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      From the Hills of Efraim
      by Yisrael Medad
      This blog will be informative, highlight foibles, will be assertively contentious and funny and wryly satirical.
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      Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem.  He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981. 

      Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History.  He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes.  He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.

      He also blogs at MyRightWord in English and, in Hebrew, at The Right Word.

      Sivan 20, 5769, 6/12/2009

      The Natural Growth Of The "West Bank"


      As you probably are aware, an American citizen whose child is born in Jerusalem, anywhere is Jerusalem, east or west, will have his birth registration and passport marked as being stateless.  Just "Jerusalem" will be penned in on the line.

      Now, there's something new, seemingly as of last year.

      If a child is born at home in one of the Jewish communities in Yesha, the registration of birth and passport will carry (Shiloh or Efrat or Hebron), "West Bank".

      That is an amazing "natural growth" phenomenom.  Creating a country where there isn't one.

      Official channels - American Citizen Services, Special Consular Services at the Jerusalem Consulate General - I turned to explained: "If a child is born in the West Bank, whether they are Israelis or Palestinians, place of birth on the U.S. passport is either the city (Efrat, Ramallah, etc.) or the area – the West Bank in that case."

      But the "West Bank" doesn't exist as a geo-political entity. The 1947 UN Resolution referred to Judea and Samaria. There's nothing "natural" in this.

      What gives?

      Well, I searched and came up with this:

      7 FAM 1360 APPENDIX D BIRTH IN ISRAEL, JERUSALEM, AND ISRAELI-OCCUPIED AREAS (CT:CON-254; 04-29-2008)

      U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 7 – Consular Affairs 7 FAM 1300 Appendix D Page 11-13

      ...b. Birth in the Golan Heights: The birthplace that should appear on passports whose bearers were born in the Golan Heights is SYRIA.

      c. Birth in the West Bank or in the No Man’s Lands between the West Bank and Israel: The birthplace for people born in the West Bank or in the No Man's Lands between the West Bank and Israel is WEST BANK; Those persons born before May, 1948 in the area known as the West Bank may have PALESTINE listed as an alternate entry. Those born in 1948 or later may have their city of birth as an alternate entry. Persons born in the West Bank in 1948 or later may not have Palestine transcribed as an alternate entry.

      d. Birth in the Gaza Strip: The birthplace for people born in the Gaza Strip, is GAZA STRIP. PALESTINE is the alternate acceptable entry provided the applicant was born before 1948.

      e. Birthplace in Israel: Write ISRAEL as the place of birth in the passport if and only if the applicant was born in Israel itself (this does not include the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, the West Bank or the No Mans Lands between the West Bank and Israel). Do not enter ISRAEL in U.S. passports as the place of birth for applicants born in the occupied territories.

      f. Birthplace in Jerusalem: For a person born in Jerusalem, write JERUSALEM as the place of birth in the passport. Do not write Israel, Jordan or West Bank for a person born within the current municipal borders of Jerusalem. For applicants born before May 14, 1948 in a place that was within the municipal borders of Jerusalem, enter JERUSALEM as their place of birth. For persons born before May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, enter either PALESTINE or the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation. For persons born after May 14, 1948 in a location that was outside Jerusalem’s municipal limits and later was annexed by the city, it is acceptable to enter the name of the location (area/city) as it was known prior to annexation...

      And it goes on.

      So, first contemplate this: if my child's passport reads just "Jerusalem" as his/her birthplace, could it be that he/she/ was born in Jerusalem, New Zealand? Or Jerusalem, Georgia, United States of America? Or in Michigan? Or Maryland? Or either Ohio, Alabama, North Carolina or maybe Arkansas? And what about Jerusalem, UK?

      Which Jerusalem then is it if no country is added?

      As we all know, even in Washington, the name "West Bank" was apparently first used by Jordanians at the time of their annexation of the region in 1950, and has become the most common name used in English and some of the other Germanic languages.

      So, in other words, the "West Bank" which doesn't really exist as a geo-political entity, and let us not forget as I was reminded, that in 1988, Jordan yielded any claim to represent the Arabs who prefer to be called "Palestinians", now takes precedence over a city 3000 years old which was the capital of the two Jewish commonwealths during the monarchy, the First and Second Temple periods and throughout the years of exile?

      This is politics at its worse.

      As there is no such a thing as "West Bank" for, if the US claims it is sticking to the 1947 UN Resolution as its basis, the WB never existed even then, and I would argue that not even now does it officially exist as a geopolitical entity.

      But even so, can a Jew or anyone for that matter, since alternatives are allowed, ask that the terms "Judea" or "Samaria" since "Gaza" is permitted? Why not?

      And let's continue our search for names that would illustrate the silliness of the State Dept. attempt to whitewash geopolitical reality.

      Hebron, Wales
      Palestine, Texas, US
      Bethel, Alaska (maybe Governor Sarah Palin can help?)
      Bethel in the Berkshires that's CT
      Bethel, Anglesey, Scotland

      But now contemplate this: the Consulate officilas want to reverse history.  If, perhaps,  previous children were born in Yesha, but not registered in accordance with the new regulation, their passports would have to be amended the next time they are renewed.

      This must be countered.

      P.S.  All those locations above are real.