by Yehudit Shier Weisberg
In the first part of this article, I reviewed the history of the terms “Palestine” and “Palestinian” and demonstrated how the use of these terms support Arab propaganda. In the present article, I will discuss additional terms that are commonly used which hurt Israel and the Jewish people.
“Pro-Palestinian”: This term is used to describe many NGOs (non-governmental organizations). Disregarding the fact that the “Palestinian people” were created as a propaganda feat to help defeat Israel, the fact that these organizations do NOT try and help Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians’ must be publicized. Where were the howls of protest and boycott campaigns by these NGOs when, from March to September 1991, about 200,000 “Palestinians” were expelled from Kuwait in a systematic campaign of terror, violence, and economic pressure while another 200,000 who fled during the Iraqi occupation were denied return? Where are their campaigns and protests against the discrimination that Arabs who are defined as “Palestinian refugees” suffer at the hands of Arab states? In Lebanon, for example, these Arabs are legally barred from owning property and legally barred form entering a list of desirable occupations. We should not give these NGOs the cover of being “pro-Palestinian”, and expose them for what they are: anti-Israeli.
The “West Bank”: Where did this strange name come from, and when? Before the Mandate for Palestine was unanimously approved by the League of Nations in 1922, the Mandate that gave Britain the obligation to help turn this territory into a sovereign Jewish state, Britain split the territory into Cis-Jordan (this side of the Jordan, meaning west of the Jordan River) and Trans-Jordan (the other side of the Jordan River). Trans-Jordan, which comprised over 77% of the original territory that was to become the Jewish homeland, became the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan, while Cis-Jordan continued to be called “Palestine”. By the end of the genocidal war that the Arabs declared against the newly formed State of Israel (“This will be a war of extermination, and a momentous massacre”, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League stated), the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan had occupied Judea and Samaria, and murdered and expelled -“ethnically cleansed” – all Jews, who lived there. Jews have lived continuously, for thousands of years, in Judea and Samaria – the heartland of the Jewish people. The name “Jew” comes from Judea! As a result of the war, the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan occupied territory on the west side of the Jordan River. They dropped the Trans and became known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. But there still remained a problem. Judea and Samaria were the names that had been used for these areas for thousands of years. Official British and Ottoman records used the names Judea and Samaria, which were also used by the Encyclopedia Britannica until 1950. But “Judea and Samaria” are Jewish names! And so, like Hadrian in the year 136, the Jordanians realized that it was crucial to rename Judea and Samaria, the names that had been used for these areas for thousands of years, in order to try and erase the Jewish connection with this land. As Jordan now had territory on the west side of the Jordan River, they renamed Judea and Samaria the West Bank. Who ever heard of a bank of a river that is 32.3 miles, or 52 kilometers, across?
Any time we use the term “the West Bank” instead of Judea and Samaria, we are contributing to the attempt to erase Jewish history and connection to this land. Write to Jewish papers to correct their continued use of the term “the West Bank” because it supports Arab propaganda and denies our history.
“1967 borders”: At the end of the Arab war against Israel, armistice agreements were signed, in 1949, between Israel and neighbouring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. These 1949 Armistice agreements were never recognized as borders: “The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary… (the Israel–Egypt Armistice Agreement, 24 February 1949 ).“No provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party…the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations. (Israel – Jordanian Armistice Agreement, April 1949). Once again, when we use the term 1967 borders, and don’t challenge its use, we imply that there were recognized borders with legal implications. This is not the case. When we use the term “1967 borders” there is a suggestion that these are the legitimate borders of the State of Israel, and these borders should be the basis of any agreement. We must challenge the use of the term “1967 borders”, and use the proper term, “the 1949 Armistice agreements.”
“The Green Line” Where did this term come from? During the talks to determine the Armistice Demarcation Line (see above), green ink was used. That is the origin of this term! Yet so many people, including Jews, state that no Jews should live beyond “the Green Line”.
Language is very powerful, and influences the way people think about a situation. In the third part of this series, I will discuss the terms “occupied territories” and “the two-state solution”.