Thursday, September 16, 2010

(INFO) The Complete Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Glossary

Decades of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has given rise to concepts, terms, and names often encountered in the media. We’ve compiled a list (in alphabetical order) to put these terms at your fingertips to aid in conversations on these issues in your travels around the world.

Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Al-Aqsa Intifada started in 2000, seven years after the Oslo Accords (1993) and brought the conflict to new heights. The official Palestinian reason for the intifada was Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount. In reality, it appears this uprising was a prepared response to the failure of that year's talks at Camp David and directed at then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak, for failing to provide a solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees.

Annapolis Convention
The first significant meeting between Israel and the Palestinians since Camp David (2000) and the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada was the 2007 convention in Annapolis, Maryland in the U.S. The Annapolis Convention was meant to try to revive the peace process, and pave the way for intensive negotiations towards a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. The convention included delegates from the U.S., Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Europe, the UN, Russia, most of the Arab League as well as nations that do not have any diplomatic ties with Israel.

Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip is a strip of coastal land that extends 25 miles along Israel’s southern border, between Sinai and the southern part of the coastal plane. Since September 2005, the Gaza Strip has been under partial sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority; in 2006 it was been taken over by the terrorist group Hamas.

Multiple rocket launcher used by Hezbollah and other Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip to launch rockets towards Israel.

The Green Line
The Green Line is actually the cease fire line between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon as was determined in the cease fire treaty of 1949 after the War of Independence which held up until the Six Day War in 1967. Its name comes from the green pencil used to draw on the map in the cease fire treaty talks.

The Hamas Movement was officially registered in Israel in 1978 as an Islamic organization by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. In its first years, the organization was characterized by its social work and efforts to improve the quality of life for Palestinians. Despite the fact that the organization’s ultimate goal was the destruction of the State of Israel, the organization focused on capturing people’s hearts through education and charity work. The turning point was in 1988, when Hamas began acquiring weapons and their charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, was published. The organization`s activities veered from education and charity into terrorism, and in response Israel destroyed its command structure. Ever since, Hamas has been waging a terrorist war against Israel.

A Shiite terrorist organization based in Lebanon, whose major military activity is guerrilla and terrorist attacks against Israeli targets. As a result of the Israeli pullback from Lebanon, Hezbollah accumulated weapons stores close to the Israeli border, and in July 2006 attacked northern towns and ambushed and kidnapped Israeli soldiers, thus beginning the second Lebanon War.

Loan Guarantees
The loan guarantees are a form of U.S. economic aid to Israel. Loan guarantees began about 20 years ago and were needed mostly in order to raise the funds for bringing over and integrating the huge number of immigrants from the former USSR. In recent years, the loan guarantees have not been used due to Israel’s continuous climb in rank on the global capital market, which in turn has increased its international credit rating to the highest rank (AAA). This ranking expresses the lowest risk in debt return. This rank on the international credit market allows Israel to manage without the American loan guarantees. A testament to this success lies in the fact that during the recent financial crisis Israel did not use any of the loan guarantees. The loan guarantees allow the U.S. to put pressure and demand certain action on issues important to the U.S. It is also important to mention that the loan guarantees are not a straightforward, unconditional guarantee but quite the opposite, due to their vagueness, the lackof an automatic system to cash them, and the fact that the American constitution and American interests override any guarantee made to foreign countries. these types of guarantees give the U.S. the freedom to get out of their commitment.

Madrid Conference
An international conference that opened on October 30th 1991 in Madrid after the first Gulf War in order to promote the peace process between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries. The conference was a catalyst for direct talks in Washington, which eventually led to the Oslo Accords.

Mitchell Report
The Mitchell Report, officially called the Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee Report, summarizes the conclusions of a special committee established following the summit meeting at Sharm El-Sheik on October 17th 2000, in the presence of representatives from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the U.S., Egypt, Jordan, the UN and the EU. The June 2001 cease fire agreement was the first stage in implementing the report’s findings, which recommended freezing building in settlements and a return to diplomatic negotiations.

October 2000 Events
The violent events of the Al-Aqsa Intifada led to riots among Israeli Arabs as a show of solidarity with the Palestinians. These riots lasted three straight days and included blocking of major roads and highways and stone throwing.

Or Commission
Under pressure from Arab leadership in Israel, the Or commission was established to look into the events of October 2000. Its conclusions were published in September 2003. The commission concluded that among the causes of the violence were: religious extremism among Israeli Arabs, increasing empathy with the Palestinians and incitement by local Arab leadership against Israel.

Oslo Accords
After Yitzhak Rabin was elected Prime Minister in 1992 the Oslo Accords, which expressed mutual recognition by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, were signed. As part of the accords the Palestinian Authority was allowed to arm itself (rifles, handguns and machine guns), but this right extended only to Palestinian security officers. Transfer of territories to the Palestinian Authority began during the negotiations in hopes of resolving the conflict within five years. However, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad commenced a streak of terrorist attacks that foiled any chance of resolving the conflict.

Partition Plan
In 1947, the UN appointed a committee that would look into the issue of the Land of Israel. The committee published its findings in the form of a partition plan, and in November of the same year the plan was put to a vote in the UN: About 60% of the Jewish state’s land was meant to be in the arid desert while the Arabs were meant to receive most of the fertile agricultural lands. Jerusalem was meant to remain separate from both countries with an international government,an arrangement which would have isolated one hundred thousand Jews from their country. Thirty three nations supported the plan, thirteen opposed, ten abstained and one was absent. The Jewish population celebrated the decision, while the Arabs saw it as a disaster and decided to thwart it by force.

