A Style Sheet on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
by: J. Martin Bailey
The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Lexicon
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Paramilitary group loyal to Yasir Arafat’s Fatah organization; founded after the eruption of the second intifada on Sept. 28, 2000, the day Ariel Sharon, then Israel’s right-wing opposition leader, went to Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque to press his claim of Israeli sovereignty over Islam’s third holiest site. See: Fatah.
Al Haram al Sherif.
English: the Noble Sanctuary. Arabic name for the plaza in
“going up.” Refers
to the immigration of Jews to
Al-Jazeera (or Al-Jazira)
Satellite Channel. Founded in
Allah. Arabic for God. Not exclusively the God of Muslims, since Arabic-speaking Christians use the same term. See: God.
Annexation, Annexed Territories. Following the 1967 war,
against, or persecution of, Semitic people. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term
was first used with specific reference to Jews in the 1880s, although for
hundreds of years and in many countries Jews and Arabs, who are also Semites,
have been denied full rights as citizens and have suffered economic
discrimination, social ostracism, and persecution. Historically, anti-Semitism
toward Jews has been especially harsh in predominantly Christian nations in
Arab, Arabic, Arabians. An Arab is a person whose native tongue is Arabic,
generally one who comes from the
Confederation of Arab states founded
in 1945. Membership comprises 22 Arab states and includes
Areas A, B, C.
The 1995 Oslo II Agreement
divided the Palestinian territories, excluding East Jerusalem, into three
zones: Area A, comprising disconnected districts, includes 17.2 percent of the
West Bank and Gaza Strip and is under the full security and civil control of
the Palestinian Authority. Area B, 23.8 percent, is under Israeli security
control, while the Palestinian Authority is responsible for some social and
civil services. Area C, approximately 59 percent, is under full Israeli
occupation. The three areas were theoretically a first step in
Ashkenazi (plural, Ashkenazim).
As a result of
Bypass Roads. Paved
highways built by
A barrier built by the Israeli
Defense Forces or Border Police to limit the movement of Palestinians who lack
necessary permits. Normally, Israeli citizens and foreigners move through the
checkpoints without being stopped. Palestinians with permits frequently
experience extreme delays and humiliation at these barriers. On occasions,
deaths have occurred at checkpoints when individuals, including pregnant women
in labor, have been unable to reach hospitals. Often farm produce, especially
Christian Zionism. For more than a century, some evangelical Christians have supported the
development of a Jewish commonwealth in the belief that the Messiah will return
when Jews are restored to the
The religion practiced by
Christians, the followers of Jesus who was born and lived as a Jew in what is now
Members of Christian congregations in the Holy Land are sometimes called the “Living Stones” as a reminder that the churches in the area are more than museums; they are the centers of dynamic and living communities of faith that trace their history to Pentecost. Since 1948, the Palestinian Christian community has dropped from approximately 18 percent to 1.9 percent. [www.Al-bushra.org; www.mecchurches.org; www.Sabeel.org; www.bethlehem-mediacenter.org]
Citizenship, Nationality. An important distinction should be made between citizenship and nationality in Israel. While Israeli Jews and non-Jews (most being Palestinian Arabs) are citizens with the right to vote, Israel distinguishes between citizens who are Jewish nationals and those who are not. In 1952, Israel enacted the Citizenship/Jewish Nationality Law, granting all Jews in the world, and only Jews, the status both of Israeli citizenship and Jewish nationality, meaning that, as soon as they immigrate to Israel, they are automatically eligible for significant rights and benefits provided by the state or by its semi-governmental organizations—rights and benefits denied to non-Jewish nationals, whose families may have lived on the soil for generations. See: Aliyah.
Closed Military Zones.
