H

George Habash

(1926-2008) A Palestinian political and military figure. In 1967 Habash formed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a secular Palestinian resistance movement informed by Marxist ideas. Habash was often in opposition to Yasser Arafat, the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the leader of Fatah, and increased that opposition once Arafat began negotiations with Israel through the Oslo Process in the 1990s. In 2000, Habash resigned his leadership of the vPFLP, citing health reasons. See "Obituary: George Habash," Crispin Thorold, BBC, January 27, 2008.

Hadash

(a Hebrew acronym for "Democratic Front for Peace and Equality.") An Israeli political party that defines itself as a non-Zionist Jewish-Arab Party. Formed in 1977 to create cooperation between members of the Communist Party of Israel and non-members, Hadash supports a full Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and protection of worker rights and rights of low-income populations in Israel. As of 2015, the party’s leader is Ayman Odeh. See their website. See also "Hadash," Ynet News, February 4, 2008.

Haganah

(Hebrew for "defense") A Zionist paramilitary group formed in 1920 with the expressed goal of defending the growing Jewish population in British mandate Palestine against attacks by Arab residents. The group later became part of the Jewish resistance against the British presence. In addition to its paramilitary activities, the Haganah actively established new Jewish settlements in and supported illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine. Upon the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Haganah formed the core of the Israeli army. See Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001, Benny Morris, Vintage Books, 2001; and One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, Tom Segev, Henry Holt and Company, 2000. See also "The Army Called ‘Haganah,’" Sam Pope Brewer, the New York Times, Feb 29, 1948; and the official Haganah website.

Hamas

(Arabic for "zeal" and an acronym for "Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya" or "Islamic Resistance Movement.") A Palestinian political party and Islamist national movement. Founded in 1987 and ideologically and organizationally modeled after the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, Hamas is comprised of a militant wing responsible for armed operations, a political bureau, and a social services branch that helped it gain much support. In 2006, Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian legislative elections resulted in the end of Fatah’s long-standing political dominance, but their victory was dismissed by the Middle East Quartet and Fatah. A bloody Hamas-Fatah conflict followed. There is much controversy around whether Hamas is seeking to end the Israeli occupation of territories conquered in the 1967 War, or whether they are seeking to replace Israel with an Islamist state. Though Hamas’s charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, has not been changed, more recent statements and documents (including Hamas’s 2006 legislative program) indicate a willingness towards moderation on the question of Israel’s existence. Members of the international community, including Israel, the United States and the European Union, designate Hamas as a terrorist organization for its use of tactics that target Israeli civilians, such as suicide bombings and rocket attacks from Gaza, and do not recognize it as a legitimate government. Hamas signed multiple unity agreements with Fatah, the most recent being in April 2014, though as of May 2015, it had yet to be meaningfully implemented. See "Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector," Sara Roy, Princeton University Press, 2012; and Backgrounders, Hamas, Zachary Laub, Council on Foreign Relations. See also "Hamas drops call for destruction of Israel from manifesto," Chris McGreal, The Guardian, January 11, 2006.

Hamas-Fatah conflict

Also known as the Palestinian Civil War and as the Wakseh (Arabic for "self-inflicted ruin" or "humiliation"). The conflict between Hamas and Fatah began in January 2006 and has continued to greater and lesser extents until today (as of 2015), though internecine killings ended in 2009. Tensions rose in November 2004 when the death of Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat left a political vacuum in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Hamas’ dramatic win in Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006 challenged Fatah’s longtime dominance of the political scene. Members of the international community, including Israel and the United States, rejected the election results, and implemented sanctions on the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA). Fatah refused to join Hamas in a coalition, and the U.S. provided arms and training to Fatah. In February 2007, after a long political standoff and several violent clashes, Fatah and Hamas accepted the Saudi-brokered Mecca Accords and entered a short-lived unity government. It was dissolved in June 2007 when Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip, pre-empting a U.S.-backed Fatah coup against it, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved the unity government, calling for a state of emergency in the Fatah-dominated West Bank. Sporadic clashes between the two parties continued, but declined significantly after June 2007. After Egypt’s regime fell in February 2011, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank took to the streets calling for national unity, which led to the Cairo agreement brokered by Egypt in April 2011, paving the way for ongoing talks and negotiations between the two parties. Though a Fatah-dominated government remains in control of the West Bank and Hamas continues to control the Gaza Strip, both parties signed a new unity agreement in April 2014, the implementation of which has been delayed due to that summer’s Gaza War (also known as Operation Protective Edge) and its aftermath. See "The Gaza Bombshell," David Rose, Vanity Fair, April 2008. See also "Text Of The (2011) Agreement Between Fatah And Hamas," Palestine Monitor, May 3, 2011; and "Ramifications of the [no-lexicon]Palestinian[/no-lexicon] reconciliation agreement," May 2, 2011; and "Text of (2014) Fatah-Hamas Agrement," Jerusalem Post, Sept 24, 2014.

