For WND, it's 'Judea and Samaria' – not 'West Bank'

 May 18, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Under the leadership of its founders Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, WND has committed to adhering to the "Biblical Heartland Resolution" passed recently by the National Religious Broadcasters convention, whereby participants pledge to use the terms "Judea and Samaria" when referring to the region in eastern central Israel, rather than the ubiquitous but misleading term "West Bank."

"NRB opposes the use of the erroneous term 'West Bank' to describe the biblical heartland of Israel and calls on its members to refer to the region by its historic name of Judea and Samaria," read the statement released by the organization at its national convention in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this year.

National Religious Broadcasters is an international association of evangelical communicators with 141 million Americans using Christian media at least once per month. The "Biblical Heartland Resolution" called for participating media to refer to the region solely as Judea and Samaria for the simple reason that this was the terminology of the Bible and has been used throughout history.

The resolution adopted the historically and biblically accurate terms of Judea and Samaria – or in Hebrew, Yehuda and Shomron – referring to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel. The term "West Bank," explained the resolution, is intentionally inaccurate.

The 1922 League of Nations’ decision to create the Mandate for Palestine allocated the entire region of Judea and Samaria for Jewish settlement. From 1949-1967, the region was illegally occupied by Jordan, which cleansed the region of Jews, prohibiting them from returning. The term "West Bank" was introduced by the Kingdom of Jordan to refer to Israel's occupation of the land on the west bank of the Jordan River from 1948-1950.

Some news organizations inaccurately describe the region as being "illegally occupied by Israel" when, in fact, international law does not recognize any country’s sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Many experts maintain that Israel has the most valid claim to the area, being the only national entity to have populated, developed and administered the area for the last 3,000 years.

However, Israel has withheld annexing Judea and Samaria, recognizing that the "international community" considers the region "disputed."

"Words matter in how we control the conversation and the language," said Troy Miller, president of the NRB, when the resolution was passed. He urged Christian media to reinforce the Jewish heritage of the land as recounted in the Bible.

"Younger Christians don’t understand that the 'West Bank' is within the biblical boundaries of Israel," he said. Miller also noted that the majority of the biblically significant locations are within Judea and Samaria.

"Judea and Samaria are the biblical heartland of Israel, which includes sites such as Hebron, Bethel, Shiloh and Shechem, along with many other places with rich biblical heritage," the NRB resolution stated. "The Scripture foretells both the exile and return of the Jewish people to Judea and Samaria (Jeremiah 31)."

The resolution noted that the terms Judea and Samaria also play a prominent role in the Christian Bible.

"The New Testament speaks of the region of Judea and tells of Jesus being born 'in Bethlehem in Judea' (Matthew 2) and references the prophet Micah, 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel' (Micah 5:2,4)," the resolution states. "Jesus passed through Samaria when he returned from Jerusalem to the Galilee and the region of Samaria and its people are referenced."

The resolution points out that the term "West Bank" has helped to advance a nefarious political agenda.

"Throughout history, enemies of the Jewish people have attempted to erase the Jewish connection to the land by renaming it – whether it's the Roman attempt to sever Jewish ties to the entire land of Israel by renaming it 'Philistia' (or the Greek 'Palestina') or it's Jordan renaming Judea and Samaria 'the West Bank,' or modern governments calling it the 'occupied Palestinian Territories' – the truth to the region’s identity lies in its biblical roots," the resolution explains. "Referring to Judea and Samaria as the 'West Bank' is an attempt to replace the region’s Jewish identity."

Just as intended by the Jordanians who coined the phrase, using the term "West Bank" is intended to sever the historical/biblical connection between the Jewish state and Judea and Samaria. This is an essential precursor to enacting the misnamed "two-state solution," which would create an unprecedented and militarized Arab state inside the borders of Israel, ethnically cleansing the biblical heartland of Jews and with an exclusively Muslim capital in Jerusalem.

The Biden administration has dedicated itself to the "two-state solution" and, toward this end, has funded the Palestinian Authority and advanced a policy of sanctions targeting Jewish Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria.

Indeed, the Biblical Heartland Resolution set the stage for David Friedman, Donald Trump’s ambassador to Israel, to present his "Plan for Lasting Peace" in the Middle East, which sidesteps the "two-state solution." Friedman emphasized that creating a Palestinian state in the wake of the horrific Oct. 7 attack would essentially reward Hamas for murdering Jews.

Unlike previous peace plans, Friedman's plan called for full Israeli sovereignty throughout what are currently Judea and Samaria’s areas A, B and C. (A is under full Palestinian Authority control, C is under full Israeli control, and B is militarily controlled by Israel and civilly controlled for Palestinians by the PA.)

The "two-state" agenda pits Biden against Trump. Like his former boss, President Barack Obama, Joe Biden is pushing a Palestinian state as a supposed path to peace in the region, essentially the same policy guiding U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East since the creation of the State of Israel. However, Donald Trump rejected this policy. He introduced the Taylor Force Act, which defunded the Palestinian Authority due to its policy of paying stipends to terrorists, and he defunded UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) due to its ties to terrorism.

Sidestepping the Palestinians entirely, Trump negotiated the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and four of its Arab Muslim neighbors, proving that the Palestinians have been the obstacle, and not the key, to peace in the Middle East.

Knesset Member Dan Illouz was at the NRB convention and enthusiastically praised the Biblical Heartland Resolution:

"Judea and Samaria is the historical heartland of the Jewish people," Illouz said. "Using any other terminology is just a trick to confuse people and ignore the simple fact: Jews are from Judea. That is where our name comes from! We thank our friends at the National Religious Broadcasters for taking this clear stance within Christian media, and I call on the Jewish media to do the same."

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