Areas in the
occupied territories declared by the Israel Defense Forces off-limits to
unauthorized persons. These zones
need not be of military significance; at times, Israeli officials abort
peaceful demonstrations by temporarily designating a site a closed military
area. [www.arij.org] See: IDF;
Closure, Siege, Blockade. Terms used to describe official Israeli efforts to control the movement of Palestinians. Closure was instituted in March 1993 to deny Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank, except those with permits, entry into Israel and Greater Jerusalem. More recently, roadblocks have restricted movement between cities and towns within the occupied territories; some Palestinian farmers are even unable to reach their fields because of these “internal checkpoints.” Students, medical doctors, and patients often find it impossible to reach colleges, universities, and hospitals. In August 2001, The New York Times reported that Israel had established 97 “armed blockades” in the West Bank and 32 in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians refer to the effect of this policy as a siege. Some news media use the term blockade. [www.btselem.org] See: Checkpoint; Collective Punishment.
Collective Punishment. Practice of punishing entire families, communities or groups for the act of an individual. Collective punishment, as practiced by Israel, takes the form of sealing or demolishing Palestinian homes, imposing curfews, erecting roadblocks, confiscating personal property, uprooting olive and other fruit trees (over 34,600 between Sept. 2000 and Feb. 2002), destroying water systems, and closing schools, colleges, markets, roads, and other gathering places. Collective punishment is prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See: Geneva Conventions.
Colonies. Term used by Palestinians and others for settlements established by the Israeli government in the occupied territories. See: Settlements.
Crusades. In 1095, Pope Urban II called on Christians of Europe to invade the Middle East for a holy war against the “infidel Mohammedans.” In 1099, a European expedition known as the First Crusade “liberated” Jerusalem, massacring 40,000 of its citizens. This crusade was followed by six others over the next 200 years. In 1187, the Muslim general Saladin (also Salahudin or Salah-al-Din) retook Jerusalem without bloodshed. The barbarity of the Western crusaders is a vivid memory for the peoples of the Middle East, many of whom see the influx of European Jews into Palestine in 1948 as yet another crusade.
Curfew. A decree confining people inside their homes. The Israel Defense Forces have kept Palestinian cities and towns under curfews, some for weeks at a time, resulting in serious food shortages and the denial of urgent medical services. As a form of collective punishment, curfews are contrary to the Geneva Conventions. [www.phrmg.org] See: Geneva Conventions.
first used by Sara M. Roy to describe the negative economic impact of Israel’s
occupation on Palestinian cities and towns. From 1992 to 1996, for example,
average unemployment in the occupied territories increased from 3 to 28
percent, and per capita GNP fell 37 percent. By the year 2002, poverty and
Detention: Administrative and Juvenile. Administrative detention is detention without charge or trial, authorized by administrative order rather than by judicial decree. It is allowed by international law within rigid limitations. B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, charges that Israel’s practice of administrative detention violates these limitations. Contrary to article 49 of the Geneva Convention, e.g., Israel often holds Palestinians for prolonged periods of time without trying them and without informing them of the suspicions against them. Israeli military order 132 also allows for the arrest and detention of Palestinian children from 14 to 17 years of age, who are confined with adult prisoners and criminal convicts. This practice contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention and the U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty. From Sept. 2000 to Feb. 2002, 1,000 Palestinians from inside the green line have been detained, and 1,850 (including 600-plus children) from Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip. B’Tselem charges that 85 percent of detainees are tortured during interrogations. [www.btselem.org] See: Geneva Conventions.
Dimona. Site in the Negev Desert where Israel manufactures nuclear weapons. In his book “The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy,” investigative reporter Seymour Hersh writes: “By the mid-1980s, the technicians at Dimona had manufactured hundreds of low-yield neutron warheads capable of destroying large numbers of enemy troops with minimal property damage. The size and sophistication of Israel’s arsenal allows men such as Ariel Sharon to dream of redrawing the map of the Middle East aided by the implicit threat of nuclear force.” Israel has refused to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Disputed Territories, Administered Territories. Terms used by Israel and sometimes the United States to soften or intentionally confuse the status of areas occupied by Israel in 1967. Use “occupied territories.” See: Geneva Conventions; Occupied Territories; Judea and Samaria.
Divided City, Undivided City.
