Focus Group Middle East:
Palestinian Territories

The Palestinian Territories might well just be the most controversial areas in the world.  After the creation of the state of Israel in 1947, the Palestinians found themselves in the hundreds of thousands crowded into refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in other parts of the Arab world.  Some Palestinians look at Israel as the cause of their exile from Palestine -- areas now within the borders of Israel.  Certain Palestinians joined Arab militaries to fight Israel, but after numerous the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) came into being under the leadership of Yasser Arafat.  The PLO waged a war of terrorism against Israel and Western nations, but it suffered blows when it was expelled from Jordan by King Hussein in 1971 and Lebanon by the Israelis in 1981.  The Palestinian struggle then turned to the next stage: the Intifada.  Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip rioted against Israeli police and soldiers in violent street demonstrations year after year.  The Hamas organization also started a campaign of terror against Israel in the form of bombing campaigns.  Nevertheless, the peace process has made progress and now the Palestinian Authority with Mr. Arafat as their leader cooperates with the Israelis in governing the West Bank and Gaza Strip territories.  Moreover, at some future date authorities in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories hope to settle the other outstanding issues and achieve peace in the area.

Questions to keep in mind:  Why did Palestinians leave their homes and flee in 1947?  Did any massacres take place? What form did Palestinian resistance to Israel take in the 1960's through the 1980's?  Who was the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization?  What happened in "Black September"?  What happened in Lebanon in the early 1980's to the PLO?  What is the "Intifada"?  Where did it occur?  Why?  What were the Oslo Agreements?  What did they hope to do for the future?  How were they going to bring this about?  What will future peace negotiations be about?  How do the Israelis and Palestinians hope to bring about a final peace?  Who are the "Hamas"?  What are their tactics?  According to Hamas, do they target innocent Israeli civilians?  According to Hamas, should the United States support Israel?  Why, or why not?  Does Israel even exist, according to them?  What are the relations between Hamas and Arafat's Palestinian Authority?


Start here and read everything at: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at Yahoo!  Also check out all the links at Open Directory's Israeli-Palestinian section, as well as this linkThis site also has tons of links to explore.  Range far and wide in search of information over the World Wide Web!  This is a good general link about Palestine, as is this one.

Read this  Interview with Mr. Arafat, but keep in mind it is from back in 1995.  Another Arafat link.

Check out the Palestine section of Britannica.  Read all the articles!  Cool links!

Also, read all about Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the Palestinian group Hamas.  Check out every link about Yassin (both audio and text).  Listen to and read an interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal the man Israel's Mossad secret service tried to kill, which caused the crisis that led to Yassin's release as a concession by Israel. He says Hamas does not set out to kill Israeli civilians but will 'defend itself' by any means necessary.  Watch an interview with Yassin in a Jordanian hospital on October 4, 1997. Israel says these kind of comments show he is changing his outright hostility to the Jewish state.  In Hamas, Israel and the Jews, you will find an account of a personal encounter in 1994 which sheds more light on the subtle but all-important gradations of ideology and struggle between the Jewish state and Hamas.  An Overview of Hamas puts the latest developments in a broader context.  Finally, read No concessions - Israel does not exist'.

BBC News | PEACE IN THE BALANCE | Israel and the Intifada - In the 1980s, the Israeli government found it increasingly difficult to control the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the Intifada began.  Gaza: Full Scale Battle of the Intifada Newsreport,as well as some poetry from the Intifada and a historical account of the uprising and Intifada Diary: Ten Years After.  This is a good general link about the Intifada.

Check out the following Hamas websites: Charter of the Hamas, Truth about Hamas, the Unofficial Hamas Website, and this Hamas Website and this one.  Read many good articles about Hamas at Britannica!  Read many good articles about Hamas at Britannica!

Check out all these Jim Lehr Newshour reports carefully:

September 2, 1999 -- Trying for a Deal Hasan Rahman, chief of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Lenny Ben-David, chargé de affairs at the Israeli Embassy, discuss why there was no new deal today between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

December 15, 1998 -- Middle East Peace Update President Clinton met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat today at the border of Palestinian controlled Gaza and Israel.

October 23, 1998 --Interim Agreement Three Middle East experts, discuss the progress of the talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

October 21, 1998 --Close To A Deal? Are the Israeli and Palestinian leaders making progress in their talks?

November 5, 1997 --Peer Pressure The political choices facing Palestinian Authority Chairman Arafat.

November 3, 1997 --Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu Israel's Prime Minister on the latest round of Mideast peace talks.

August 8, 1997 -- A Fragile Peace? Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians continue to rise after a recent bombing in a Jerusalem market, leaving security cooperation between the two groups in limbo.

July 30, 1997 -- "Barbarous Act" The U.S. has condemned the Hamas "suicide bombers" who killed 14 and injured 150 in Jerusalem. Israel has called on Yasser Arafat to arrest those responsible. What's next for peace?

May 28, 1997 -- Rating Arafat's Rule Experts analyze criticisms by fellow Palestinians that PLO leader Yasser Arafat is an autocrat who has abused human rights, condoned corruption, and ignored parliamentary procedure.

