Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

The New York Times has taken more concerted efforts to balance the narrative between Muslims and Jews regarding the holy city and sites in Jerusalem. It has not taken such efforts elsewhere where it only uses an Arab narrative.


The holiest site in Judaism is “The Temple Mount” in Jerusalem, due to the fact that it was the location of Judaism’s two temples which existed from roughly 954BCE to 70CE. The Jewish King Herod built the Temple Mount platform specifically for Jewish use to ease access and flow to the Second Temple. To this day, it continues to be the direction of all Jewish prayer.

In Islam, that holy site is called the “Noble Sanctuary”, or “Bayt al-Maqdes” or “Al-Haram al-Sharif”. It is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, both located in Saudi Arabia. The Noble Sanctuary holds the Al Aqsa Mosque and the shrine known as the Dome of the Rock.

Historically, the New York Times would reference the names that both religions ascribed to the holy site, typically with the Jewish name first (the Temple Mount), and later in the article, it would use the Islamic name (Noble Sanctuary). More recently, the Times would use both names in the same sentence, and occasionally use the Islamic name first, followed by the Jewish name.


However, when it comes to other sites in the region with different names from the two peoples, the Times excludes the Israeli terminology: specifically, “Judea and Samaria”. For such region, the Times will only use the term “West Bank”, except if an Israeli is quoted using the name Judea and Samaria.

Interestingly, the West Bank never existed as an entity until 1949, and was never even referred to by the United Nations Security Council until 1953. In comparison, Judea and Samaria, which cover more area than just the West Bank, have existed for thousands of years.

The “West Bank” came into existence after five Arab armies attacked Israel in 1948. The armistice lines established in 1949 at the end of the war with Jordan became known as the “Green Line” as the line was drawn in green on the maps. The haphazard demarcation did not follow any historic, political or geographic contours, but was simply where the warring parties stopped fighting. The area east of the green line eventually became known as the West Bank.

In the years following the 1948 Arab attack on Israel, every United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution regarding the “Palestine Question”, never mentioned Palestinians as a discrete people or the “West Bank” and Gaza as entities. Each resolution referred to the various parties in the conflict being Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The term “west bank (in lower case) of the Jordan” only showed up for the first time in 1953.

The term “West Bank” is an Arab artifice and highlights the short, violent and illegal Arab rule of the area:

  • It was achieved in an offensive war to destroy Israel
  • The duration of Arab rule only lasted for 18 years 1949-1967
  • Arab rule of the West Bank was never internationally approved (the UNSC never voted on the April 1950 Jordanian annexation of the area)
  • Was administered counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention (the Jordanians and Palestinians deported all of the Jews out of the territory)

The exclusive use of the term “West Bank” gives a false impression that the territory has a long history of Palestinian Arab rule. Further, in never using the term “Judea and Samaria” for the region, the UN, the New York Times and others, distance Jews and Israelis from lands that they lived in for thousands of years.

As the New York Times and other publications now give equal weight to “the Temple Mount” and “Noble Sanctuary”, they should do the same for “West Bank” and “Judea and Samaria”. Alternatively, it could use neutral nomenclature such as EGL- East of the Green Line.



2014 NYTimes Noble Sanctuary first, then Temple Mount (11/19/14):

2014 NY Times mentioning Temple Mount and Noble Sanctuary at the same time (10/31/14):



Only calling it the “Al Aqsa compound” and not the “Temple Mount” (9/17/14):

2013 NYTimes mentions Temple Mount and only later Noble Sanctuary (10/15/13):


2009 NY Times only mentions Temple Mount (10/26/09):

UN mentioning “west bank of Jordan” for the first time in 1953:

Related FirstOneThrough articles:

The Green Line

The EU’s Choice of Labels: “Made in West Bank” and “Anti-Semite”

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Honor Killings in Gaza

The Unmentioned Murders of the Middle East

Honor killings have a sad history throughout the Muslim world. Many families deliberately and systematically kill wives and daughters if there is any suspicion of the women bringing “dishonor” to the family. The cause of such shame may come from actual or feared adultery, refusal to marry a designated spouse, or even dressing inappropriately. The cultural rationale for the honor killings is that by murdering the offending women, honor is restored to the families.

