A territorial/national entity that was historically comprised of present-day Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Palestine was among the several former Ottoman Empire territories that the League of Nations placed under the administration of Great Britain after World War I. In 1947, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent states: one Palestinian and the other Jewish. This proposal was not realized as Arab leaders, and other nations who rejected the plan, regarded it as invalid. The State of Israel declared independence in 1948 on part of Palestine. The subsequent 1948 War led to most of Palestine’s territory being captured and annexed by Israel and the remaining parts (Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem) falling under Egyptian and Jordanian control respectively. (These territories were subsequently captured by Israel during the 1967 War, and have been occupied by Israel since then.) A sovereign state of Palestine does not exist today, and whether and under what conditions it will exist has been at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and multiple rounds of peace negotiations. The term "Palestine" is used to refer alternatively to the currently Occupied Palestinian Territories, to a future independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, or to the entire historic territory of British mandate Palestine. In recent years, Palestine as a state has gained international recognition, both in the United Nations, and among several European governments. See A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, Ilan Pappe, Cambridge University Press, 2004. See also "Spanish MPs call for recognising Palestine," Al Jazeera, Nov 18, 2014.
Founded in 1964, the PLO is an umbrella political organization and the embodiment of the Palestinian national movement. It was established in order to centralize the different Palestinian resistance groups that came into being after 1948. In 1969, Yasser Arafat, representing the Fatah movement, became chair of the organization, a position he held until his death in 2004. Some of the other groups within the PLO are the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). From the early 1970s through the early 1990s, the PLO operated politically and militarily from bases in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia. The PLO first gained international legitimacy when Arafat addressed the United Nations General Assembly in November 1974 and the organization was granted observer status to the United Nations. In the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO both received recognition from Israel as the representative of the Palestinian people and recognized Israel’s right to exist. Since Oslo, the PLO has seen its leadership absorbed into the Palestinian Authority. Though Hamas was not part of the PLO, there have been in recent years unity agreements between Fatah and Hamas, and a unity government deal was reached in June 2014. See "Palestine Liberation Organization," Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations.
A cache of more than 1,600 confidential documents from negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) between 1999 and 2010. Leaked by employees in the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit, the documents were published by Al-Jazeera in January 2011. The documents revealed (among other things) details about 1) the PA’s concessions regarding Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees’ right of return; 2) the PA’s joint security work with Israel; and 3) the possibility that the PA knew about the Gaza War prior to Israel’s military offensive in late December 2008. Al-Jazeera’s publication of the Palestine Papers was extremely controversial within Palestinian society. Some Palestinians saw the Papers as confirmation that the PA was unfit to lead and had made too many compromises with Israel. Other Palestinians, including the PA, believed the publication of the Papers to be a ploy to overthrow the Fatah dominated PA and that many of the details of the PA’s dealings with Israel were taken out of context. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated the Papers proved that even a left-wing government in Israel could not find agreement with the Palestinians and therefore a plan that defined provisional borders for the West Bank would be best. In February 2011, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat resigned from his post and the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit was dissolved. See "The Palestine Papers," Al Jazeera; "Palestinians attack al-Jazeera ‘distorted’ talks leaks," BBC News, 24 January 2011; and "Lieberman: Leaked Palestinian papers prove interim deal is only option," Haaretz, January 24, 2011.
The term Palestinian refers to those tracing heritage to historic Palestine, which comprises present-day Israel, the West Bank, (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip.The vast majority of those who currently identify as Palestinian are Arab (93% Muslim and 6% Christian). There are also Palestinian Jews whose family heritage in Israel/the Occupied Palestinian Territories pre-dates Zionism. Though the majority of Palestinian Jews now identify as Israeli, there are some who consider themselves Palestinian, as does the Palestinian National Charter. In 2007, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported an estimated 3.76 million Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, with the Israeli CBS reporting approximately 1.52 million Palestinians citizens of Israel in 2009. In addition, as of 2010 there were approximately 4.3 million Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. There is also a sizable Palestinian Diaspora. See "Are All Palestinians Muslim?", Samih K. Farsoun, Institute for Middle Eastern Understanding, Dec 5, 2005.
