Also known as Battle of Jenin. On April 3, 2002, Israeli forces attacked the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank as part of what it named Operation Defensive Shield, which was the largest military mobilization in the West Bank since the 1967 War. The Israeli military framed the invasion of the camp as a defensive measure against suspected militants, a response to six suicide bombings inside Israel in the two prior weeks that claimed 56 lives and injured hundreds. Allegations of a massacre in Jenin spread immediately after the operation. International media sources estimated casualties in the first days approaching the hundreds, and the final casualty numbers remain in dispute, hovering between 48 to 56 Palestinians, including civilians, and 23 to 33 Israeli soldiers. A large section of Jenin refugee camp was razed to the ground. Amnesty International reported that the Israeli military blocked humanitarian assistance to the camp and denied the Palestinian wounded medical assistance, and that the operation left 3,000 Palestinians homeless. Human Rights Watch criticized the Israeli military for destroying over 35 percent of the refugee camp. For Palestinians, the attack on the Jenin refugee camp quickly became an important symbol of Israel’s oppression and of heroic Palestinian resistance, while Israelis cite it as an example of baseless massacre allegations. See "Israel and the Occupied Territories Shielded from Scrutiny: IDF violations in Jenin and Nablus," Amnesty International, November 4, 2002; and "Jenin: IDF Military Operations," Human Rights Watch, May 2002. For a documentary film that follows several children from Jenin camp who became fighters during the invasion, see "Arna’s Children," by Juliano Mer-Khamis.
Known as Al-Quds (“The Holy”) in Arabic and Yerushalayim in Hebrew. A city located in the center of both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, both geographically and in significance. In 2009, Jerusalem was home to approximately 769,400 Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as to sacred sites from all three faiths within the ancient walled Old City, including the Western Wall, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.The Green Line (the 1949 cease-fire line demarcating the boundary between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories) divides Jerusalem. Between 1948-1967, Israel controlled Jerusalem on one side of the Green Line (which is known as West Jerusalem, and was declared the capital of Israel in 1948) and Jordan controlled Jerusalem on the other side of the Green Line (which is known as East Jerusalem). Following the 1967 War, Israel conquered East Jerusalem along with the rest of the West Bank and (according to the United Nations) annexed it, including the Old City and the holy shrines. The municipal borders were left undefined, and, in fact, expanded. Most countries do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem, an opinion codified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 478. Rather, they regard Jerusalem’s status as undetermined, pending final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1980, Israel codified in its “Jerusalem Law” that an undivided Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. The Palestinian Authority, however, considers East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and passed a law in 2000 designating it as such. Israeli communities have been built throughout East Jerusalem since 1967. According to international law, these communities are settlements. In recent years, Jewish Israelis have been taking over Palestinian homes in several areas of East Jerusalem (such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan), displacing the residents. This encroachment has typically been backed by the Israeli military/police forces and court system. Jerusalem Palestinians have a status that is different from that of either Palestinians in the West Bank or of Palestinian citizens of Israel. They pay Jerusalem municipal taxes, receive municipal services and Israeli health insurance, and carry a blue (Israeli) ID (as opposed to Palestinians in the rest of the West Bank who carry a green ID card) but they are not Israeli citizens. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are able to travel freely throughout the West Bank and Israel, which is prohibited to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There has been much documentation about systemic discrimination faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, who comprise 37% of the city’s population yet receive only 10% of the municipal budget. Numerous restrictions are placed on Palestinian residents of Jerusalem that do not apply to Israeli citizens or Jewish permanent residents, include losing residency status if living abroad (or in the West Bank) for longer than seven years, or if unable to prove that the center of their life is in Jerusalem. Between 1967 and 2009, the Israeli government revoked Jerusalem residency from 13,115 Palestinians. See the infographic created on May 17, 2015 by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel "East Jerusalem by the numbers," and read the accompanying report "East Jerusalem 2015: Facts and Figures."; see also "East Jerusalem," B’tselem. To read the text of the 1980 Basic Law regarding Jerusalem, see "Basic Law-Jerusalem-Capital of Israel," Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more about the takeover of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and the protest movement that developed in response, see the short Just Vision films, "My Neighborhood" and Homefront. For additional resources and background, see the discussion guide for “My Neighborhood."
Established by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1929 in accordance with the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922) that called for “a Jewish agency” to assist in the "establishment of the Jewish National Home . . . in Palestine." Prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Jewish Agency facilitated the settlement of Jews in Palestine and focused on building strong economic, social and military foundations for the Jewish population. Once Israel became a state, the Agency has been the primary organization encouraging Aliyah to Israel and offering absorption programs. Today, the organization operates in close to 80 countries, and is the main link between Jewish communities in those countries and Israel. Through programs such as Taglit-Birthright Israel, the Jewish Agency fosters a Zionist narrative, which privileges and supports a Jewish connection to Israel, while marginalizing or ignoring Palestinian connection to and existence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. See the Jewish Agency’s website.
