Terminology in the Jerusalem context can be complex and also controversial. Words and their meanings shape narratives. Our Lexicon goes beyond standard definitions and also offers, where applicable, nuanced shades of meanings that matter to Palestinian Jerusalemites.

Gafni Committee

An interministerial committee established in 1972 to examine the rate of development in Jerusalem. The committee was headed by the chief of the finance ministry’s budgets department, Arnon Gafni. It determined that Israeli authorities must maintain the existing demographic balance of 73.5 percent Jews and 26.5 percent Palestinians in order to keep hold of a Jewish majority in the city.

Gaza-Jericho Agreement

The executing agreement of Oslo I, signed in May 1994 by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and also called the Cairo Agreement. As part of the implementation of the 1993 Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel, the Israeli military withdrew from Gaza and Jericho, while PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and other officials returned from exile in Tunisia and formed the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Paris Protocol was part of the Cairo Agreement, establishing the basis for economic relations between the PA and Israel. The protocol remains in force today and essentially subordinates the Palestinian economy to Israel’s, preventing Palestinians from collecting VAT and import taxes or creating their own currency. The Gaza-Jericho Agreement was superseded in September 1995 by the Oslo II Agreement.

General Custodian

The Israeli state body that is responsible for managing or overseeing assets that allegedly belonged to Jews prior to 1948, until they are “reclaimed” (i.e., given over to Jewish ownership).  Established in 1948; part of the Justice Ministry.

Government Decision 3790

A decision adopted by the Israeli government in May 2018 under the formal title Decision 3790 for the Reduction of Socio-economic Gaps and Economic Development in East Jerusalem; allocates a budget of NIS 2.2 billion (approx. USD630 million) over a five-year period to six main areas: education and higher education; economy and employment; transportation; improving civil services and quality of life (leisure, water and sewage infrastructure); health; and land registration. While this is the first time since 1967 that the government took steps to address critical needs in East Jerusalem, it remains to be seen which population will actually benefit from these efforts.

Greater Jerusalem

A 440 sq km region encompassing Jerusalem and its suburbs that Israel seeks to annex onto the municipal borders already annexed in 1980. Most of this land—75 percent—is part of the occupied West Bank. It includes, in addition to Israeli municipal Jerusalem, three major settlement blocs to the east, south, and north of the city, respectively, each with its own regional and local self-government: Ma‘ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, and Giv’at Ze’ev. These settlements, constructed on confiscated Palestinian public and private lands, have been expanded, developed, and connected to one another and to Jerusalem’s urban core through bypass roads—most of which are inaccessible to Palestinians with Palestinian Authority (PA) identity cards. The Knesset has considered plans to officially annex the region several times, only to delay the move due to international pressure. Completion of this vision will create an Israeli geographic center in the West Bank that is inaccessible to most Palestinians, and ultimately divide the West Bank into two separate parts without East Jerusalem, the stated Palestinian capital.

See Israels Vision of a Greater [Jewish] Jerusalem.

Great Palestinian Revolt

The first popular Palestinian uprising in modern Palestinian history. Also known as the Arab Revolt or the Great Revolt, the uprising lasted more than three years and was sparked by mass Palestinian protests against Colonial British Mandate policies. Specifically, Palestinians protested the ongoing influx of Jewish immigrants to Palestine and Britain’s sale of Arab lands to these Jewish settlers, which came at the expense of the Palestinian fellahin (farmers). As a result of these policies, which had been worsening the plight of Palestinians since Britain occupied Palestine in 1917, Palestinian workers went on a general strike across Palestine starting on April 19, 1936. During the strike, which lasted until October 1936, British Mandate forces violently repressed Palestinians. In turn, this caused a new wave of Palestinian resistance—led by Palestinian farmers—that lasted until the summer of 1939.

British Mandate forces ultimately suppressed the revolt, killing 3,832 Palestinians and injuring over 14,000. As a result of the revolt, the Palestinian nationalist movement was crushed, with several of its leaders, including Amin al-Hussaini, sent into exile. The revolt also led to Britain lending further support to Zionist militias like the Haganah, and to the weakening of Palestinian military power, including as a result of Britain’s seizure of much of their weapons. Indeed, the revolt was so traumatic for Palestinians, it directly impacted their ability to confront Zionist militias throughout the 1948 War.

Green Line (The 1949 Armistice Agreement Line)

The Green Line refers to line that was drawn on a map in green ink in 1949 as part of a set of armistice agreements following the 1948 War between Israel and the Arab countries that fought against it: Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. While the line according to the agreements was supposed to be considered temporary and unofficial, it is commonly treated as the de facto border of Israel and the basis upon which agreements are negotiated and reached with neighboring rival Arab states. It served as the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. In the country as a whole, the line separates pre-1967 Israel from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and the Arab states around it. In the specific Jerusalem context, this line (and the no-man’s-land Seam zone around it) divided between West Jerusalem, which became part of the state when it was established in 1948, and East Jerusalem, which was annexed to Jordan until 1967. 

Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful)

An Orthodox Jewish, messianic, right-wing settler movement, formally established in 1974 by Israeli soldiers who fought in the 1973 War. Its purpose was to promote the Jewish settlement of the territories occupied in 1967 based on biblical claims to the land, and with the intent of creating “facts on the ground”—regardless of government policy. The movement dwindled once the 1977 Likud government made West Bank settlement part of its official platform. Today’s Yesha Council succeeded Gush Emunim as the formal umbrella organization of the settler movement in the 1980s. Other Gush Emunim members joined Ataret Cohanim, Torat Kohanim, and the Young Israel Movement, which envisioned settling the Old City and its surroundings, and replacing the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque with a Jewish temple.