April 7, 1997 -- Peace In Jeopardy With peace in the Middle East becoming increasingly fragile the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with President Clinton to try and salvage what remains of the 1993 Oslo Agreement.

March 24, 1997 -- Partnership Ending? Have the violent and divisive events of the past weeks in Israel and Palestine pushed a teetering peace agreement into the abyss?

March 4, 1997 -- Lines In The Sand Netanyahu recently approved a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and President Clinton have criticized the proposed neighborhood as detrimental to the peace process.

February 13, 1997 -- The Road Ahead President Clinton and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today to discuss the state of the Middle East peace process. They discussed where the talks should go following the Israeli and Palestinian agreement over the town of Hebron.

January 15, 1997 -- A Possible Breakthrough After terrorist attacks, a shooting incident by a Jewish solider and months of negotiations, a final deal on the Israeli withdrawal from Hebron appears imminent.

June 3, 1996 -- Hebron Charles Krause gauges the public mood for the future of its largely Palestinian residents

December 18, 1996 -- Words Of Warning PLO leader Yasser Arafat has called Israel's plans to offer financial incentives to Jewish settlers on the West Bank ''a ticking bomb"; eight former U.S. foreign policy chiefs concur in a letter to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

October 15, 1996 -- Warren Christopher The Secretary of State, just back from abroad, discusses his recent trip to Israel, where he worked to revive peace talks with the Palestinians, and to Africa, where he went to better understand regional conflicts.

October 3, 1996 -- King Hussein King Hussein of Jordan shares his views on the recent violence in the Middle East and emergency summit in Washington. While he once thought the peace process irreversible, the King now thinks last week's pitched battles between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters could destroy the hope created by the 1993 signing of the Oslo agreements.

October 2, 1996 -- Seeking Solutions America's Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, gives his inside view of the Middle East peace talks between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat of Palestine.

October 1, 1996 -- Face To Face After separate talks with President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met one on one in a White House session lasting three hours.

September 30, 1996 -- Emergency Summit Diplomatic efforts by the United States paid off today, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat agreed to come to Washington, DC, to try to mend the latest tear in the fragile fabric of peace. After an update on today's events, Jim Lehrer talks to a Palestinian-American professor, an Israeli journalist and an American diplomat about the prospects for peace.

September 27, 1996 -- Trouble In Palestine As Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers continue to battle and shed blood for a third day, many ask if the peace process will ever recover. After this background report on the latest struggles, Charlayne Hunter-Gault discusses the situation with former Secretary of State James Baker and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

September 26, 1996 -- Blood Shed In Gaza 37 Palestinians and 11 Israelis have died in a second day of fighting, which began during a protest over a tunnel near a Muslim Holy site in Jerusalem. A background report from Independent Television News is followed by a discussion with Palestinian and Israeli officials, and Jim Lehrer.

March 4, 1996 -- Israel Reacts Following the third terrorist bombing in eight days, the Israeli government declared war on the Hamas, a militant Palestinian organization opposed to the current peace plan.

March 4, 1996 -- The Palestinian Reaction While Yasser Arafat, the president of the new Palestinian Authority, continues to condemn the series of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, militant Islamicist continue to take credit for the bombings.

October 24, 1995 -- PLO Chairman Arafat Yasser Arafat, chairman of the PLO, and head of the Palestinian authority now exercises self-rule in Jericho and the Gaza Strip

This page has tons and tons of links for you to explore. Use caution when exploring these links:  Hamas Covenant (Verbatim English Official Version), Hamas Communiques (at assabeel online), Izz al-Din al-Kassam Brigades, Palestine Times, Islamic Association for Palestine, Sawt al-Haq wal-Hurriyah (Voice of Truth and Freedom), Islamic Movement is Palestine 48, Palestine Children's Relief Fund, Unofficial Hamas Website, The Hamas Covenant (Israel Foreign Ministry Translation), Covenant of the HAMAS Covenant Main Points (Israel Foreign Ministry), HAMAS Background and History (Israel Foreign Ministry), Political Leader Mousa Abu Marzook, Hamas: Radical Islam in a National Struggle, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (Sept 97)The Truth About Hamas - By Ahmad Rashad, Prof Isreal Shahak on the Popularity of Hamas, Prof Isreal Shahak on Hamas' Prestige, Dr. Eyad Sarraj: Why We Have Become Suicide Bombers, A Chapter from the Office of International Criminal Justice's

The Rise of Hamas in Palestinian Society - A Book ReviewADL's Nizkor Project: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood: Islamic Extremists and the Threat to America, Is HAMAS Extremist ? : Harakah Online, HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement): Internet Resources on Hamas, Counter-Terrorism Page, "Leaders of Hamas and Islamic Holy War, Brief Histories" .. Pictures 100 Portes: HAMAS, HAMAS: Painful Wake-Up call for HAMAS, Palestinian Islamists: The New Generation, Where do the HAMAS kamikazes come from?, From Nakba (Great Calamity) to Thawra (Revolution) to Intifada (Uprising) Fateh, Hebron Institute for Political and Religious Studies, and Islamic Association for Palestine. Human Rights Abuses in Islamic Countries