The language being used by the United Nations (UN) and its officials to characterise the unresolved 100-years old conflict between Jews and Arabs disqualifies the UN from having any meaningful role to play in ending that long-running dispute.
The Report to the Security Council on 30 November by Tor Wennesland – Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process – is the latest in the ongoing saga of semantic warfare being waged against Israel.
Wennesland’s Report is peppered with the following terminology that reeks of prejudice against Jewish claims but is heavily-biased in favour of Arab claims:
“Occupied Palestinian Territory”
“Occupied Palestinian Territory“ is in fact “Disputed Territory”: Territory which is claimed by both Jews and Arabs.
Use of “Occupied Palestinian Territory” rather than “Disputed Territory” signals that the UN does not accept Jewish claims to any of this “Disputed Territory “ – notwithstanding that article 80 of the UN’s own Charter preserves the right of Jews to live in that Territory for the purposes of reconstituting the Jewish National Home there under the terms of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.
The term “West Bank” was coined in 1950 to designate 4% of the territory of former Palestine west of the Jordan River - called “Judea and Samaria” for the previous 3000 years - which was unified with an additional 78% of the territory of former Palestine east of the Jordan River - called Transjordan - to form a new territorial entity renamed “Jordan”.
Wennesland’s use of the stand-alone term “West Bank” without any reference to its 3000 years old historic name indicates the immoral depths to which the UN and its officials have sunk.
After all - the UN itself had used the term “Judea and Samaria” in Resolution 181 (II) on 29 November 1947:
“The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River at the Wadi Malih south-east of Beisan”
The UN Special Commission on Palestine also used the term “Judea and Samaria” in its 1947 Report:
“...the interior of the country is very mountainous with the hills of Judea and Samaria in the centre”
Removing any possible identification with Jews and Jewish history by expunging any reference to “Judea and Samaria” – the Jewish People’s ancient and biblical heartland – exposes the UN’s anti-Jewish bias in papering over Jewish claims to this disputed territory in favour of an invented fake pro-Arab claim made for the first time in history in the 1964 PLO Charter.
“The Palestinian Authority”
On January 3, 2013 - the term “Palestinian Authority” was replaced by the term “State of Palestine” - when Mahmoud Abbas, acting in his capacities as President of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, signed “Decree No. 1 for the year 2013.”
Article 1 of the decree states:
“Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine.”
Article 4 states:
“All competent authorities, each in their respective area, shall implement this Decree starting from its date.”
What motivates the UN and its officials to still turn a blind eye to this official name change after almost 9 years?
The UN continues to lose its credibility, neutrality and impartiality as it and its officials use language and terminology which is antithetical to seeking an end to the Arab-Jewish conflict.
Sticks and stones won’t break the UN’s bones– but waging semantic warfare against Israel is certainly doing just that.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.
David Singer is an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.