Haredi Judaism

Also known as Ultra-Orthodox, though the community itself considers this derogatory. It is the most traditional sect of Orthodox Judaism and requires a strict adherence to the religious practices and moral precepts outlined in the Torah and Talmud; this strict adherence can also include separation from others that don’t follow the same practices and a rejection of modern, secular culture. Haredi Jews largely opposed the establishment of the State of Israel, have traditionally been non-Zionist and, have not participated in national celebrations or events. Some Haredi Jews, however, participate in Israel’s political process for reasons of pragmatism. Mizrahi Haredi Jews (many of whom are represented by the political party Shas) are more likely to support the State of Israel than Ashkenazi Haredi Jews. The vast majority of Haredi Jews have historically been exempted from service in the Israeli army, though a law passed in March 2014 (called the Equal Services Law, which the Haredi community resisted fiercely) is paving the way for that to change. See "Israel passes law to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews into military," The Guardian, March 12, 2014.

Hebron

(al-Khalil in Arabic and Hevron in Hebrew) A Palestinian city in the southern West Bank, located 30 km south of Jerusalem. Est. population in 2007: 163,146. In the Old City of Hebron, there are over 500 Jewish settlers and a comparable Israeli military presence. Tension between the settler and local Palestinian population is high, with the Israeli army and settler population severely limiting the movement and security of Palestinian residents, through evictions, checkpoints, closures, and violent attacks at the hands of settlers, leading thousands of Palestinians from the Old City of Hebron to flee. The Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron (TIPH) has been present in the city since 1997, after requests by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to observe and report breaches of human rights law and regional agreements. The city is home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, known in Islam as the Ibrahimi Mosque, thought to be the burial site of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, a site sacred to both Muslims and Jews, and the site of the 1994 Goldstein massacre. See TIPH's website and the website of Youth Against Settlements.

Hezbollah

(Arabic for "Party of God") A Lebanese Shi’a Muslim political group with a military wing. Founded by Shi’a clerics in the aftermath of the 1982 (First) Lebanon War as a guerilla organization with the goal of driving out Israel’s invasion and occupation forces from South Lebanon. Hezbollah participated in Lebanese elections for the first time in 1992 and has since gained significant support as a political party. In May 2000, Hezbollah’s military wing declared partial victory as Israeli troops withdrew unilaterally from South Lebanon after two decades of occupation. Between 2000 and 2006, Hezbollah was the de-facto ruler in South Lebanon, as well as in parts of southern Beirut. Though United Nations Resolution 1559 called for the disbanding and disarming of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias in 2004, Hezbollah remains militarized, and is considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. It is a proponent of the Palestinian cause, and continues to demand Israeli withdrawal from the Sheba’a Farms, a small stretch of disputed land between Israel, Lebanon and Syria. In July 2006, Hezbollah and Israel engaged in hostilities after Hezbollah kidnapped two and killed three Israeli soldiers. The 2006 (Second) Lebanon War lasted 34 days. See "Backgrounder: Hezbollah," Jonathan Masters, Zachary Laub, Council on Foreign Relations.