Also known as the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in 1994 to serve as a five-year interim governing body in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as part of the Oslo Process, until the Final Status issues were settled. The peace process collapsed during the onset of the Second Intifada and the "interim" governing body still exists twenty years after it was formed. As leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat became the PA Chairman in 1994 and held the position until his death in 2004. Fatah was historically the dominant party in both the PLO and the PA. The PA’s authority was significantly limited by the agreements signed with Israel during the Oslo Process, giving it full jurisdiction over only a small portion of the West Bank known as Area A. The PA was granted observer status in the United Nations in 1974. In 2012, the status was upgraded to non-member observer state, despite opposition from the U.S. and Israel. After Hamas won a majority in the 2006 PA legislative elections, a unity government was formed that included Hamas and Fatah. In 2007, however, Hamas pre-empted an American-backed Fatah coup in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the Hamas-Fatah conflict, Hamas controlling Gaza and PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s establishment of a new Fatah-dominated government in the ". After years of failed unity talks, Hamas and Fatah signed a unity agreement in April 2014, but the 2014 Gaza war and events since have delayed its implementation. Critics claim that the PA is corrupt, and functions as a subcontractor of the Israeli occupation, focusing on self-enrichment/consolidation of power and Israeli security rather than Palestinian freedom. See "Permanent Observer Mission of The State of Palestine to the United Nations." See also "A Palestinian Authority steeped in paralysis and corruption," Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, June 28, 2015; and "A Decade After Arafat’s Death, Palestinians Reflect on the Leadership that Followed Him," Alice Speri, Vice News, Nov 11, 2014.
Also known as Palestinian-Israelis, 1948 Palestinians, or Arab-Israelis. Refers to those Palestinians and their descendants who remained in the area that became the State of Israel in 1948. This includes most of the Bedouin within Israel and some Druze, though not all Druze identify as Palestinian. In 2009, Palestinian citizens of Israel numbered 1.52 million, approximately 18-19% of the Israeli population. They participate in government and hold Israeli citizenship, but most do not serve in the military. (Druze men and some Bedouin do typically serve.) Palestinian citizens of Israel were subjected to military rule until 1966, which restricted their movement and other civil rights. There have been three notorious incidents in which groups of unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli forces; the first was in 1956 in Kafr Kassem, the second was in demonstrations in 1976 in the Galilee known as Land Day, and most recently the October 2000 events at the beginning of the Second Intifada. Palestinian citizens of Israel continue to experience discrimination, racism and inequality in multiple aspects of life, including civil rights, income/poverty, employment, land access, social services, education and health care. Discrimination against the Arab sector was first officially acknowledged by the Israeli government in the 2002 Or Commission Report, investigating the October 2000 Events. According to Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, there are more than 50 Israeli laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel. See "The Inequality Report: The [no-lexicon]Palestinian[/no-lexicon] Arab Minority in Israel," Adalah, March 2011, and " Adalah. See also "Arab Minority Rights," Discriminatory Laws in Israel," The Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
On November 15, 1988, the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), met in Algeria to adopt a declaration of independence and proclaimed an independent State of Palestine in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The declaration, which did not mention Israel but according to some was a tacit recognition of an Israeli state alongside a Palestinian state, led to on-again, off-again American talks with the PLO. See "Palestinian Declaration of Independence," Ami Isseroff, MidEast Web, 2002.
Also known as the Palestinian Parliament. The PLC is the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s legislative body and was created by the Oslo Accords. There are 132 members of the PLC from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Its authority is restricted to internal security only in Area A and to civil issues, and its work is subject to review by Israel. It was inaugurated in 1996, but has not convened since the 2007 Hamas-Fatah conflict, and parliamentary elections have not taken place since 2006. Even before 2007, there were major obstacles to the functioning of the PLC, including Israeli control over whether its members received travel permits to attend the sessions, and the arrest by Israel of many PLC members, or those who might have become PLC members. The PLC buildings themselves (both in the West Bank and in Gaza) have been targeted in Israeli attacks. The Ramallah building was damaged in 2002, and the Gaza building was destroyed during the 2008/9 Gaza War. See "Israeli Security Forces Prevent Palestinian Legislative Council Members from Travelling to Council Session in Nablus," Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, June 12, 1996; and "25% of Palestinian MPs detained by Israel," Conal Urquhart, The Guardian, August 21, 2006.