Refers to urban areas,
Druze, Druse. Members of a secretive religious
group which has roots in Christianity and Islam. There are Druze in northern
Embassy, Consulates, Christian
constituent group of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Founded in 1959, it marks January 1965 as the
beginning of its armed struggle to free
Foreign Aid to
Foreign Aid to
Fundamentalist. Term used by religious scholars to designate a segment of any religious community that has adopted a narrow focus on their tradition. In recent decades, the term has become pejorative when used to caricature the policies or practices of those who narrowly employ the fundamentals of their faith to promote a radical political agenda. Properly used, a fundamentalist is an orthodox traditionalist of a particular faith group. When the term is misused, fundamentalist conveys a political style often associated with violence; in this usage, a fundamentalist is blamed for using sacred texts to justify his or her agenda. The term is legitimate in academic discourse, but has become imprecise in wider discourse. Extremist, radical, or fanatic are more accurate terms. See: Terrorism.
Following the failure of the
God. Supreme Being worshipped by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and known in Arabic as Allah and in Hebrew as G-d or YHWH. Arabic-speaking Christians and Muslims both use the term Allah. Devout Jews do not pronounce the ineffably sacred name of God, Yahweh, or Jehovah, thus the Hebrew spellings above.
Line drawn up
by the 1949
(Acronym for Islamic Resistance
Movement). Established in 1987 as an outgrowth of the Muslim
political movement and party, active mainly in
Practice of forcibly removing
families from their homes and destroying their dwellings. The government of
Sometimes used by the Western
media to describe shortages of medical supplies, food, and water in the
IDF (Israel Defense Forces). The conscripted army of the state of
Intifada (or Intifadah). Arabic word meaning “a shaking off,” used as the designation of an uprising among Palestinians from 1987 until 1993. The uprising that was touched off by Ariel Sharon’s visit with 1,000 troops to Al Haram al Sherif on September 28, 2000, is known as the Al Aqsa, or second, intifada, because Muslim youth considered themselves to be defending the mosque located on Al Haram al Sherif. During the six years of the first intifada, approximately 1,500 Palestinians and 35 Israelis were killed; during the first year and a half of the second intifada, 1,000-plus Palestinians and 200-plus Israelis have been killed. [www.electronicintifada.net; www,birzeit.edu] See: Al Aqsa Martyrs Bridages.
Islam, Islamic, Islamist. The religion practiced by Muslims who believe in One, Unique and Incomparable God, Creator of the universe. They acknowledge a chain of prophets, beginning with Adam and including Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, and the final prophet, Muhammad. One of three monotheistic religions that trace their roots to Abraham, the others being Judaism and Christianity. The three major groups within Islam are the Sunnis, Shi’a, and Alawites. The Sunni branch accounts for 90 percent of the one billion Muslims in the world and includes Wahabi Islam, which originated in Saudi Arabia in the 19th century. Alawites are found in Syria, and the largest concentration of Shi’a is in Iran. Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the U.S. and throughout the world. Islamic is the generally appropriate adjective, as in Islamic architecture. Islamist is often used to refer to individuals or groups with political concerns. [www.cair-net, org;www.globalministries.org].
Islamic Jihad. Palestinian organization formed in mid- 1980s by Fathi Shiqaqi and Abdulaziz Odeh. Advocates armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine. See: Jihad.
Israel, Israelis, Israelites. The modern nation established in 1948, Israel is sometimes referred to as the Jewish State, although about 18 percent of the population is Arab. The citizens of Israel are Israelis; Israeli can be used as an adjective to describe a person, place, or thing (example: the Israeli city, Tel Aviv). The Israelites were a biblical people among the descendants of Abraham. Historically, the term Israel referred to the ancient Jewish kingdoms and sometimes to the Jewish people as a whole. [www.info.gov.il/eng] See: Jewish State.
Israeli Arabs. Arabic-speaking citizens of Israel. In 2001, there were an estimated one million Israeli Arabs, the vast majority of whom identify themselves as Palestinians. Most Arab families in Israel have resided in the area since before the state’s formation in 1948. See: Citizenship, Nationality.
