Lexicon

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.

Seam zone

A closed no-man’s-land area running along both sides of the Green Line, including in Jerusalem, established unilaterally by Israel. The Seam zone was declared closed by Israeli military order in October 2003. It is 340 kilometers long and ranges in width from a few kilometers to 20 kilometers.

Second Intifada

A mass Palestinian uprising against Israel’s military occupation, the second in about a decade. The Second Intifada erupted on September 28, 2000, when the leader of the Israeli opposition at the time, Ariel Sharon, entered the al-Aqsa Mosque with the approval of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and protected by about 2,000 Israeli soldiers and special forces. For this reason, it is also known as the al-Aqsa Intifada. Confrontations took place between worshippers and the armed forces, and this then escalated outward.

The Second Intifada was notable in that it merged Palestinians’ guerrilla warfare experience in Lebanon with the experience of the First Intifada in the occupied Palestinian Territories, which consisted mainly of protests and boycotts. It also was the last uprising to date in which the Fatah party remained at the head of the Palestinian political establishment, marking the beginning of the fragmentation of Palestinian politics. The Second Intifada ended without declaration, and its end date is disputed; many put its end in 2005, while others say it continued until 2007. By 2007, 4,228 Palestinians, 1,024 Israelis, and 63 foreigners had been killed, more than 50,000 Palestinians injured, and approximately 52,635 arrested.

Separation Wall (al-jidar)

A massive, meandering barrier made up of concertina and electronic fences and high concrete and stone walls (mostly alongside urban areas). The wall is accompanied by land ditches and security roads on each side, electronic motion sensors, a host of hi-tech surveillance cameras, watchtowers, military-run checkpoints, and agricultural gates with restricted access. It began to be built by Israel in 2002, ostensibly as a “border barrier” separating between Israel and the West Bank, and for security reasons (which is why it is also referred to in Israeli discourse as an “anti-terrorism fence” or a “security barrier”). Construction remains uncompleted, but the projected length of the structure (760 km) is twice that of the Green Line, and the majority (85 percent) of the wall’s route actually winds deep within the occupied West Bank (including Jerusalem—see Jerusalem Envelope), carving out 9.4 percent of the occupied Palestinian territories and effectively unilaterally establishing a new border that has no basis in law, diplomacy, or any type of concern for Palestinian lives and communities.

Effectively, the wall has functioned to attach the greatest amount of Palestinian land to the state with the fewest number of Palestinians, and it has worked to disrupt, fragment, and isolate Palestinian communities across the West Bank and separate many of them from their agricultural, social, and economic infrastructures and resources.

The wall is commonly referred to by Palestinians as the Apartheid Wall “jidar al-fasil al-o’nsori  or just the Wall (al-jidar). 

Settlement

Colony established by the State of Israel solely for Jews. Before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, these colonies were established by the Zionist movement (Yishuv). Thereafter, the state established and expanded residential and industrial settlements throughout the lands of pre-1948 Palestine to house the influx of Jewish immigrants. The sizes of these settlements range from single-person outposts (often the early harbinger of a settlement to come) to entire cities. The continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which Israel occupied in 1967, is one component of the case that Israel continues to flout international law, which forbids the transfer of a civilian population into occupied areas.

Settlement belt

A structure of de facto continuity between Israeli settlements. Israeli planning of settlements is anchored by the principle of creating territorial continuity between them, either by locating them adjacently and/or by connecting between them through a shared transportation infrastructure. 

Settlement enclave

Settlement outposts in Palestinian neighborhoods, usually composed of adjacent Palestinian homes taken over by settlers, that are expanded upon and connected to one another, forming legally and infrastructually autonomous apartment complexes or compounds in the heart of Palestinian neighorhoods.

Settlement in Palestinian neighborhood

Existing Palestinian home or land in urban area targeted by settler organizations seeking to establish a presence that can be expanded and then legitimized by the government (see also settlement outpost). This is how Israeli settlement blocs have developed in Hebron, the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City, and in neighborhoods around the Old City. These might be just one room forcibly taken by settlers, backed by the Israeli security apparatus and the courts. Settlement enclaves then develop as individual settlements are connected to form apartment complexes or compounds (such as Har HaZeitim on the Mount of Olives) managed by settler organizations. The City of David settlement in Silwan, an archaeological tourist site and national park, links with nearby Palestinian homes that have been taken by settlers; private settler organization Elad and Israeli city officials work together to provide services and support to this enclave.

Settlement neighborhood

Settlements built up in East Jerusalem under Israeli municipal jurisdiction that take the shape of “urban neighborhoods” in the city. Their location within the Israeli municipal boundaries means that despite their illegality under international law, Israel treats them as de facto annexed territories, as though they were part of West Jerusalem or any Israeli urban centers within the Green Line. These settlements are administered by and receive services, resources, and budget allocations directly from the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality. In contrast to the settlements in the neighboring occupied West Bank, these settlements do not have any fences surrounding them or security guards at their entrances. This gives the impression that they are part of the city’s urban landscape, as anywhere in West Jerusalem or in Israel, for that matter.

