Israel's Army Radio Head Orders Staff to Stop Using 'West Bank,' Calling It a Palestinian Expression

The term 'the territories,' should be used instead, station director Yaron Dekel says; while the station added that the directive is not new

Army Radio Director Yaron Dekel
Irad Atzmon-Schmayer

The director of Israel's Army Radio, Yaron Dekel, has ordered the station's journalists not to use the term "West Bank," saying in a notice sent to staff that "it has been adopted by Palestinians and the left. Instead, he wrote, the term "the territories" should be used.

In the period during which Dekel, who will be stepping down in four months, has run the station, he has changed Army Radio's programming, recruiting staff identified with the right, claiming that the station's programming had been too closely identified with the left wing of the Israeli political spectrum.

In a response to the report, Army Radio said the directive on the use of the term "West Bank" was not new: "In his role as editor-in-chief and as he sought during his entire tenure, the commander of Army Radio [Dekel] has again asked to make use of a neutral term that is not biased."

Army Radio also noted that the Israeli army - of which the station is a part - uses the term Judea and Samaria rather than West Bank, "which has been adopted by the Palestinian narrative."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frequently refers to the area as "the West Bank" in statements as well as in speeches before the United Nations.