Important Faces
Important Places
Historic Time Line


cease-fire (SEESE-fire): A period during a war when both sides agree to stop fighting.

committee (kuh-MIT-ee): A group of people who are chosen to discuss issues. The committee then makes decisions for a larger group. In the Middle East crisis, a committee will be formed to find the causes of the recent violence.

compromise (KOM-pruh-mize): To agree to something that is not exactly what you wanted. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak both need to compromise to end fighting in the Middle East.

conflict (KON-flict): A serious disagreement. A conflict can also be a period of fighting.

guerrilla (guh-RIL-uh): A member of a small group of fighters that attacks an official army.

holy city (HOH-lee sit-ee): The ancient city of Jerusalem. In this area (which is only about half a square mile), Christian, Islam, and Jewish holy sites overlap. Some sites are literally on top of others. Palestinians and Israelis are fighting over control of this area.

intifada (in-tee-FAH-duh): An Arabic word for uprising. Palestinian demonstrators have been chanting "intifada," as well as holding banners declaring intifada. The term refers to a Palestinian protest movement that began in the late 1980s. In that uprising many protesters, including children, threw rocks at Israeli soldiers.

Islam (ISS-luhm or iz-LAHM): A religion that is based on the teachings of the religion's founder, Muhammad. People who are called Muslims believe in the religion of Islam.

mediate (MEE-dee-ate): To work with groups who disagree. Mediating helps groups settle their differences.

militant (MIL-uh-tuhnt): A person who is willing to fight to support a belief.

Muslim (MUHZ-luhm): A person whose religion is Islam. Muslims believe that the religion's founder, Muhammad, speaks for God.

negotiate (ni-GOH-shee-ate or ni-GOH-see-ate): To discuss different sides of an issue. The discussions are meant to lead to an agreement.

negotiator (ni-goh-shee-ate-tor): A person who is involved in a discussion to help reach an agreement. In the Middle East crisis, many people were negotiators, including former President Clinton, United Nation Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

peace treaty (PEESE tree-tee): Formal agreement between two or more countries. The agreement promises that the countries will not be at war.

Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) (pal-us-TIN-ee-an lib-er-AY-shuhn or-guh-nuh-ZAY-shuhn): Led by Yasir Arafat, the organization hopes to liberate the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem from Israeli rule. The organization also wants to form an independent Palestinian state.

protester (PROH-test-tor): A person who objects to something. Protesters are very public and loud about their opinions. In the Middle East, many protesters have become violent.

Ramadan (ram-uh-DAHN): One of the five Pillars, or basic institutions, of Islam. During the month-long fast, Muslims neither eat nor drink between dawn and dusk. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It begins and ends with the sighting of a new moon. Considered a time of worship and contemplation, Ramadan is a time to strengthen family and community ties. For more information and Ramadan stories, check out Ramadan on the Net.

Zionism (ZYE-uh-nizm): A political movement that began in Europe in the 1880s to create a state of Israel in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of the current state of Israel.

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