was preceded by Operation ‘Summer Rains’.

Operation 'Cast Lead'

Israel military operation that began on 28 December 2008 allegedly in response to the latest series of Hamas rocket attacks against southern Israel; however, the operation was planned six months earlier by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The Israeli attack involved aerial bombings, including the use of phosphorus bombs, and ground invasions. Operation ‘Cast Lead’ left approximately 1,300 Palestinians dead and over 4,000 wounded.

Operation 'Days of Penitence'

Israeli military operation in the northern Gaza Strip, which lasted from 30 September to 16 October 2004. Operation ‘Days of Penitence’ focused on Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia, and Jabalia Refugee Camp, from which Qassam rockets were launched on Sderot in the Negev and Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. The operation resulted in the deaths of over 130 Palestinians, at least 42 of whom were civilians, and five Israelis.

Operation 'Defensive Shield'

Israeli reinvasion of West Bank cities during the Al-Aqsa Intifada (29 March–3 May 2002), which left at least 500 Palestinians dead and over 1,500 injured, most of the population under prolonged curfews, the PA infrastructure in ruins, and caused unprecedented damage to private and public property. It was Israel’s largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 War.

Operation 'Determined Path'

Israeli military operation, which began on 22 June 2002, to reach some of the unachieved objectives set forth for Operation ‘Defensive Shield’, particularly in the northern West Bank.

Operation 'Entebbe'

(initially: Operation ‘Thunderbolt’; later: Operation ‘Yonatan’ after the raid commander, Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, who died during the operation) Israeli rescue of 103 hostages from an Air France plane hijacked en route to France from Israel on 27 June 1976 and flown via Benghazi, Libya, to Entebbe, Uganda, where the 258 non-Israeli passengers were released. The hijackers, two from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - External Operations (PFLP-EO) and two from the German "Revolutionäre Zellen", demanded the release of 40 Palestinians held in Israel and 13 other detainees in prisons in Kenya, France, Switzerland, and Germany. In response, Israel airlifted several IDF units to Uganda, which, on the night of 3-4 July 1973, executed a raid, in which seven hijackers, one soldier, and three hostages were killed. Various Arab countries and groups, the Communist Bloc, and many African countries condemned Entebbe Operation as an act of piracy, while Western countries praised it.

Operation 'Grapes of Wrath'

Major Israeli attack on Lebanon launched in April 1996 in retaliation to recent Hizbullah attacks. Operation ‘Grapes of Wrath’ left over 150 civilians dead.

Operation 'Hot Winter'

Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip from 29 February-3 March 2008 in response to Qassam rocket attacks. At least 112 Palestinians and three Israelis were killed, and more than 150 Palestinians and seven Israelis were injured. There was widespread condemnation of Israel's "disproportionate use of force" with the US calling on Israel to exercise caution to avoid the loss of innocent life, and the EU urging Israel to halt activities that endanger civilians.

Operation 'Justified Vengeance'

(also: Dagan Plan after General (retired) Meir Dagan, director of Mossad) Contingency plan presented by IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz to the Sharon government in July 2001 under the title "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces”, which aimed to reoccupy the West Bank and possibly the Gaza Strip, destroy the PA, and put President Arafat “out of the game”.

Operation 'Litani'

Operation launched by Israel in March 1978 in retaliation to a PLO commando attack on a bus near Haifa four days earlier. Operation ‘Litani’ was a full-scale invasion of Lebanon designed to push PLO positions away from the border, bolster the power of the SLA, and seize a security belt south of the Litani River. The operation resulted in thousands of casualties.

Operation 'Noah's Ark'

Israeli military action on 3 January 2002 in which navy and air forces intercepted the Karine A freighter in the Red Sea (see Karine A). The ship was transporting some 50 tons of Iranian and Russian-made weapons, including Katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles. The crew, the captain (PA Coastal Police officer and Fateh member Omar Akawi) and 12 others, surrendered without a fight. The Karine A was allegedly bound for Gaza.

Operation 'Peace for Galilee'

Israeli invasion of Leba¬non in 1982, including a two-month siege and bombardment of Beirut, that lasted until PLO forces agreed to leave Lebanon. Some 18,000 people were reported killed and 30,000 injured, the vast majority of whom were civilians. Israeli forces occupied Beirut until July 1983 when they withdrew to the ‘security zone’.

