A salt lake that borders Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, known for its high salt and mineral content. The lake is a popular tourist and spa destination. The Dead Sea's shores are the lowest point on the surface of the earth on dry land, and the sea itself is rapidly shrinking, primarily due to the diversion of incoming water from the Jordan River, a phenomenon that has concerned Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian authorities. The mud and mineral-based compounds from the Dead Sea are used in beauty products of the Israeli company Ahava, who manufactures the products in an Israeli settlement on the coast of the Dead Sea, expropriating resources from the Occupied Palestinian Territories in violation of international law. As Ahava products are manufactured in a settlement, there have been calls to boycott them, led by group Code Pink, and others. South African activists have also led calls to remove misleading labels on Ahava products as being from Israel, as opposed to the labeling making it clear that Ahava is produced in occupied territory. See "Dead Sea neighbours agree to pipeline to pump water from Red Sea," Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, December 9, 2013.
Formerly a Palestinian village of approximately 600-700 people outside of Jerusalem, which was the site of a massacre that occurred during the 1948 War. In the pre-dawn hours of April 9, 120 Jewish paramilitary fighters from the Irgun and Stern/Lehi Gang attacked the village during an operation meant to open the main road connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The attack was unexpectedly resisted by the villagers, leading to a fierce gun battle. Ultimately, approximately 100 villagers were killed, a great many of them unarmed, among them women and children. Five Jewish fighters were also killed. The nature of the killings remains a source of controversy. Many Israelis maintain that those killed were fighters or were killed as a result of house-to-house combat, and that the paramilitary groups issued warnings to the civilians in the village to flee. However, multiple sources (including survivors from Deir Yassin and eyewitnesses from the Jewish forces) state that while some the villagers were killed during the fighting (many by hand grenades thrown/automatic gunfire sprayed into houses before fighters entered, and from houses being dynamited with people still inside) many others were killed execution-style after the fighting had ended. There are reports that some villagers may have been killed after they were taken prisoner and paraded through West Jerusalem. Though these accounts differ, stories of bodies being dumped in the nearby quarry have been part of numerous first-person accounts. Widespread looting of the village took place after the fighting ended, and there are reports (some by international observers who entered the village or interviewed survivors in the days following the attacks) that mutilations and sexual assaults had occurred. Rumors of the massacre and the related atrocities created terror among Palestinian villagers, and were a central catalyst of the flight of many Palestinians. In addition to contributing to the Palestinian refugee crisis, the massacre led to a full-scale invasion from surrounding Arab countries. The village was entirely depopulated and in 1949, the Israeli neighborhood of Givat Sha’ul Bet was built on the remains of Deir Yassin. For many Palestinians, the Deir Yassin massacre has come to symbolize the Nakba. The only remaining buildings of the original Deir Yassin are now the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center. See "The Historiography of Deir Yassin," Benny Morris, Journal of Israeli History: Politics, Society, Culture, Volume 24 Issue 1, 2005. See also "A massacre of Arabs masked by a state of national amnesia," Catrina Stewart, The Independent, May 10, 2010; and "In Pictures: Remembering Deir Yassin," Rich Wiles, Al Jazeera English, April 16, 2014.
The term Diaspora refers to communities of peoples living outside of their homeland. It was most commonly used to refer to the Jewish community in exile, particularly referring to the dispersion of Jews from Biblical Israel beginning in 586 BCE with the destruction of the First Temple. It is more recently used to refer to any large community in exile or in dispersion. Palestinians in exile (who were dispersed/exiled in waves which include Palestinian Christians leaving Ottoman-controlled Palestine, the 1948 War, and the 1967 War) are often called "diaspora" though there are some who feel that use of the word obscures Palestinians’ status as refugees and their right to return to Palestine. See "A Shared Blessing for a Far-Flung People: ‘At Home in Exile,’ on the Jewish Diaspora, by Alan Wolfe," Michael Roth, The New York Times, Oct 26, 2014. See also "Rethinking the Palestinians Abroad as a Diaspora: The Relationships between the Diaspora and the Palestinian Territories," Sari Hanafi, The Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Center, 2003; and "The Role of the Palestinian Diaspora," by Nadia Hijab, Khalil Hindi, Aziz Khalidi, Jaber Suleiman, and Antoine Zahlan. Al-Shabaka, 2010; and Palestinian Diaspora in Transnational Worlds: Intergenerational Differences in Negotiating Identity, Belonging and Home by Ismat Zaidan, Birzeit University, 2012.
