An ancient name for the area between Syria, Egypt, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Jordan River; now approximately the same area as that covered by the state of Israel. The state of Palestine was proclaimed in 1988, but in exile, with the land in question under Israeli occupation.

Palestinian Authority

The official name of the Palestinian republic, which exercises self-government in parts of Gaza and the West Bank. Its leader since 1969 has been Yasser Arafat.


A legislative assembly in certain countries.

Persian Gulf

An arm of the Arabian Sea between the Arabian peninsula and Iran. It has been an important trade route since ancient times and gained added strategic significance after the discovery of oil in the region in the 1930s.


Substances containing the element phosphorus, for fertilizers and other uses.


A journey to a sacred place; a long journey or search, especially one of religious or moral significance.

PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization)

Founded in 1964, the organization works for an independent Palestinian state. The PLO is the official representative for the Palestinian people. Yasser Arafat is its chairman.


An organized massacre or persecution of a minority group, especially one conducted against Jews.


The form of government of a nation, state, or organization or the political organization itself, such as a nation.


The practice of having more than one spouse at a time.


The spreading of any information (true or false) in order to promote some cause, such as to assist or damage a person, idea, or institution.


A system which taxes foreign markets more than domestic ones.

protectorate status

The authority assumed by a larger or more powerful government or nation over a territorial unit, nation, state, or people in a specific location, whereby the former protects the latter from invasion and shares in the management of its affairs.