Operation 'Pillar of Cloud'

(Also: Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’) Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip that began on 14 Nov. 2012 with the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, chief of Hamas’ military wing. Presented by Israeli officials as an act of self defense (to end to the rocket attacks coming from Gaza), the operation was widely seen as a show of force by PM Netanyahu, seeking reelection in Jan. 2013, and a way to gather support against the vote of an upgrading of Palestine status at the UNGA. A cease-fire brokered by Egypt put an end to eight days of intense Israeli bombardments, which left more than 150 Palestinians dead.

Operation 'Protective Edge'

Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip that began on 8 July 2014 in response to rocket fire from Gaza, which was triggered by another Israeli operation in the West Bank (‘Brother’s Keeper’ - launched following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli settlers). On 17 July, Israeli began a ground invasion of Gaza to destroy the tunnel system. On 26 Aug., Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended cease-fire putting an end to seven weeks of unprecedented Israeli bombardments, which left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead and more than 11,100 wounded, and 520,000 Gazans displaced.

Operation 'Rainbow'

Israeli military operation in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip from 18-23 May 2004 to clear ‘terrorist’ infrastructure, destroy smuggling tunnels, and kill activists. Operation ‘Rainbow’ followed the deaths of 13 Israeli soldiers in Palestinian militant attacks and left over 60 Palestinian dead, including many civilians.

Operation 'Solomon'

Israeli airlift in 1991 which brought some 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in a single day.

Operation 'Spring of Youth'

Sub-operation of the larger ‘Wrath of God’ operation (see below). The raid on Lebanon by Israeli Sayeret Matkal elite commandos and the Mossad, led by then unit-commander Ehud Barak, took place on 9-10 April 1973 and targeted PLO bases in Beirut and Sidon in retaliation for the 1972 Munich attack against the Israeli Olympic team. The perpetrators arrived at Lebanese beaches in patrol boats and were then driven to their targets by Mossad agents. During the operation, the main target of which main was two seven-story buildings in West Beirut (headquarters and residence of the PLO leaders), three PLO leaders (Kamal Nasser, Kamal Adwan, and Mohammed An-Najjar) were killed as well as other PLO staff, Lebanese security forces, and several civilians.

Operation 'Summer Rains'

Military operation launched on 28 June 2006 in response to a Hamas raid three days earlier near the Kerem Shalom border crossing of the Gaza Strip. During the operation, two Israeli soldiers were killed and Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. For the release of Shalit, Hamas demanded that all Palestinian women and prisoners under-18 be freed from Israeli jails. The stated goals of Operation 'Summer Rains' were the release of Corporal Shalit and the prevention of future Qassam rocket attacks into Israel. The operation consisted of several sub-operations and lasted until October 2006. Israeli attacks consisted of airstrikes, including the bombing of the Gazan power plant, and ground offensives. Operation 'Summer Rains' was widely condemned for its “disproportionate use of force” and was followed by Operation 'Autumn Clouds' in November 2006.

Operation 'Wrath of God'

(also: Operation ‘Bayonet’) Israeli undercover operation launched by then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in autumn of 1972 against the Black September perpetrators of the 1972 Munich massacre. The military action consisted of several operations, all of which were intended to assassinate some 20-35 Black September and PLO members and to strike fear into Palestinian militants. Operations included the killing of a PLO Representative in Italy, Wael Zuaiter (October 1972), a PLO Representative in France, Mahmoud Hamshari (December 1972), a Fateh representative in Cyprus, Hussein Al-Bashir (January 1973) and his replacement Ziad Muchasi (April 1973), Law professor Basil Al-Kubaisi (April 1973), Black September Director of Operations in France, Mohammad Boudia (June 1973), and Ali Hassan Salameh (January 1979), who was considered by Israel the mastermind of Munich. Several other assassinations and assassination attempts have been attributed to the Wrath of God campaign, although doubt exists as to whether Mossad was behind them. Operation 'Spring of Youth' in April 1973 (see Operation 'Spring of Youth') was a sub-operation of Operation 'Wrath of God'.

