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.


An Arabic nisba (a name that indicates a person’s place of origin, family, or tribal affiliation) referring to a person from Jerusalem (al-Quds). 


Classification of land under Ottoman and British Mandate law denoting land for public use, such as for roads; means "leftover"


Classification of land under Ottoman and British Mandat law denoting land which is not owned or used by anyone; vested in the government ("dead")

Metropolitan Jerusalem

The 1,000 km sq planning region encompassing Jerusalem and its suburbs and hinterlands, including the Ramallah region in the north and the Bethlehem and Hebron region in the south, where Israel is developing and connecting rural Jewish settlements and satellite settlements to the urban core as well as to one another following various master plans.

See Greater Jerusalem

Military governor

A military official who exercises authority over civilian population in an occupied territory


Classification of land under Ottoman and British Mandate law denoting land leased from the state; also included common and communal lands; cultivation was required for the lessee to use the land; leaving the land fallow for more than three years would result in dispossession.

Mount Scopus enclave

Enclave in the eastern part of Jerusalem that came under United Nations protection between the 1948 and 1967 wars. After the division of Jerusalem into a Jordanian-controlled East and an Israeli-controlled West as an outcome of the 1948 War, the UN afforded Israel partial sovereignty over land on Mount Scopus. The enclave included Israeli-run institutions such as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Hospital, as well as the Palestinian village of al-‘Isawiyya.


Classification of land under Ottoman and British law denoting privately owned land; individuals able to prove cultivation for 10 years were given a title (koshan) of ownership


Classification of land added under British Mandate law denoting lands under the control of the government by treaty, convention, agreement, or succession; lands acquired for public purpose; collectively held land, such as by a village

Muslim Brotherhood

Founded in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, the Muslim Brotherhood is the largest, oldest, and most influential Islamist society in the world. Its mission is to Islamize society. It advocates a return to the Quran and the Sunna as the basis for a healthy modern Islamic society. It works to this end through legal, social, and political means. It has Brotherhood affiliates in Jordan, Palestine, Kuwait, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and Bahrain, and wields influence also in North Africa.