'via Blog this'Judea and Samaria, located west of the Jordan River, with Jerusalem approximately in the center, are historical parts of the Land of Israel. They are currently called the "West Bank", a name created by Jordan after the War of Independence in 1948 when Arab armies overran Judea and Samaria. Despite the fact that virtually the entire world rejected Jordan's annexation, and even after Israel drove the occupiers back across the river in the 1967 Six Day War, the phrase "West Bank" has stuck, and is used to the near total exclusion of any other.
The mountains of Judea are first named in the Book of Joshua, in the account of the conquering of Canaan by the Israelites during the creation of the Land of Israel. From that time to the present, more than 3,000 years, the name Judea has been consistently used to describe the territory from Jerusalem south along the Judean mountain ridge line, extending east from the mountains down to the Dead Sea.
The hill country north and west of Jerusalem has been known as Samaria since the days of King Jeroboam, first king of the breakaway ten northern tribes of Israel after the death of King Solomon.
Judea and Samaria have been known by these names for unbroken centuries, and were registered as such on official documents and maps, by international institutions and in authoritative reference books right up to about 1950. When the correct names became a problem for Palestinian Arabs trying to make their newly-minted claim on the land, it somehow became "politically correct" to use "West Bank" or "occupied territories" instead of the historically accurate names Judea and Samaria.
Photo © Jack Hazut
View of Judean Mountains
Some examples of reference works using the names Judea and Samaria:
- A map published by the US State Department designating the Middle East's "Military Situation" on July 18, 1948 calls the "Arab held" area north of Jerusalem "Samaria"
- In A Survey of Palestine prepared by the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in December 1945 and January 1946 the authors used the titles "Judea" and "Samaria" as a matter of course when referring to what later became the "West Bank"
- In United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 adopted November 29, 1947, the world body referred to Judea and Samaria by those historical names
- Every edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, up to the latest (1994) writes extensively concerning the areas politically called the West Bank, and calls them by their historically accurate names: Samaria and Judea. The fact that the "West Bank" is not mentioned once in the 1954 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica indicates just how recently this title entered popular usage, and just how quickly, and deeply, it has taken root.