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.

Jaffa Gate

The English name for one of the seven open gates in the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. See also Bab al-Khalil

See The Gates of the Old City for more detailed information.

Jerusalem Envelope

In Israeli discourse, this term refers to the 202 km segment of the Separation Wall, built variously as concrete wall and chain-link fence, that envelops Jerusalem, encapsulating the whole Israeli-envisioned “Greater Jerusalem” region from the south of Ramallah to the west of Jericho and down southwards into Bethlehem, embracing all of the major settlement blocs in the Jerusalem region and linking them to the city of the Jerusalem, while dissecting Palestinian spaces and fragmenting and entrapping Jerusalemite communities within different enclaves.

Jerusalem governorate (Muhafazat al-Quds)

The district of Jerusalem as defined by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1995. It was established alongside 15 other governorates, when the PA took on its administration as per the Oslo Accords. The governorate (or district; in Arabic, Muhafazat al-Quds) includes a wide area between Ramallah in the north and Bethlehem in the south, extending eastward as far as the Dead Sea. The governorate and its agencies are subordinate to the Ministry of Local Government and headed by a governor, who is appointed directly by the PA president. While the governorate includes the area controlled by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, it has no jurisdiction over that area. For this reason, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics divides the governorate into two subdistricts: J1 (which coincides with Israeli municipal Jerusalem) and J2 (which is the remainder of the Jerusalem governorate that falls within the West Bank and is under PA authority). However, J2 is also mostly under Israeli control as 89 percent of the district is Area C, while 10.6 percent of it is Area B, and less than 1 percent is Area A.

See Where Is Jerusalem?, J1, and J2.

Jewish National Fund

Established in 1921 to purchase land for Jewish settlement in Ottoman-era Palestine, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) continues to be a significant landowner in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT). In 1953, the JNF was dissolved and reorganized as an Israeli company under the name Keren Kayemeth LeYisrael (KKL-JNF), while a governmental agency, the Israel Land Administration, was tasked with administering land that is in the public domain, including JNF land holdings state land, and land that is the property of the Development Authority (comprising 93 percent of the land in Israel). Rights organizations have repeatedly petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to challenge the discriminatory role of the JNF—whose funds are only allocated for Jewish settlement—in governing land use in Israel.

Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property

A Jordanian government institution that once handled property claims created by war. The Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property was established to handle property taken from Jews in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during and after the 1948 War, once the area came under Jordanian control. The Fourth Geneva Convention (1950) established that the acquisition of property by an occupying force is a war crime. After Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli government declared properties owned by displaced Palestinians from the area as absentee property to be confiscated. At the same time, it continues to use the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property law (annulled by Jordan in 1967) to confiscate Palestinian lands, declaring this to be “property recovery.”

Jus cogens (or ius cogens)

Refers to certain fundamental, overriding principles of international law (from Latin: compelling law; from English: peremptory norm). There is near-universal agreement for the existence of the category of jus cogens norms, as mentioned in Article 53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT): “[A] treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law.” However, in practice, the attempt to classify certain rules, rights, and duties as peremptory norms has not been very successful. Examples of jus cogens norms include prohibitions against crimes against humanity, genocide, and human trafficking.