Jerusalem (including East Jerusalem). The English word designating the city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Most of the sacred sites of the three religions are in the walled Old City, which comprises Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian Quarters. Although claimed by Israel as its capital, Jerusalem is not recognized as such by the United States or most other nations. The Knesset and principal government offices are located in West Jerusalem. Although a part of a single municipality since 1967, East Jerusalem, under international law, is considered part of the occupied territories. In 1967, Israel annexed parts of the West Bank and unilaterally extended the boundaries of the city from 70 sq. miles to over 900 sq. miles. The Hebrew name is Yerushalayim and the Arabic is Al-Quds. [www.Gush-Shalom.org/Jerusalem; www.jerusalem.muni.il; www.acj.org] See: East Jerusalem; Divided, Undivided City.
Jewish National Fund. A subordinate body of the World Zionist Organization, the J.N.F. entered into a “covenant” in 1961 with the government of Israel. Today, the J.N.F. in the U.S. is a tax-exempt corporation that raises millions of dollars annually for the “afforestation, reclamation, and development“ of the land of Israel, including the lands occupied by Israel. To date, the J.N.F. owns 93% of the land inside Israel, most of which was confiscated from Palestinians. By law, non-Jews cannot own, reside, or work on land acquired by the Jewish National Fund.
Jewish Neighborhoods or Jerusalem Neighborhoods.
A term sometimes used as a
euphemism for settlements, especially those located within the extended borders
of Jerusalem. See:
Jewish State. Occasionally used as a synonym for Israel, especially when emphasizing the official nature of Israel’s monolithic religious character. “The Jewish State” is also the English translation of the 1886 book “Der Judenstaat” by Theodor Herzl, an Austrian-Jewish writer and founder of the World Zionist Organization. The more accurate translation of the German is “The Jews’ State.” The distinction is important: “Jewish” refers to the culture of the state, as reflected by its majority; in this sense, Israel is a Jewish country, as the United States may be said to be a Christian one. If Herzl had this sense in mind, he would have used the German “Der Judische Staat.” But he used the possessive “Der Judenstaat,” meaning it was to be a state owned by all Jews, no matter where in the world they lived. According to Herzl, the Arabs would be expelled and an exclusive state belonging to Jews would result. See: Aliyah; Israel; Zionism.
Jews. Followers of the religion known as Judaism, although designation includes “secular” as well as “cultural” Jews. [www.ou.org/about/judaism2; www.ajc.org] See: Judaism.
Jihad. Incorrectly translated “holy war,” jihad is more precisely a “striving,” or “struggle” of a Muslim to keep the faith, to achieve self-control or personal development, or to improve the quality of life in society. This jihad, called the “greater jihad,” has spiritual implications for devout Muslims, and is a fairly common name given to children born in a time of struggle. The Qur’an also speaks of a jihad of arms, the “smaller jihad,” which permits fighting as a means of self-protection, not unlike what Christians call a “just war,” which is fought against tyranny or oppression. There is no such thing as “holy war” in Islam; the Arabic term harb muqaddasa, which translates holy war, cannot be found in the Qur’an or in the sayings of the Prophet known as the Hadith. The word was adopted by a political movement, the Islamic Jihad. See: Islamic Jihad.
The religion practiced by Jews.
A kibbutz (plural, kibbutzim) is
an Israeli community, originally agricultural but increasingly industrial, in
which most property is collectively owned. Early in the development of
Knesset. Israeli parliament and the building in which it meets. The Knesset, a unicameral legislature, functions in a modified parliamentary system, with a separate national election for the Prime Minister who is both head of government and a member of the Knesset. The President, also elected separately, serves as the mostly ceremonial head of state. The two major parties are the relatively liberal Labor Party and the more conservative Likud Party. When, as at present, no party has a majority in the 120-member Knesset, some of the numerous small, special interest parties — excluding the Arab ones — are invited to form a coalition government, thus giving these parties a disproportionate influence. [www.Knessetgov.il/main/eng].
Koran. See: Qur’an.
Law of Return, Right of Return. In 1950, the Israeli Knesset adopted the Law of Return
giving any Jew in the world the right to move to and settle in
MK. Member of the Knesset. An elected representative in the Israeli parliament, which is known as the Knesset. [www.info.gov.il] See: Knesset.