Settlement outpost

Established by settlement organizations to gain a foothold in the West Bank in areas that are not yet planned for settlement by the Israeli government. For this reason, outposts are considered “illegal” in Israeli law, irrespective of the fact that all settlements are illegal under international law. Even though they are established by nongovernmental groups, settlement outposts often enjoy sponsorship and financial support from politicians and ministries. They often consist of a few mobile homes and are not initially connected to Israeli infrastructure. Over time, however, outposts are legalized retroactively and granted recognition by the Israeli government at a later date (as was done with Ofra settlement, for example). Sometimes, outposts are established nearby but outside the official planning boundaries of an existing settlement, so that the Israeli government can easily sanction an “expansion” of that settlement and connect it to the existing infrastructure.

Settlement ring

Coming Soon

Settlement, rural

Built in the Jerusalem environs and connected to its city center with bypass roads, these settlements offer affordable housing for Israelis or Jewish settlers from abroad who want to be close to Jerusalem. They have their own commercial centers, parks, touristic and industrial enterprises, and networks of military checkpoints. Their geographical jurisdictions are separate from Jerusalem and include municipalities and local and regional councils falling under the military administration of “Judea and Samaria”—how Israel refers to the West Bank. They include the Matei Binyamin regional council, the Gush Etzion regional council, the Ma’ale Adumim municipality and local council, and the Givat Ze’ev jurisdiction.

Settlement, suburban

Built in the Jerusalem environs and connected to its city center with bypass roads, these settlements offer affordable housing for Israelis or Jewish settlers from abroad who want to be close to Jerusalem. They have their own commercial centers, parks, touristic and industrial enterprises, and networks of military checkpoints. Their geographical jurisdictions are separate from Jerusalem and include municipalities and local and regional councils falling under the military administration of “Judea and Samaria”—how Israel refers to the West Bank. They include the Matei Binyamin regional council, the Gush Etzion regional council, the Ma’ale Adumim municipality and local council, and the Givat Ze’ev jurisdiction.

Sharia

Islamic law based on the Quran and the Sunna

Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum

Signed in Egypt in September 1999, stipulating additional Israeli withdrawals of 11 percent of the West Bank in three stages, a release of 350 Palestinian prisoners, the creation of a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and construction of the Gaza seaport. The agreement was never implemented, and US President Bill Clinton sought to shortcut negotiations by holding the Camp David summit in July 2000. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat could not come to agreement on final-status issues, and both Israeli and US officials blamed Palestinians when the talks failed. The result was that in September 2000, the Second Intifada broke out, and hardliner Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel in 2001.

Shuhada

Arabic for martyrs (sing.: shaheed), the term Palestinians use to refer to those who are killed by Israeli forces during politically motivated attacks aimed at defending or protecting their people and its national rights and dignity.

State-authorized settlement

Settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory planned and built by Israeli state and military authorities. Two examples include Ma‘ale Adumim and Giv’at Ze’ev. The political ideology of settlers who live in these settlements is diverse and may not be right-wing.

Stay permit

One of at least 100 different types of permits Israel requires Palestinians with Palestinian Authority (Green) IDs to obtain to access Jerusalem. Specifically, this permit is for nonresident spouses of Palestinian permanent residents with Israeli IDs who live within the municipal boundaries of the city. Because family unification was banned in 2000, Israel introduced the stay permit in 2006 as a means of granting occasional “exceptions” to the ban, allowing such “nonresident spouses” to “stay” in the city legally with their spouses for periods longer than those allowed by other entry permits. Control over its issuance and approval lies entirely with the COGAT, and the application process is long, involved, and unpredictable. Only men aged over 35, women aged over 25, and children aged over 13 may apply.

If granted, the stay permit allows the spouse or child without an Israeli permanent-resident ID to live legally within the city boundaries for a defined period of time, usually a year or two. The applicant must reapply to renew the permit after that time. The holder of this permit only has the right to stay, sleep, and work (on a working permit similar to foreign workers) in Jerusalem or Israel. Holders of this permit do not have any civil and social rights in Jerusalem or Israel. For example, they cannot drive a car, open a bank account, or obtain healthcare. (Some limited numbers of exceptions were made mainly for humanitarian reasons.)

The COGAT can revoke the stay permit for an individual or for all holders of such permits at any time without notice.

Stern Gang (Lehi)

A militant group that broke away from the Irgun, an underground Zionist paramilitary group, in 1940. (The label “Lehi” is the abbreviation of Lohamei Herut Israel, which translates as “Fighters for the Freedom of Israel.” Because the group was founded by Avraham Stern, it is also known as the “Stern Gang.”) The Lehi targeted Palestinian communities and British Mandate forces and was regarded as a terrorist organization. It was responsible for notorious acts of terrorism, including the assassinations of Lord Moyne, minister of state for the colonies, in 1944, and Folke Bernadotte, the Swedish UN mediator, in 1948. It also attacked railways, airfields, and strategic installations. During the 1948 War, the Lehi joined forces and command structure with the Haganah and committed several offensives and atrocities, among them the Deir Yasin massacre of April 9, 1948, during which more than 100 Palestinian noncombatants were killed. (News of this massacre contributed to the flight of Palestinian families to neighboring countries for safety; their wartime exodus turned out to be permanent.) The Lehi was later disbanded and some of its units merged into the Israeli army in September 1948. Yitzhak Shamir, a Lehi leader, later became prime minister of Israel.