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Glossary of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Related Terms

Haram As Sharif, Knesset, Nakba, and more

by Jennie Wood
A-Q | R-W

  • Balfour Declaration
    On Nov. 2, 1917, the British government stated that it supported creating a "national home" for Jews in Palestine without infringing upon the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Britain was the first major power to announce support for a Jewish state in Palestine.
  • Fatah
    A major, left-wing political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization
  • Flotilla
    a group of small naval vessels; a group moving together
  • Gaza
    A strip of land along the Mediterranean coast between Israel and Egypt about twice the size of Washington, D.C. A majority of its 1.4 million residents are Palestinian refugees
  • Geneva Accord
    Also called the Geneva Initiative, it is an agreement intended to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on previous negotiations: the Arab Peace Initiative, the Clinton proposals, and the Quartet roadmap for peace.
  • Golan Heights
    An area of land occupied by Israel, which runs along the border of Syria and Israel and includes a strategically important rocky plateau. The area provides about 15% of Israel's water supply and a large amount of Israel's agricultural production.
  • Green Line
    Also known as the 1949 Armistice Line, it was the boundary set between Israel and Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The name came from the green pencil line drawn during cease fire negotiations between the two countries.
    The boundaries set between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It also includes the boundaries between Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula, as negotiated in the truce agreement of the 1967 Six-Day War.
  • Hamas
    Palestinian Islamist political party that has governed the Gaza strip since 2007. Rival party of Fatah, although the two parties signed a reconciliation agreement in 2011. Considered a terrorist organization by the United States.
  • Haram esh-Sharif
    The term means the "noble sanctuary" and refers to the entire area in Jerusalem that surrounds the rock where the al-Aksa Mosque is located.
  • Hezbollah
    A Shiite political, social, and military organization based in Lebanon with ties to Syria and Iran. Both countries help finance the group. Considered a terrorist group by the United States.
  • Intifada
    Means to literally "shake off" in Arabic. The first intifada was a revolt that began in December 1987 by Palestinian Arabs to protest Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A second intifada began in September 2000.
  • Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
    The sole military wing of the Israeli security forces
  • Knesset
    Means the "gathering" or "assembly." It is the legislative branch of the Israeli government, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.
  • Nakba
    Arabic word for catastrophe, used by Arabs to refer to what is called the War of Independence by the Jews
  • Oslo Accords
    Intended to be a framework for all future negotiations between Israel and Palestine, conducted secretly in Oslo, Norway, and completed in August 1993
  • Palestinian Authority (PA)
    The administrative organization that governs parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It was formed in 1994, and has since been renamed the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
  • Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
    The sole political and paramilitary organization that represents the Palestinians
  • Palestinian National Authority (PNA)
    The administrative organization that governs parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • The Quartet
    A group of nations and international entities formed to mediate the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Established in 2002, the group consists of the European Union, the United Nations, the United States, and Russia.


A-Q | R-W

  • Temple Mount
    The most religious site in Old City of Jerusalem it is known to Muslims as Haram esh-Sharif. In Judaism, the Temple Mount is the place where God chose the Divine Presence to rest, where the world expanded into its current form, and where God gathered dust to create the first man. It is the site of two Jewish Temples and the al-Aksa Mosque.
  • West Bank
    The Palestinian territory under Israeli military occupation since the end of the Six-Day War in 1967. The West Bank gets its name from its location on the western shore of the Jordan River.
  • The White Paper
    A 1939 British policy that limited how many Jewish immigrants were allowed into the British-mandated Palestine
  • Wye Accord
    At the Oct. 1998 summit at Wye Mills, Md., Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasir Arafat settled several important interim issues called for by the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords. The Palestinians agreed to remove language from their founding charter that called for the dismantling of the Jewish state; Israelis agreed to cede an additional 13% percent of the West Bank. But several highly sensitive issues—Palestinian statehood, the drawing of borders, and the status of Jerusalem—went unaddressed. In mid-December Parliament voted to dissolve Netanyahu's government and hold elections in the spring, putting the peace negotiations on hold.
  • Zionism
    Worldwide Jewish movement that resulted in the development and establishment of the state of Israel
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One U.S. president was born on July 4; three presidents died on that day.