Histadrut

(Hebrew for "General Federation of Labor") A trade union founded in 1920 to organize the economic activities of Jewish workers in Palestine. Established as a non-partisan, non-political organization, the Histadrut claimed to serve 75% of the Jewish labor force in Palestine by 1927 and exists today in Israel as both a provider and defender of full employment. See "The Labor Movement in Israel Ideology and Political Economy 1," Michael Shalev, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Holocaust

(a Greek word meaning "sacrifice by fire.") Also known as the "Shoah" in Hebrew. The Nazi-led persecution and murder of eleven million Europeans, including six million Jews, which were approximately one-third of the worldwide Jewish population. Rising to power in Germany in 1933, the Nazis believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that groups such as the Jews, the Roma, the physically disabled and homosexuals were "inferior" and thus did not deserve to live. The Nazis constructed the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," which included the annihilation of the Jews. During the time of the Holocaust, the Nazis also persecuted Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses and others. The Holocaust officially ended with the end of World War II in 1945. See the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.

House Demolition

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), 27,000 Palestinian structures have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the 1967 War, not including the destruction during the Gaza wars. A "structure" may be one family’s house, an apartment building that is home to multiple families, a factory, livestock pen, etc. Nearly half of those demolitions have taken place since the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000. The Israeli army and government cite security and the lack of building permits as their justification for demolishing homes. On the security front, the Israeli Army claims that it has demolished Palestinian houses (also factories and shops) either to prevent their use by Palestinians in attacks against Israelis, or as a punitive/deterrent measure against families from which a member is suspected of planning or carrying out attacks against Israelis. Israel abandoned the practice of punitive home demolition in 2005, but re-instituted it in 2014. In Rafah, Gaza Strip, 2,500 homes were destroyed in the border area with Egypt between 2000-2004. Israel says that the houses were concealing openings to smuggling tunnels, however, in the Human Rights Watch 2004 report "Razing Rafah," a pattern is described of razing entire blocks of homes in order to create a "buffer zone." Amnesty International called these home demolitions a form of collective punishment. Most of the Palestinian homes destroyed in East Jerusalem, certain parts of the West Bank and in Palestinian cities and towns within Israel are destroyed because they lack a building permit from the Israeli authorities. Building permits, however, are extremely difficult and at times impossible for Palestinians to obtain. The Israeli Army has on occasion also demolished structures constructed by Jewish Israeli settlers who did not obtain building permits, though these instances are much less frequent. See "Separate and Unequal," Human Rights Watch, December 19, 2010; and "Razing Rafah," Human Rights Watch, October 18, 2004. See also ICAHD’s website. See also the infographic "A Police of Displacement: Home Demolitions in the West Bank and Gaza," Visualizing Palestine.

Ismail Haniyeh

[1963-] Palestinian political figure. Haniyeh, who is from the Gaza Strip, is a senior leader of Hamas. He became politically active during his university days and was jailed several times during the First Intifada. Haniyeh was one of the 415 Palestinians deported to South Lebanon during the 1992 Mass Deportation. In 1997, he headed the office of the newly released Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. His prominence grew during the Second Intifada, due partly to his close relationship with Yassin, and partly to Israel’s attempts to assassinate him. In December 2005, Haniyeh was elected to head the Hamas list, which was victorious in the January 2006 legislative elections, ushering in his term as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. In 2007, during the Hamas-Fatah conflict, Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Haniyeh from his post, appointing Salam Fayyad in his place, a move that has been disputed as being illegal. Hamas continued to govern Gaza, however, with Haniyeh as the Prime Minister. Haniyeh is thought to have considerable wealth, much of it allegedly coming from taxes imposed upon the Gaza Tunnels. Considered a pragmatist, Haniyeh has indicated openness to negotiating with Israel, if and when Israel recognizes the rights of Palestinians. See "Rebel without a state: Evgeny Lebedev meets Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of Gaza," The Independent, Jan 7, 2012.

Theordor Herzl

(1860-1904) The founding father of Zionism. A Hungarian-born Jew, Herzl outlined his ideas in the famous 1896 pamphlet "The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question," stating that the only solution to the Jewish problem and anti-Semitism in Europe would be the establishment of a Jewish State. He organized the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland and served as the president of the World Zionist Organization until his death. See "Book review: ‘Herzl’s Vision,’ Herzl and the founding of Israel, by Shlomo Avineri," Jonathan Kirsch, the Washington Post, Jan 2, 2015.