Also known as District Coordination and Liaison Office (DCL), DCOs are Israeli-Palestinian military coordination offices established as part of the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. DCOs were established in each district of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the Israeli military office on one side of each DCO compound and the Palestinian security forces on the other. The offices aim to coordinate and monitor the movement of Palestinians in and out of, and within, the West Bank and Gaza. Since the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, the Palestinian civilian population has been required to apply at their local DCO, working in tandem with the Israeli Civil Administration, for permits to enter Israel, or to move between Areas A, B and C in the West Bank. The Gaza-Jericho Agreement also mandated high levels of communication between the DCOs of each side. See Israeli military webpage showing where the DCOs are located.
A mosque/shrine located on the Haram Al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary) in the Old City of Jerusalem and adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Western Wall. Its significance stems from the Prophet Muhammad’s night journey and ascension into heaven from the rock over which the Dome of Rock was built, commemorated in Surah 17 verse 1 of the Qur’an. A mosque was first built on the site by Umar Bin Al Khattab, the second caliph of Islam, in the year 638 CE, and another was built in its place in 691 CE. See The Noble Sanctuary Online Guide.
A distinct ethno-religious group that resides primarily in Syria and Lebanon, with smaller communities in northern Israel and Jordan. The Druze population’s religion stems from an eleventh century offshoot of Shi'a Islam, and originated in Cairo. Considered by the Druze to be a new interpretation of the three main monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) as well as incorporating elements from Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, and Pythagoreanism, the Druze religion is secret, closed to converts, and includes the notion of reincarnation. The Druze population in Israel in 2009 was 124,300. Unlike most other Arabic-speaking citizens of Israel, Druze citizens are required by Israeli law to serve in the army. The Druze population in Israel maintains that they are discriminated against with regard to welfare services, development assistance and appointment to senior official positions. However, the vast majority of the Druze community in the Golan Heights, which was captured from Syria by Israel in the 1967 war, considers themselves Syrians (less than 10% have accepted Israeli citizenship) and are not drafted into the Israeli army. See "In the Golan Heights, Anxious Eyes Look East," Isabel Kershner, The New York Times, May 21, 2011.
A measure of land dating from and still used in much of the former Ottoman Empire, including Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The measurement varies from place to place, but in Israel and the OPT, a dunam is equivalent to roughly 1,000 square meters. See definition on Middle East About website.
In 2006, excavations by the Israeli Antiquities Authority near the Al-Aqsa mosque sparked protests by Palestinians, as well as Muslims worldwide. Israeli officials said the digging near the mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem was necessary to rebuild and strengthen an access ramp to Mughrabi Gate, while certain Islamic authorities charged that Israel was undermining the foundations of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Though the excavations were under the access ramp of the Mughrabi Gate which leads to Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, the name Dung Gate Excavations was given due to its proximity to the Dung Gate entrance to the Old City. See "Olmert: Muslim opposition won’t deter Jerusalem excavation," Gideon Alon, Jonathan Lis, Yoav Stern and Jack Khoury, Haaretz, February 13, 2007; and "Work starts near Jerusalem shrine," BBC, February 6, 2007.
(1942-2008) A Palestinian writer and political figure. Best-known for his poetry, Darwish is considered the Palestinian national poet. He was also active in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and was a journalist and editor for many years. Darwish broke with the PLO in 1993 in protest of the Oslo Process, which he deemed as detrimental to Palestinian rights and statehood. See the Mahmoud Darwish website.
(1961- ) A Palestinian political and security figure, and a longtime member of Fatah. After the signing of the Oslo Accords, Dahlan was the head of the Preventive Security Forces in the Gaza Strip, later becoming the National Security Advisor, and served on the Palestinian Legislative Council. Dahlan was part of the Palestinian delegation to the 2000 Camp David (II) Summit. Dahlan was viewed with suspicion by many Palestinians because of his good relations with the U.S. and Israel, which led some to think of him as an agent, and, though he vocally called for reforms in the Palestinian Authority, PA) he was also accused of large-scale corruption. While heading the Palestinian National Security Council from 2006-2007, Dahlan was a key part of escalating the Hamas-Fatah conflict in Gaza. In June 2007, he led what some have called a failed U.S.-backed coup of the democratically elected Hamas government. After Hamas’s subsequent counter-coup and takeover of Gaza, PA President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the National Security Council and Dahlan was expelled from Gaza, going to the West Bank. Dahlan was elected to Fatah’s Central Committee in 2009 and then expelled from Fatah in early 2011 due to (unsubstantiated) allegations that he was involved in poisoning Yasser Arafat. As of 2015, Dahlan resided in Abu Dhabi, with a bitter split persisting between himself and Abbas. See "Exiled in Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Dahlan Dreams of Gaza," Dan Ephron, Newsweek, March 2, 2015; and "The Gaza Bombshell," David Rose, Vanity Fair, April 2008.