Madrasa. Arabic word for a school that is often, but not necessarily, involved in the teaching of religion.
Martyr (in Arabic, Shadid). In religious terms, a witness to one’s faith, including one who witnesses with his or her death (martyrdom). In political terms, one who dies in the struggle for freedom and is honored as a hero. See: Suicide Bomber.
of worship, commonly including a minaret from which the call to prayer is
announced or broadcast. Generally dominated by a room facing
the religion of Islam. Muslim
(plural, Muslims in English, Muslimun in Arabic) is
the preferred spelling (do not use Moslem) as a more accurate transliteration
of the Arab word. Do not use Mohammedan; Muslims do not consider themselves
disciples of Muhammad in the sense that Christians consider themselves
disciples of Jesus, and Muhammad is not part of the deity. There are 1.2
billion Muslims worldwide, of whom an estimated 6 million live in the
Nakba (also Naqbaa or Nakbah) “The Catastrophe.” Al Nakba is the term used by Palestinians for the impact on them and their national aspirations of what Israelis call their War of Independence, 1947-48. 700,000 Palestinians became refugees and 419 villages were destroyed. The Nakba is marked by ceremonies each year on May 15. The Israeli analyst Meron Benvenisti has used words like “ethnic cleansing” to describe the actions of Israeli troops in more than 30 documented massacres.
Neutral Broker, Honest Broker. Avoid using these terms to describe the role claimed
Territories occupied by
building used by the Palestinian Authority in
Orthodox, Orthodox Christians, Orthodox Jews. The word orthodox, when applied to religious groups such as Christians and Jews, signifies an historic theological position. For some, the word signifies theological or liturgical purity. When used with a capital letter, Orthodox designates particular groups, such as the Greek Orthodox Church or Orthodox Judaism. See: Fundamentalist.
P.A., P.N.A. The
Palestinian Authority or Palestinian National Authority designate
the elected governmental officials and agencies authorized under the Oslo
Accords. Yasir Arafat was elected president of the
The Palestinian Legislative
Council of 88 members was elected on
The Palestine Liberation
Organization was established in May 1964 when the Arab League authorized a body
to represent stateless Palestinians. Yasir Arafat
became the chairman in 1969. It was recognized by the United Nations in 1974 as
the representative of the Palestinian people and gained a role as a U.N.
observer in that year. The same year, an Arab summit recognized the P.L.O. as
the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. In 1993,
The Palestine National Council
is the legislative body of the P.L.O.; its 669 members represent Palestinians
worldwide and elect an Executive Committee of 18 members. Among the major
actions of the P.N.C. were the signing of the
Palestine National Charter in 1964, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence
Peace Organizations. Organizations with activist peace and/or human rights agenda have developed among Israelis and Palestinians. Some collaboration, including demonstrations, brings both groups together. Israeli peace groups include: B’Tselem [www.btselem-.org], Bat Shalom [www.batshalom.org], Coalition of Women for Peace [www.coalitionofwomen-4peace.org] Gush Shalom [www.gush-shalom.org-/english], Peace Now [www.peace-now.org.il/english], Rabbis for Human Rights [www.rabbishr.org], Women in Black and Yesh Gvul [www.yesh-gvul.org/English]. Palestinian groups include: Al Haq [www.alhaq.org], Palestinian Center for Human Rights [www.pchrgaza.org], Bir Zeit Human Rights Action Project [www.birzeit-edu/hrap], Addameer [www.addameer.org], International Center of Bethlehem [www.annadwa.org], Palestine Human Rights Information Center [www.ariga.com/human-rights], Law [www.LawSociety.org], Rapprochment Center [www.rapprochement.org], Sabeel Liberation Theology Movement [www.sabeel.org], and the Wi’am Conflict Resolution Center [www.planet.edu-/~alaslah].
Documents issued by Israeli
authorities authorizing everyday acts such as travel by residents of the West
Bank and Gaza into Israel for work or transit, building, and the importing and
exporting of goods. Residents of the
Philistine, Filistin, Filistini.
