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.


The Israeli Land Registration Bureau, a department within the Israeli Ministry of Justice; the word tabu is a holdover from Ottoman Turkish


A series of reforms in the Ottoman Empire undertaken between 1839 and 1876 that introduced administrative measures that laid the groundwork for the modernization of the Ottoman state. Their impact on the status of Jerusalem was significant insofar as the centralized system of government that they entailed destroyed the grip of local sheikhs, introduced administrative order, and helped to establish the prominence of Jerusalem over its surrounding rural countryside. A small number of local Jerusalem families emerged as power centers in this period, notably the Khalidis and the Husaynis, and they became the new elite.

Total closure day

A day on which no one with a Palestinian Authority ID is allowed to enter Jerusalem or Israel at all, even if they have a valid entry permit. In such cases, the entry permits for that day are cancelled, and the holder has to reapply all over again. A total closure prevents Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as their goods, from traveling into or through Israel. It also restricts the movement of Palestinians and goods within the West Bank itself. The Israeli army usually implements increased inspections, checking vehicles, passengers, and persons on foot at permanent and temporary Israeli military checkpoints. Also, Palestinians and shipments are blocked from entering or exiting crossings to Jordan.