By Mazin Qumsiyeh


Caught in the Crossfire:        When Palestinian civilians are killed


Retaliation:                            When Israeli army or settlers kill Palestinians


Escalation                               (synonym/can be used interchangeably with Provocation)

                                                Any act of violence or resistance by the Palestinians


Murdered:                              When Israeli Civilians are killed


Brutal/cowardly/ghastly:        Adjectives describing attacks on Israelis


Self-defense:                          Any act of violence by Israelis


Terrorism:                              Any act of violence by the Palestinians


Civilians:                                Armed settlers are civilians when killed. Try to avoid this term for Palestinians.


Neighborhoods:                      Areas inhabited by Israelis settlers especially if targeted by shooting (light guns)


Positions:                                Any Palestinian towns and villages especially when bombed by helicopter

                                                gunships or ranked with large caliber machine guns


Tragedy:                                 Any Israeli death


Deserved:                               Any Palestinian death


Squatters:                               Palestinian natives


Democratically:                      synonym for Israel


Disputed Areas:                     Any Palestinian or Arab land occupied by Israel in defiance of International law.


Anti-Semite:                           Person condemns Israeli violations of Palestinian civil and human rights.


Victims:                                  Any Jewish Israeli


Attacker:                                Any Palestinian engaging in any form of resistance (violent or not).

Also see terrorist.


Targets:                                  Palestinian buildings, homes, offices -What the Israeli military designates as

military. targets


Attack/bombing/murder:        Acts the Palestinians commit when directed at Israelis.


Clashes:                                  This is a difficult term to understand but is generally used when Palestinians die


Measures                               (e.g. Economic measures, security measures):

Any acts the Israelis commit (blockades, collective punishment, shelling neighborhoods, starving a population etc)


Security:                                 Anything the Israeli government chooses to do. This can include land

confiscation, extra-judicial killings, home demolitions, destruction of groves,

uprooting trees, blockades etc. The term security is reserved for use only with the

word Israel or Israeli and must never be applied to Palestinians.


Lashing out:                           A term reserved for Palestinians and acts they commit against Israelis


Under siege:                           Again a term for use by the Israelis as in Palestinians have put Israelis under

siege. Exact meaning depends on the circumstances. Never use for Palestinian

towns or villages.





When to use Passive voice: if the violent action is committed by Israelis (e.g. 2 Palestinians were killed, one of them a 9 year old) . When to use active voice: if the action is committed by Palestinians (e.g. Palestinians killed a Jewish child, Palestinians kills teenager)


While reporting about Israelis use the affirmative tone: "2 Israelis were injured", while reporting about Palestinian use the verbs claimed, say etc.

“Palestinians say woman dies of tear gas inhalation in West Bank” (e.g. Ha’aretz)


Names must be included for any Jewish victims, always avoid names of Muslim or Christian victims but use numbers instead (remember in the passive voice, e.g. 2 Palestinians died in clashes).


When an Israeli is killed, it is important to note his or her profession, where he/she is from and was going, whether or not he/she is religious, and whether or not he/she is an immigrant from the U.S. or Russia. If the dead person is survived by a spouse and children, this should be noted. If the victim is a youngster, the school they attended should be mentioned, and their friends' feelings should be noted. In general, people who knew the dead person should testify to their humanity.


When a Palestinian is killed, they should not be personalized in any way.


When an Israeli is killed, it is useful to include graphic descriptions of the death scene -the covered body, the fragments of flesh, the path of flowing blood, etc.



I hope this is helpful (please send me more). Please ensure that your local media editor/journalist receives this list.