Or commission

Israeli investigation commission established by the Israeli government to examine the events and clashes that took place in the Arab sectors of Israel during the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in October 2000 and left 13 Israeli-Arabs dead. The commission is named after the commission’s chairman, Israeli High Court Judge Theodore Or. The findings, which were released in September 2003, criticized police for being unprepared for the riots and for using excessive force to disperse protestors. Eight policemen were reprimanded, and the commission recommended that then-Internal Security Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami be removed from his post. The Commission also found that Arab citizens suffer discrimination in Israel and that the state must act against this. A year after the release of the report, Theodore Or publicly attacked the government for failing to implement its recommendations.

Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)

Organization was created in 1969 following the arson attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was considered an attack on the whole of Muslim world, to coordinate protection of the Holy Places of Islam, and to support the struggle of the Palestinian people in recovering their rights and freeing their land. The OIC also has political, cultural, economic, and social objectives and is comprised of 54 members, including Palestine, which has been a full member since 1969. The OIC, whose head¬quarters is in Jeddah, has observer status at the UN.

Orient House

Main political address of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the PLO's unofficial representation in the city until its closure in 2001. The Orient House is property of the Husseini family, and was built in 1897. It is subject to an Israeli law of December 1994 which bans any political PLO activity in the city not approved by the Israeli government. Although Israel generally pursues a policy of non-interference with Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, it regularly threatened the Orient House with full or partial closure. On 10 August 2001, Israeli troops stormed and raid the building, confiscating computers, data, files, and other materials, and ordered it closed afterwards.

Oslo (Peace Process)

Series of peace talks between PLO members and Israeli officials that began with secret negotiations in Oslo, Norway and led to the Declaration of Principles in September 1993. The talks outlined the path for further bilateral negotiations to bring about a permanent solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Parts of the process include the Gaza-Jericho Autonomy Agreement (1994) and the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (1995).

Oslo 1 agreement

see Gaza-Jericho Agreement

Oslo II Agreement

see Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Ottoman Empire

Empire founded around 1300 by Sultan Othman I and governed by the Turkish sultans until 1917. The Ottoman Empire peaked in the mid-16th Century, when it controlled large portions of Asia, the Middle East, including Palestine, and most of southeast Europe. In December 1917, Ottoman forces capitulated in Jerusalem to the allied forces led by General Allenby, and on 30 December 1918 the Turkish government signed an armistice, effectively ending the Ottoman Empire. It was replaced by the modern state of Turkey and various other states in the Middle East, which were initially under the control of European colonial powers.


(also: settlement outposts) Structures, often uninhabited containers or a few mobile homes, erected by the settler movement without official recognition on the part of the Israeli government. Outposts often serve as precursors to new settlements or settlement expansion and are discreetly funded by the Israeli government. (See Sasson Report).

The Alternative

Electoral alliance, consisting of the DFLP, PPP, and FIDA, for the January 2006 PLC elections. The alliance was headed by Qais Abdul Karim (Abu Leila), and called for immediate permanent status negotiations with Israel and insisted on Palestinian refugees' right of return. Additionally, the Alternative considered fighting unemployment and poverty a top priority, advocated full equality for women and abolishment of any legislation contradicting the principle of equality. They captured 2.92% of the 2006 vote and won two of the Council's 132 seats. The alliance disbanded in early 2007.

The Hague hearings

Advisory hearings by the International Court of Justice, initiated by UN General Assembly Resolution ES 10/14 of 8 December 2003 and based in The Hague, into the legality of the separation barrier being constructed by Israel on the West Bank. Numerous countries, including Jordan, Belize and Cuba, gave evidence in support of the Palestinian claims that the barrier is a serious infringement of their rights and is causing severe hard¬ship. Israel refused to attend the hearings, and the US and EU both argued that the court had no jurisdiction in this case. The public hearings were held on 23-25 February 2004, and in July 2004, the court ruled that the separation barrier is “contrary to international law”, and stated that Israel must cease construction of the barrier, dismantle the parts of the barrier that were built inside the West Bank, revoke the orders issued relating to its construction, and compensate the Palestinians who suffered losses as a result of the barrier.


palestine jerusalem