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From Nakba To Intifada: A Glossary Of Terms From Israel-Palestine Conflict

This is a glossary of terms that dominate the discourse around the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict.

From Nakba To Intifada: A Glossary Of Terms From Israel-Palestine Conflict
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Nakba: In Arabic, Nakba means ‘catastrophe’ or ‘disaster’. In 1948, around 7,00,000 Palestinians—almost 80 per cent of the total population—had been expelled from their homeland giving birth to Israel. Every year Palestinians observe Nakba Day on May 15 to commemorate the mass displacement. 

PLO: Palestine Liberal Organisation—a multi-party confederation—is the internationally recognised representative of Palestinian people. Founded in 1964, it initially sought to keep the borders of Palestine intact. But later it changed its stance during Oslo Accords in 1993 and agreed to accept Arab state within Palestinian territories. Despite its renouncement of violence, it allegedly participated in second Intifada. Since 2018, it has stopped all forms of economic and security cooperation with Israel. 

Hamas: The full name of the organisation is H.arakah al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah meaning Islamic Resistance Movement. Shortly after the first Intifada, Palestinian activist Ahmed Yassin formed Hamas. Against their secular counterpart Fatahs, Hamas gained popularity rejecting the Oslo Accords during late 1990s. In 2006, they won the Palestinian legislative election and took control of Gaza Strip. Though a few times Hamas came on the discussion table tending to accept the 1967 borders as a solution, their continuous engagement in suicide bombing and offensives against civilians brought on them the tag of terrorists.

Sabbath: In Judaism, every Saturday is considered to be the day of ‘Sabbath’ (Shabbat/Shabbos), a day for religious observance. Tragically, several attacks and hate crimes against the Jewish people in the past have taken place on the day of Sabbath. In 2002, 12 Israeli Jews were ambushed and killed by Palestinian resistance militants following Friday Prayers in the West Bank city of Hebron, becoming a flash point between Jew and Arab conflict.

Intifada: Intifada or Intifadah in Arabic means resistance. The first Intifada or organised uprising of Palestinians against Israeli occupation dates back to December 1987. While this uprising went on for six years ending in 1993 Oslo Accords, the second Intifada gathered strength in the 2000s. 

Zionism: Zionism is the Jewish nationalism movement that had the singular goal of the creation (or re-establishment) of the Jewish national state in Palestine which Zionists consider to be the ancient homeland of Jews. The movement was established as a political organisation in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann. While Israel was formed in 1948, essentially ending the mandate of the Zionist movement, Zionist organisations in many countries continued to raise financial support for Israel and to encourage Jews to immigrate there.

Al Aqsa: Located in the Old City of Jerusalem in Israel, the Al-Aqs.ā Mosque has been at the centre of the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict for decades. Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammad was miraculously transported to this mosque from Mecca. But the Jews believe it to be the site of the mythic Temple Of Jerusalem. As of now, sections of the mosque plaza are open to Jewish worshippers. Since the Six Day War of 1967, Israel has occupied East Jerusalem and the Old City but the mosque remains under the custodianship of the Islamic Waqf board maintained by Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty. But Palestinian Muslims often claim to face harassment and restrictions in accessing the mosque.

Kibbutz: Kibbutz in Hebrew means ‘gathering’ or ‘clustering’. It is known as an intimate society that voluntarily resides together to build up a cohesive lifestyle. The society engages in different forms of productions ranging from farm goods to high-tech industrial products. Taking its ideological cue both from socialism and Zionism, the first Kibbutz was founded in 1910 and gradually it started participating in state formation. According to the available data, in 2010, there were around 270 Kibbutz in Israel with a population of 1.26 lakh.

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Fatah: The full name of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement or Fatah is H.arakat al-tahrīr al-watanī al-Filastīnī. Founded in 1959 as a political movement and in 1965 as a political party, Fatah has been the largest faction of the PLO, the multi-party confederation. Fatah’s foundational leader Yaseer Arafat has been one of the major faces of Palestinian resistance for years until his death in 2004. In 2006, Fatahs lost their political clout and majority in Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to Hamas.

—Compiled by Abhik Bhattacharya and Rakhi Bose

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