West Jerusalem

Refers to the section of the city of Jerusalem that is west of the Green Line that was drawn in 1949 as part of the Armistice Agreement following the 1948 War and the division of the city between Israel and Jordan. Before 1948, this part of the city was commonly known as the “New City,” which was established at the end of the 19th century outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. After the 1948 Nakba, the parts of the city that came under Israeli control (i.e., West Jerusalem) were almost completely emptied of Palestinian Arab inhabitants, who were forcibly displaced or elected to seek temporary safety elsewhere. They fled to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, among other places, and then the state banned them from ever returning. Today, West Jerusalem encompasses an area that is much larger than its pre-1948 predecessor (the “New City”) and extends farther to the west, almost halfway to the Mediterranean Sea. The term came into more common usage after the 1967 War, because Israel occupied the eastern part of the city, and so the term was used to distinguish between the two parts of the city that were now both under Israeli control—the western (Jewish) side and the eastern (Arab) side.