The Philistines are an ancient
people who, in biblical times, were rivals of the Israelites. Filistin is
pronounced the same way, but is the Arabic word for
Popular Front for the Liberation of
Qur’an. Preferred spelling (over Koran) for the Islamic scriptures made up of 114 suras (chapters) that are divided into ayas (verses). The Arabic word means “recitation.” Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad received the Qur’an in a series of revelations from God through the angel Gabriel. See: Islam; Muslim.
Ramadan. The ninth month in the Arab calendar, considered holy by Muslims because it was during that month that the first revelations of what became the Qur’an were received by the Prophet Muhammad in 610. Muslims mark the month of Ramadan with fasting and discipline of character during daylight hours and break the fast after sunset with a special meal. The period ends with a celebration, the Eid al Fitr, which lasts several days. Because the Arab calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan begins about eleven days earlier each year. [www.cair-net.org] See: Islam; Muslim.
Refugees. Individuals who flee from or are driven from their homes, especially in time of war, and are unable to return. The United Nations defines a Palestinian refugee as a person “whose normal residence was Palestine for a minimum of two years preceding the conflict in 1948, and who, as a result of this conflict, lost both his home and his means of livelihood and took refuge in 1948 in one of the countries where the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (U.N.R.W.A.) provides relief. Refugees within this definition and the direct descendants of such refugees are eligible for Agency assistance” under certain circumstances. A total of 757,000 refugees were estimated in 1948 and several hundred thousand additional persons became refugees in 1967. By 1999, the U.N. had registered 3.5 million refugees living in camps or assimilated into the populations in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. In 1948, the United Nations recognized the right of all refugees to return to their homes (Resolution 194). Today, 33 percent of all Palestinian refugees live within 59 camps maintained by U.N.R.W.A. [www.badil.org-/Refugees] See: Law of Return , Right of Return.
“Relative Calm”, “Comparative Quiet”. Terms used at times by the media to describe periods when few, if any Israelis are killed, even though, during the same periods, more than a few Palestinians were killed. Reporters should reflect the reality of the situation on both sides.
Rubber-Coated Steel Bullets. This is more accurate than “rubber bullets.” It is important to distinguish live fire from rubber-coated steel bullets. Often the Israeli army will use the latter when confronting Palestinian stone throwers. The mainstream media customarily refers to these bullets as “rubber-coated,” giving the impression they are more humane. In fact, they are steel bullets with a thin rubber coating and they can cause more extensive damage than uncoated bullets when lodged in a person’s head or abdomen, particularly a young person’s. The U.S. government has criticized the Israeli government for their use and misuse. Reporters and editors should also be careful to use equivalent terms for both sides in the conflict. Use “killed” rather than “murdered.” Use names for both Israelis and Palestinians when reporting persons killed and injured. [www.btselem.org/files/ERubber.rtf] See: IDF.
Salahadin Brigade. Named for Muslim general who defeated the Crusaders. Military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, composed of members of Hamas and Yasir Arafats’s Fatah organization. See: Fatah, Hamas, Crusades.
Security Measures. Term often used by Israel to justify such acts as shelling Palestinian cities and villages, bulldozing homes, uprooting olive and fruit trees, preventing foodstuff and medical supplies from entering besieged areas, and destroying sources of water. Such acts do not promote security, and often are provocative. A better term would be punitive measures.
Semitic Peoples. Members of ethnic and religious groups who by tradition are believed to be descendants from Noah’s son Shem (or Sem). Both Jews and Arabs are of Semitic origin. Numerous Semitic languages are used in the region.
Sephardim, Mizrahim. See: Ashkenazi, Jews.
