Wednesday, June 10, 2009

West Bank Dictionary

West Bank Dictionary : Dry Bones cartoon.
The terminology that the media uses conveys so much! And we, the consumers of their news reports, are often so uninformed and/or unthinking that we swallow the hook embedded in the tidbits that they feed us. So it is that, on the West Bank, Jews live in "settlements" while Arabs live in towns, villages, and cities. And while we're at it there's the term "West Bank" itself.

Like most folks, I'm comfortable with "West Bank" as a neutral, innocent, geographical phrase ..while the use of "Judea and Samaria" is politically motivated and is what the "settlers" and right wing Israelis call it ...right?

Actually that's wrong! It's another rewrite of history that we've swallowed. Consider the following:

"They (Judea and Samaria) are the definitive and proper political and geographic names for the region and have been in general use since Clearchus, a disciple of Aristotle. These two areas have no other names. These names were used during the League of Nations Mandate period. They appear in British government documents, United Nations documents including the UN Partition Plan of 1947. They appear in U.S. State Department documents, including a July 18, 1948 map. Even as late as 1961, the Encyclopedia Britannica refers to “Judaea” and “Samaria” in an article on “Palestine” (Vol. 17, p. 118).

Trans-Jordan illegally invaded Judea-Samaria in 1948 and as a result of its aggression occupied that region. It then unilaterally annexed the area on April 4, 1950, which was recognized by only two nations, the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

The Arab League, their Muslim supporters, anti-Israel elements and anti-Semites, deliberately sought to rob the region of its correct political and geographic name. They had to fabricate a brand new name for they could find no other name for the territory. Mislabeling was their technique of disinformation and de-legitimization. The “West Bank” was the name concocted by King Abdullah I of Trans-Jordan and his British advisors, allowing the king to annex land outside of his artificially “created” kingdom. He then changed the name of his kingdom twice, first to “The Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan” but that was quickly rejected since it gave the appearance of a kingdom only along the banks of the Jordan River. The name then was changed again to the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.” The term “West Bank” eradicates all Jewish historical connection to the area. It is a sad commentary that many in the West, including the political left, many Israel’s supporters, some Israelis themselves, as well as the naive and self-delusional who think the name does not matter, have acquiesced to this unilateral change of names and use it in common parlance. But the name does matter." -more

Below: I've circled the Judea and Samaria regions on this detail of a French map of the area from 1791.

French map, 1791

Your thoughts?

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