[In Hebrew: Bait Yehudi] The Jewish Home party, led by Naftali Bennett, was formed in 2008 and is the successor to the National Religious Party, a Zionist religious party in the Israeli Knesset. The nationalist right-wing party primarily represents Modern Orthodox Jews, but has appealed to secular right-wing Israelis as well. The party is pro-settlements, and Bennett has spoken openly of opposition to a Palestinian state, and has called for annexation of Area C of the West Bank. See, “Israel's new political star Naftali Bennett's [no-lexicon]Jewish Home[/no-lexicon] party determined to stop Palestinian state," Nick Meo, The Telegraph, Jan 19, 2013.
Established in 1901 to buy and develop land in Palestine for Jewish settlement and to create a Jewish homeland. After its first 50 years of purchasing land in Palestine, the Jewish National Fund )(JNF) spent the following 50 years developing the land (including the land of depopulated and destroyed Palestinian villages) by planting over 220 million trees, building neighborhood infrastructure, and settling Jewish immigrants. Critics have said that many JNF forests were planted with the intention of covering up/hiding destroyed Palestinian villages. The JNF is currently focusing its efforts on developing the Negev Desert (which is 55% of Israel’s land mass and includes the majority of Israel’s Bedouin citizens) for increased Jewish settlement and economic development. JNF’s forestation attempts have led to the destruction of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib 70 times. See “Jewish National Fund resumes forestation project in al-Arakib," Mairav Zonszein, +972mag, May 7, 2012.
The definition of Jihad is derived from the Arabic root meaning “to strive," “to struggle" or “to make an effort." It holds a wide range of meanings within Islam, from an internal spiritual struggle to perfect one’s faith to an overt and, at times, violent struggle to promote justice and Islamic legal and social codes. Jihad is closely identified with the injunction in the Qur’an to “command the right and forbid the wrong." Modern Islamist groups, especially fundamentalist ones, have used jihad as a means of “preserving the sanctity of Islam" through actively resisting and often combating those they consider as a threat to the religion. This struggle may be against both individuals and regimes deemed “un-Islamic." See “Jihad," Sohail Hashmi, CQ Press in Context.
An unprecedented alliance or bloc of four predominantly Arab political parties within Israel: Hadash, Balad, the United Arab List, and Ta’al. The four parties banded together in response to the new election law put forth by Avigdor Liberman that raised the election threshold to receive 3.25% of the vote (in order to get a seat in the Israeli Knesset. The four parties formed the Joint List in January 2015 in the lead up to the March 2015 elections. The List, headed by Hadash leader Ayman Odeh, became the 3rd biggest party in the Knesset, winning 13 seats. For the first time, political parties made up predominantly of Palestinian citizens of Israel played a significant role in Israeli media and elections. The Joint List is comprised of parties and members with vast ideological differences; include Islamists, secularists, nationalists, and communists. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, the List’s creation and success in the March 2015 elections was a source of hope and inspiration for many Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jewish Israelis who struggle for equality and pluralism. See “Israel’s Joint List faces challenging road ahead," Lena Odgaard, Al Jazeera English, March 29, 2015; and “Arab parties announce joint slate for upcoming election," Mairav Zonszein, +972mag, Jan 23, 2015.
A river that runs 251 km from the Hula Valley in northern Israel, through the Jordan Valley in the West Bank and into the Dead Sea. The West Bank derives its name from being the western bank of the Jordan River. The distribution of its waters is hotly disputed by Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli authorities. See “Jordan River Basin," UN-ESCWA and BGR, Inventory of Shared Water Resources in Western Asia.
A large valley (125 km long and 15 km across) that forms the border between Israel and Jordan in the north and the West Bank and Jordan in the south, running from Lake Tiberias to the Dead Sea. The Jordan Valleycomprises approximately 30% of the West Bank and is an important source of water. Most of the Jordan Valleyis considered Area C (under Israeli military and civil control) and has recently been a contentious issue in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinians insist that Israel remove its military and settlements, as the Jordan Valleyis part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and would constitute their future state’s border with Jordan. Israel insists that a permanent military presence in the Jordan Valleyis necessary for security reasons, though this was not a core demand in earlier negotiations. Some in Netanyahu’s government want to annex the Jordan Valleyoutright. There are 26 settlements in the Jordan Valley, with stark differences in distribution of water and other resources between the settlements and the chiefly Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley. There has also been, in recent years, a sharp increase in home demolitions in the Bedouin communities. See “"Background on the Jordan Valley," B’tselem, May 18, 2011. See also “Strategic Corridor in West Bank Remains a Stumbling Block in Mideast Talks," Isabel Kershner, The New York Times, Jan 4, 2014; and “Israel demolishes Palestinian houses in vital Jordan Valley," Ruth Eglash, The Washington Post, March 8, 2014.
(1880-1940) A Jewish Zionist of Russian origin. Jabotinksy came to Palestine first as a soldier with the British Jewish Legion during World War I, a legion that Jabotinsky helped construct. The founder of Revisionist Zionism in 1925, he sponsored a more militant and non-socialist approach to building the Jewish homeland in Palestine than that of Labor Zionism. He also became a supporter of militant actions against the British Mandate in Palestine in order to more quickly assert the Jewish right to political sovereignty in the area. See "The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World," Avi Shlaim, W.W. Norton & Company, 2001; and "Jabotinksy: A Life,” Hillel Halkin, Yale University Press, 2014.