Gaza and the West Bank are similar to other parts of the Muslim world regarding the reasons for honor killings. However, the recent spike in the number of killings in the territories has been very dramatic and atypical. In 2011, there were five such murders in the territories. The number of homicides jumped to 13 in 2012, and doubled again to 27 in 2013. In just the first two months of 2014, 8 honor killings were reported by Palestinian media sources, a pace that would have put it on course for nearly doubling again.

By comparison, in Afghanistan an estimated 150 women are killed each year in honor killings. Afghanistan has over eight times the population of Gaza and West Bank, and 18 times Gaza alone. Therefore, on a proportionate basis, the Palestinians now kill twice as many women in honor killings as Afghanistan (or over three times as many if one only counts Gaza where most of the murders take place).

Adding insult to these horrific murders increasing popularity, was the lax way such murders were treated in Palestinian courts. According to the Palestinian Law (Article 340), the killers were not subject to any punishment.

He who discovers his wife or female relative committing adultery and kills,
wounds or injuries one or both of them is exempted from any penalty,
and he who discovers his wife, or one of his female ascendants or descendants
or sisters with another in an unlawful bed and he kills, wounds or injures one
or both of them, benefits from a reduction of penalty

The terrible jump in honor killing of women in Gaza and the West Bank did not make it to the pages of The New York Times. The courts absolution granted to the murderers was not a subject that the Times decided to cover. In 2011. In 2012. In 2013. In 2014.

The closest the New York Times came to an article about the Palestinians’ disregard for a woman’s life in the territories was in an article by Jodi Rudoren in October 2012. That article was about a particular women’s rights advocate. While one would imagine some specifics about the lack of women’s rights and a review of honor killings being covered in such an article, there was barely any mention.

  • There was no description of honor killings
  • No report on the increasing number of killings
  • No review of Palestinian Law absolving the murderers

Instead, Roduren chose to describe the difficulty of a specific woman acting as a rights advocate in Gaza (as opposed to the hardship all women face in Gaza). Of course, according to Roduren, the main source of the hardship was Israel:

  • ““psychological siege” imposed by a combination of Israeli restrictions on travel and trade”
  • “lost a personal battle last month when Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by her and three other women to study in the West Bank.”
  • “the resistance of the Israeli occupation as a priority,”
  • Israeli court ruled, 2 to 1, against the four women
  • “Israeli warplane hit an apartment building”

So what does a reader take-away from the New York Times?

    1. While the New York Times occasionally covered stories of honor killings in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it never covered those killings in Gaza, despite the greater prevalence in Gaza.
    2. When the paper had a chance to describe the honor killings in Gaza in an article about a woman’s rights advocates, it opted not to do so.
    3. The thrust of the sole article on the morbid topic laid most of the blame on Israel, as opposed to the Palestinians themselves

Hooray New York Times. You gave a pass for Mulim misogyny and murder meted out by Palestinians. Absolution of the Arab sins came from Jews just across the Green Line.

It would be much more convenient for the left-wing fringe if Israel bordered Pakistan and Afghanistan as well, so they could blame Jews for the entire reprehensible ritual.



Jump in 2014 Honor Killings and Palestinian Law Article 340:

Jodi Rudoren NY Times 2012 article on Honor Killings:

CNN coverage of honor killings back in 2009:

Alternatives for Punishing Dead Terrorists

Some media pundits and politicians have questioned the logic of destroying homes of terrorists after those terrorists have been killed. The question as to whether it deters terrorists is impossible to answer as no one knows how many violent actions did not occur because of the home demolition policy that Israel enforced in 2014 against Arab murderers.

As Palestinian Arabs often talk about the importance of “dignity and pride”, perhaps there are some alternative punishments that Israel could administer to the dead murderers. As there is no dignity in intentionally murdering innocent civilians, these evil monsters’ memories should forever be cursed and their names erased. Perhaps attacking their memory broadly and publicly would dissuade others from taking such action.