Also known as Palestinian National Covenant. Adopted on May 28 1964, this is the charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and addresses the organization’s goals. The charter has been controversial due to its position that historic Palestine (with borders from the time of the British Mandate) is the indivisible homeland of the Palestinian people,that the establishment of the state of Israel was entirely illegal, and that Zionism must be eliminated from the Middle East. Though later statements and declarations from PLO leaders (including Yasser Arafat) acknowledged Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, Israeli leaders dismissed those statements, pointing to the charter, which had not been amended. In April 1996, following both the signing of the Oslo Accords’ Declaration of Principles, and an exchange of letters of mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO, the Palestinian National Council voted to amend the charter to cancel any articles that contradicted the letters of mutual recognition. The new draft of the charter with those amendments made was never completed; however, in 1998, Yasser Arafat wrote letters to President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair which stated that the charter’s articles denying Israel’s right to exist had been nullified. This was reiterated in the Wye River Memorandum. In recent years, focus has shifted away from the Palestinian National Charter and onto Hamas’s charter. See "Palestinian National Charter of 1964," State of Palestine Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations; and "Letter From President Yasser Arafat to President Clinton," Miftah: The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue & Democracy, Jan 13, 1998.
A Palestinian political party with communist roots; a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Founded in 1982 as the Palestinian Communist Party, the PPP draws on the work and ideology of previous communist factions dating to 1919. In 1991, after the Soviet Union fell, the party re-evaluated its Leninist past and changed its name to the Palestinian People’s Party. The party was supportive yet critical of the Oslo Accords. Long-time member and then General-Secretary Mustafa Barghouti left the PPP in 2002 to form al-Mubadara. See "Palestinian People’s Party," MidEastWeb.
Refers to Palestinian prisoners from the Occupied Palestinian Territories who are tried by Israel, usually in military courts, where the conviction rate is over 99%. While Israel maintains that those in detention are "security prisoners," engaged in criminal acts or posing a threat to Israel’s security, Palestinian rights groups maintain that a majority are political prisoners (including political leaders, as well as hundreds who have organized unarmed demonstrations), or are held for acts such as stone-throwing, and consider them prisoners of war. In 1999, Israel’s Supreme Court outlawed torture in its interrogation methods of detainees and in 2000, Israel publicly admitted that it had used torture during interrogations of detainees in the First Intifada. According to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, some forms of torture continue to be employed during detainee interrogations. Between 1967 and 2013, Israel arrested and detained over 750,000 Palestinians; roughly 40% of the male population. As of October 2014, 5,447 Palestinians were held in Israeli detention centers, including 163 children. Included in that number are 457 Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge or trial, which is the highest number since 2009. These numbers were much higher during both the First and the Second Intifada. Palestinian prisoners have found ways to resist their own conditions of imprisonment (as well as policies such as administrative detention) via hunger strikes, some of which lasted close to 80 days. Prisoners have organized within the prisons’ highly intricate systems of education and self-governance. Palestinian prisoners are at the emotional heart of the conflict for Palestinians; nearly every Palestinian has either been in prison, or has an imprisoned relative. Prisoner swaps are common in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. See "Detainees and Prisoners," B’Tselem; and "Palestinian prisoners: Why they count," The Economist, Aug 17, 2013. See also "Joint NGO Submission on Israeli Suppression of Palestinian Human Rights Activism against the Wall," Addameer, Stop the Wall, National Lawyers Guild, Feb 4, 2010; and "The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker," Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe, Nation Books, 2011. For a documentary film about the history of the military court system, see "The Law in these Parts," Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, 2012. See also infographic "History Repeats Itself: Hunger Strikes in 1989 South African and 2012 Palestine," Visualizing Palestine.