Peel Commission
In 1936, following pogroms in Israel, Britain established the Peel Commission which divided Israel into a Jewish nation that included the Jezreel Valley, Beit She’an and the lower Galilee, and an Arab nation that included Judea and Samaria.

PLO – Palestinian Liberation Organization
In 1964, the Arab League in Cairo founded the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Until the Six Day War, the PLO was involved in terrorist activities that aggravated the conflict with Israel. The PLO became, over the years, the umbrella organization that united a number of nationalist movements, the most prominent of which is Fatah. Until the late ‘80s, the organization’s goals were political representation for the Palestinian people and armed struggle against the State of Israel in order to destroy it.

Resolution 1701
On August 12th 2006, one month after the beginning of the second Lebanon War, the UN Security Council called for a cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah and the deployment of United Nations armed forces and the Lebanon military in south Lebanon, in order to stop Hezbollah from continuing its activities there.

Resolution 242
Resolution 242 was based on a British-American initiative following the Six Day War (full details can be found on the Knesset website) and called for, among other things, the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict [the Six Day War]” and “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”. In addition, the resolution discussed the need to guarantee the freedom of navigation through regional international waterways, a just settlement of the refugee problem, a guarantee of and adequate means to ensure the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, including by establishing demilitarized zones. The resolution was accepted almost immediately by Egypt and Jordan. Israel adopted the resolution in December 1967. Syria adopted the resolution only after President Assad came into power and discussions with the Palestinians stalled in the context of withdrawal and a solution to the refugee problem

Road Map
A plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The plan was presented by then-U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002, and suggested 2005 as the year by which a complete and final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be reached. The plan recommended a gradual, multi-stage, multi-year solution, overseen and aided by the U.S., the European Union, the UN and Russia.

The Second Lebanon War
The pullout from the southern Lebanon security zone in 2000 to the international border left southern Lebanon free for Hezbollah to move in and take over. Over the course of the next 6 years, Hezbollah amassed weapons and ammunitions and continued attacking IDF positions and Israeli citizens within Israel. In July 2006, the organization bombed northern towns with mortars and katyusha rockets as a diversion to their attack on two Hummer military vehicles that were on patrol along the border. three IDF soldiers were killed and two reserves soldiers were kidnapped: First Sergeant Ehud Goldwasser and Staff Sergeant Eldad Regev, Thus began the second Lebanon War. Two years later, Israel released terrorist Samir Kuntar, the bodies of 197 Hezbollah terrorists and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Ehud and Eldad, who were returned to Israel in coffins.

Rockets (Qassam)
The rocket used against Israel, known as the Qassam, is a weapon developed by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and is fired toward Israeli towns along the Gaza border – Ashkelon, Sderot and others close to the border fence.

A settlement is the common term for any Jewish Israeli residential area in the territories conquered by Israel in the Six Day War across the Green Line. The Palestinian Authority sees the “1948 settlements” as the root of the conflict, and therefore in the media, in mosques, in textbooks and at every other opportunity, the Authority refers to the 1948 borders, including Kiryat HaYovel and other Jerusalem neighborhoods as settlements. As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned, the Right of Return includes 1948 refugees from all neighborhoods and cities in Israel.

The fact is that locations currently called hitnachaluyot in Hebrew, i.e. settlements, were founded after the Six Day War in 1967, well after the founding of the PLO in 1964, the wars in 1948 and 1956, the Hebron Massacre and banishment of the Jews from Gaza in 1929, the uprooting of Gush Etzion settlements and the massacre of its residents in the 20s, 30s and 40s, and the destruction of Kfar Darom in 1948. The root of the Arab-Israeli conflict is not the size of the country, but Israel’s very existence – even Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are seen as settlements in the Palestinian narrative. Want to know more about Jewish settlement? Click here

Unilateral Disengagement Plan
In 2005 Israel took a number of significant steps towards achieving the goal of establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. One such step was the unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and Judea & Samaria, in which Israel evacuated Israeli settlements and IDF bases in the Gaza Strip, as well as four isolated settlements in Samaria. The Palestinian Authority has taken some steps towards political reform, but the most important task of all – control and disbanding of terrorist organizations and establishing state security forces – has not been carried out. Immediately after the evacuation and withdrawal, synagogues were burned and the deserted homes were looted and destroyed. Palestinian organizations increased the frequency of rocket attacks on towns such as Sderot that surround the Gaza Strip.

The West Bank
The West Bank is the name of the territory within the cease fire line - known as the Green Line–and is also referred to as Judea and Samaria. The West Bank was an administrative name chosen by the Jordanian government, which controlled the region between 1949-1967. The name Judea and Samaria was chosen after the Six Day War, due to the fact that legally and administratively the region remained separate from the State of Israel and subject to special military rule, excluding some land added to the Jerusalem municipality in 1967.

Wye River Memorandum
The Wye River Memorandum is an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that was signed in an official ceremony at the White House on October 23rd 1998, and was meant to detail and determine the steps required to implement the Oslo Accords and determine a time line. The Agreement detailed a time line and scope of Israeli withdrawal, as well as a time line for Palestinian security measures including gathering illegal weapons, fighting terrorism and stopping incitement. (source)

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