Here are a few ideas from FirstOneThrough:

  • Place their image on scented pucks that sit at the bottom of urinals, making for excellent target practice (for men at least)
  • Make a small sticker with their name that could be put on the bottom of people’s shoes to trample (the bottoms of shoes are considered very degrading and insulting in Arab society)
  • Name the street where the murderer lives after the victims
  • The families of the murderers would forever forgo any type of compensation for homes lost/ abandoned in 1948
  • If a Palestinian official calls a murderer a “shahid” which means “martyr” in Arabic, all official Israeli publications should anoint such person the title of “Shatty” as in “we denounce the actions of Shatty Abdelrahman Shaludi”. Other variations like “Sharmoota baby” are acceptable (Sharmotta means whore).
  • Any photos used of the suicide killer should have a superimposed camel’s anus for his mouth
  • A bonfire should be made each year at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, where people can write their curses on pieces of paper with the murderers likeness on it, and then toss the picture and curse into the fire

The expense for these items can be taken from a special surtax on the murderer’s families.  The amount of the charge will exactly equal the amount of money that terrorist sympathizers hand the families as “reward” for the disgraceful sick murder of innocents.

I’m sure the Facebook generation can come up with additional ideas.  Please share them. Here are some suggestions thus far:

  • Print the faces of the murderers on toilet paper
  • Do not return the bodies of the murderers to the families. Instead bury them near garbage dumps or at sea OR do not tell them what was done with the bodies at all
  • Every murder should be met with a huge fund-raiser for the Friends of the IDF
  • Every murder is met with a new construction project
  • All new buildings that are put up in Jerusalem or settlements will be named after victims.  Some suggest naming them after the attacker
  • Deport the murderer’s family to Gaza, Jordan or Syria
  • Revoke all working papers for the family
  • Demolish the homes- the family is complicit in the murder. Some suggest demolishing surrounding homes too
  • Celebrations on behalf of the murderer should be treated as incitement to terror and a jail-able offense for all participants
  • Every act of terror should be met with the distribution of guns to all Jews in the neighborhood where the crime took place
  • All Israeli ammunition should be coated in pigs blood to dissuade Arabs from seeking a path to Paradise
  • Take world funds destined to rebuild Gaza to support the victims’ families



Home demolition:

Arabic curse words:

Article 17 of the Palestinian Charter: “The liberation of Palestine, from a human point of view, will restore to the Palestinian individual his dignity, pride, and freedom. Accordingly the Palestinian Arab people look forward to the support of all those who believe in the dignity of man and his freedom in the world.”

Salaries for suicide bombers:

FirstOneThrough article on Collective Guilt/ Collective Punishment:

Hope versus Hate. The Anthems of Different Peoples.

In the two and one-half weeks since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped, the government of Israel dispatched hundreds in search parties to find the boys, called “Operation Brothers’ Keeper.” The citizens of the country, and Jews and civilized people around the world, hoped and prayed for the boys’ safe return. The reactions were emblematic of Israel’s culture: to actively pursue – by physical and metaphysical means – a better future. A future that includes life and peace for its entire people.

The reaction from Israel’s Arab neighbors was also emblematic of their culture. Hamas spokesman Khaled Mashaal said “If it turns out the kidnapping really happened, I welcome it.” The mother of one of the men accused of the kidnapping, Amer Abu Aysha, said that “If he truly did it – I’ll be proud of him till my final day.”

Those sentiments of hatred can be found throughout the Arab and Muslim Middle East in their national anthems. Country after country have songs calling for death, vendetta and martyrdom, as seen in the video below. These are not army marching songs, but the values that are instilled in the people every day before soccer matches and graduations. Here is a small sample:

We all sacrifice for you, we supply you with our blood” – UAE

Our martyrs’ souls are formidable guardians” – Syria

We will drink from death” – Iraq

Palestine is my vendetta and the land of withstanding” – Palestinian Authority

A life of dignity and a death of glory” – Tunisia

We never betray the call for sacrifice, death” – Sudan

On our dead we build glory” – Algeria

May God take my life” – Turkey

We are your sacrifices” – Libya

Remember through my joy, each martyr” – Yemen

The Kurdish youth are ever-ready And always prepared to sacrifice their lives To sacrifice their lives, to sacrifice their lives” – Kurdistan

These aspirations stand in sharp contrast to the national anthem of the Jewish State of Israel, a democracy in the middle of the Middle East.  Israel’s anthem is called “Hatikva”, which means “The Hope”.

Our hope of 2000 years is not lost. To be a free people in our land- the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”