Refers to Palestinians who were expelled or fled from their villages/towns as a result of the 1948 War or the 1967 War. The recorded number of first-generation Palestinian refugees depends on the source: 520,000 according to Israel; 726,000 according to the United Nations; and over 800,000 according to Arab sources. Including descendants, Palestinian refugees registered with the UN in 2010 numbered more than 4.3 million, with many of these refugees living in UN-administered refugee camps in Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel initially maintained that Palestinians fled of their own free will, or at the instructions of Arab leaders. Starting in the late 1970’s, however, more critical narratives began to emerge from some former Israeli soldiers, academics and journalists, including an admission of Israeli-perpetrated mass expulsions. The rights of and future solutions for Palestinian refugees have been a sticking point in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with Israel stating refugees must relinquish claims to their pre-1948 and 1967 homes and Palestinians demanding a right of return for these refugees and/or formal acknowledgement from Israel that the Israeli state bears responsibility for the refugee crisis. UN Resolution 194 stipulated that refugees be allowed to return to their homes and lands and that the responsible governments should compensate all refugees for any destroyed property or for properties the refugees choose not to return to; Israel has rejected this resolution. See "Obstacles to Arab-Israeli peace: Palestinian refugees," Martin Asser, BBC, September 2, 2010.
(A Hebrew acronym for "Plugot Maḥatz" or "strike force") Founded in 1941, the Palmach was an elite operational force of the Haganah (a Jewish paramilitary group and the precursor to the Israeli army.) The Palmach primarily viewed their force as protection against potential occupation of British Mandate Palestine by the Axis power, and as protection against Arab attacks on Jewish communities. Later, the organization went underground and practiced guerilla combat against the British. In the 1948 War, the Palmach formed the backbone of the Jewish forces, with its three brigades and ancillary intelligence, air and naval forces. Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion insisted on Palmach’s integration into the Israeli Army in 1948. Some of the commanders of the Palmach, such as Yigal Alon, Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin, became prominent military and political leaders. In recent years, Palmach veterans have been interviewed about war crimes that they participated in during the 1948 War. See "Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001," Benny Morris, Vintage Books, 2001. See also "Breaking the Silence-Palmach Version," Zochrot, Dec 31, 2011.
There are different kinds of permits used by Israel to control the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Palestinians who live within them. Travel permits from Israeli authorities are required for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip order to enter Israel, including East Jerusalem. Israeli civilians wanting to enter Areas A in the West Bank are also required to obtain Israeli-issued permits. Due to Israel’s Separation Barrier and Jewish Israeli settlements, some Palestinians must obtain permits from the Israeli military to access their own land and even to live in their homes. All types of permits (including building permits for Palestinians living in Area C and East Jerusalem) can be difficult to obtain, and there are instances of Palestinians being barred from access to their land and losing their crops. Israel states the permits are necessary for maintaining security and order; however, Palestinian and Israeli civil rights NGOs have labeled the system of permits a "permit regime" in which an impossible bureaucracy intentionally discriminates against Palestinians. See "The Permit Maze: Palestinians need permits to move, to live, for everything," BADIL Resource Center, November 3, 2003; and "Security fence permits for Palestinians petition rejected," Ron Friedman, Jerusalem Post, April 4, 2011.
Formed in 1983 by Palestinians, the Committees were responsible for basic services in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, ranging from education to garbage collection as well as food distribution during Israeli-imposed closures and sieges. They required a great deal of popular mobilization, and were instrumental in the First Intifada. Popular Committees continue to function today in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and, particularly in the West Bank, have united under several coalitions in order to organize grassroots resistance against Israel’s occupation. The most prominent coalitions include the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign founded in 2002 and the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee established in 2009. See "A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance," by Mary Elizabeth King, Nation Books, 2007. See also the websites for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee and the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.
A Palestinian political party. Founded in 1967 by Palestinian Christian George Habash, this party combines secular Arab nationalist and Marxist-Leninist ideologies. The PFLP and its offshoot, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, historically advocated the creation of a secular democratic Palestine as a precursor to a broader revolution within the Arab world. PFLP became the second largest faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), but lost influence in the late 1980s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of Islamist movements such as Hamas. The PFLP was one of a number of Palestinian parties opposed to the Oslo Process. The PFLP has used both political and militant means, notably hijackings and political assassinations, to advance its aims. Although it came to accept a two-state solution, in 2010 the vPFLP called for the PLO to end its negotiations with Israel, as it believed the negotiations would further divide Fatah and Hamas and that only a one-state solution for Palestinians and Jews was possible. See their website. See also "'Paradise Is in This Life, Not the Next': The Marxists of Gaza Are Fighting for a Secular State," Creede Newton, Vice News, Feb 25, 2015.