Settlements. Originally any new Jewish development in Israel, but now more frequently used to describe the ring of residential communities constructed around Jerusalem and scattered in strategic areas throughout the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. Israelis refer to those within the green line as “Jerusalem neighborhoods,” but this is contested by Palestinians and others who note that the status of East Jerusalem is not yet resolved. Most settlements were constructed on confiscated Arab land and at least partially at the expense of the Israeli government. Sometimes called “colonies” these settlements, built for Jews only, often are massive apartment blocks or suburban homes, and are a source of international controversy and Arab anger. Since the Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993, 19,000 new housing units were added, including 3,000 under Prime Minister Ehud Barak. In all, there are now 194 settlements in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and 18 in the Gaza Strip. [www.ARIJ.org; www.fmep.org/home.html; www.gush- shalom.org] See: Geneva Conventions.
Settlers. Jews who have chosen to live in subsidized homes and communities known as settlements, many within commuting distance from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. By August 2000, there were 400,000 settlers living in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Gaza. The estimated annual increase of settlers (natural growth and new additions) is 8 percent. Although the first settlers, in the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, were Laborites and generally secular, later settlers near Jerusalem, and in Hebron, were more likely to be Ultra-Orthodox and highly ideological. The Hebrew words for settler, mityashev or mitnachel, can mean either a dweller or the possessor of an inheritance. [www.yesha.org.il] See: Settlements.
Shabbat. Jewish day of worship, beginning at sundown on Friday and continuing until sundown Saturday.
Special Relationship. The frequently cited “special relationship” between the United States and Israel originated with President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy inherited tense relations with Egypt’s Nasser, who appeared to favor the Soviet Union. With strife in Vietnam creating anxieties about Communist expansion, Washington was eager for a dependable ally in the Middle East. Since then, the United States, abetted by a strong pro-Israel lobby, has given enormous military and economic aid to Israel, along with diplomatic assistance by vetoing over 40 U.N. resolutions critical of Israel. See: Foreign Aid to Israel.
Suicide Bomber. Often used by the Western media to describe a Palestinian who detonates explosives strapped to his or her body. Such a Palestinian does not see this as an act of suicide, which is prohibited by Islam. Rather, it is seen as a legitimate means of defense on the part of an occupied people and, as such, worthy of Islam’s most exalted honor, that of martyr. Palestinians speak of a “martyrdom operation” as opposed to “suicide bombing.” See: Martyr.
(“Organization” in Arabic). A
quasi-military militia associated with the P.L.O.’s Fatah organization. Members number in the tens of
thousands, most of them residents of the occupied territories. The tanzim see themselves as graduates of the intifada, who are
in the vanguard of organizing protests against
Targeted Killings, Interceptions.
Terms used by
An act causing
extreme fear, dread, fright. Can refer to a mode of governing (military action, sometimes called
state-sponsored terrorism) or a mode of opposing government (armed resistance,
sometimes called a poor man’s way of waging war). Military action is
often justified on the grounds of national security, while armed resistance is
often justified on human rights grounds. The United Nations recognizes the
legitimacy of “armed struggle” as a means towards self-determination, or
restoring a lost independence (e.g., General Assembly Resolution 2246).
Transfer; Transfer Agreement.
Transfer is a euphemism for
ethnic cleansing. Reference is often made to the Zionist master plan, Plan Dalet (Plan D), the name given by the Zionist High Command
to military operations in April-May 1948 that resulted in the expulsion of over
700,000 Palestinians and the destruction of over 400 of their villages. The
idea is still prevalent. In a February 2002 poll by the Israeli newspaper Maariv, more than a third of Israelis surveyed said they
supported the idea of “transfer” of Palestinians out of the
Both the General Assembly and
the Security Council have adopted numerous resolutions dealing with
A significant number of
Palestinian villages in
Western Wall (once
called Wailing Wall). Hebrew: Kotel. Site revered by
Jews who come to pray and lament the destruction of the First and
meaning “There is a Limit”). Israeli peace group, founded in
1982, to support soldiers who refuse assignments of a repressive or aggressive
nature. During current intifada two other support groups have been
founded, one by disabled army veterans and one by wives of reserve soldiers. By
February 2002, over 250 reservists refused to serve in the
Yesha Council. Organization of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem; seeks politically to prevent any government from compromising on the continued development of settlements; at times settlement members take the law into their own hands in an attempt to drive Palestinian farmers from their land. [www.yesha.org.il]. See: Settlements; Settlers.