This non-partisan committee was formed by activists in popular committees from all over the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in order to facilitate communication between the different committees that organize unarmed resistance against Israel’s Separation Barrier, Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land and other aspects of Israel’s military occupation. See the committee’s website . See also Just Vision’s documentary film "Budrus."
The Prawer Plan is an Israeli bill that was formulated in September 2011 and was approved by the Knesset in June 2013. If implemented, the bill would lead to the destruction of 35 "unrecognized villages" and to the forced displacement of tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel from the Negev/Naqab desert. The Israeli government claims that the bill is part of a campaign to develop the Negev/Naqab and that Bedouin communities will benefit from it; however, the bill has been rejected by the Bedouin community and allies, and large protests against the bill were held. The Prawer Plan has faced strong international opposition; the United Nations human rights chief urged Israel to reconsider the bill, The European Parliament called for its withdrawal, and other human rights/advocacy organizations inside Israel (such as Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) has called the plan discriminatory, stating that it "entrenches the state’s historic injustice against its Bedouin citizens." The plan was halted in December 2013, though it’s not clear whether it has been temporarily delayed or shelved altogether. See "Bedouin's plight: "We want to maintain our traditions. But it's a dream here," Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, November 3, 2011. See also "Resource: Full text of Prawer-Begin plan for Negev Bedouin," 972mag.com; and "Prawer Plan to Displace Bedouin," 972mag.
Though settler violence towards Palestinian communities is not new, in recent years such acts have often been labeled "Price Tag Attacks." The slogan is meant to convey the idea that the violence is the price extracted from Palestinians or from the Israeli military for actions that are perceived as harming settlers or the settlement enterprise. Price Tag Attacks include vandalism of property, arson, uprooting of olive trees, and physical violence towards people, and are often accompanied by Hebrew graffiti with the words: "Price tag." See "Settler violence: Lack of accountability," B’Tselem. See also "Mosque Set on Fire in Northern Israel," Isabel Kershner, New York Times, Oct 3, 2011; and "UN: attacks on West Bank Palestinians on rise," Al Jazeera English, Jan 17, 2014.
(1923- ) A Jewish Israeli political figure. Peres immigrated to Palestine from Poland in 1932. He was a member of the Jewish paramilitary group Haganah (the precursor to the Israeli army and, after the establishment of Israel in 1948, held several positions in the Ministry of Defense. Throughout his political career, he has been a member of four political parties, including Labor and Kadima. He was first elected to the Israeli parliament in 1959 and has almost continually held various governmental positions, including Prime Minister from 1984-1986 and 1995-1996, Foreign Minister from 1986-1988, 1992-1995 and 2001-2002, and President from 2007-2014. Peres received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his role in the signing of the Oslo Accords. The prize was awarded to him along with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In 1996, he established the Peres Center for Peace to further the peace process through economic and social cooperation with the Palestinians, and is often considered a "dove" in Israeli political parlance, though he has vocally supported many of Israel’s military operations, including the 2014 Gaza War. See "The Mixed Legacy Of Shimon Peres," Daniel Gavron, the Daily Beast, Feb 4, 2013.
Also known as the Ayalon-Nusseibeh Initiative. An Israeli-Palestinian civil initiative designed to advance peace by putting forth a particular set of principles related to contentious issues with the hope of garnering massive popular support among both Palestinians and Israelis. Co-founded and signed in July 2002 by Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Israeli Shin Bet, and Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian professor and political figure. The initiative was publicly launched in June 2003 with an active campaign to gain mass numbers of signatories among Israelis and Palestinians. By the end of 2008, the People’s Voice reported 251,000 Israelis and 160,000 Palestinians having signed the initiative. Criticism of the initiative from Palestinian rights activists centered on the argument that the initiative upholds all of Israel’s goals, while dismissing inalienable Palestinian rights. See "Statement of Principles - Signed by Ami Ayalon & Sari Nusseibeh on July 27, 2002," ReliefWeb. See also "Palestinian Rights in the Document Shredder: The Nusseibeh-Ayalon Agreement," Ali Abunimah, the Electronic Intifada, Sept 6, 2002.