The Signpost

File:Israel palestine barn raising dalle 3.png
WikiProject report

WikiProjects Israel and Palestine

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By Shushugah

Readers should feel free to submit your own questions in the comments section below, as well as boldly add more background context or notable AfD examples.

The 2023 Israel–Hamas war was the 27th most visited article of 2023. It is not surprising that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict garners a lot of interest from editors of various political persuasions and worldviews. Unlike other topics however, there isn't one but two different WikiProjects principally responsible for maintaining coverage.

If you are reading this, you are part of Wikipedia and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

This report touches upon the editorial processes, challenges and differences behind the WikiProjects WP:Israel and WP:Palestine in covering the most politically contentious content on English Wikipedia. Despite many editors being active in topics covered by both projects, it appears the vast majority of editors don't have a strong identification with either project.


WP:Israel was founded in September 2006; two months later, it was followed by WP:Palestine. Notably at the time, both projects explicitly stated that their scope excluded the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Internally, a lot has changed on Wikipedia since then. In November 2015, the Arbitration Committee restricted editing to users with extended-confirmed status in its ruling WP:ARBPIA3#500/30 — and in 2019, the one-revert rule was implemented to minimize edit warring. More general guidelines around WP:CONTENTIOUS, WP:BRD, and WP:DUE apply as well. It's a long way from the early days of Wikipedia.

From the River to AfD

Everything from content disputes, to casting of aspersions, to debates about image-selection choices can lead to a heated atmosphere. Even seemingly-mundane things like selecting the appropriate title to describe geographic areas can be major points of contention. This specific example is partly explained because the politics of toponymy lends credence to certain historical narratives, e.g. the Hebraization of Palestinian place names. This political tradition occurs within Wikipedia disputes most iconically in the form of deletion debates at Articles for Deletion.

One of the earliest AfD discussions (back then known as Votes for Deletion) was for Occupation of Palestine, in early September 2004, and concluded after a whopping 120 kilobytes worth of discussion. A revamped version was created on 14 September 2004. Between 2006 and 2008, the article Allegations of Israeli apartheid was nominated for deletion ten times, until it was redirected to its current target Israel and apartheid. Perhaps the eleventh attempt will make a more compelling case. While the arguments raised in the AfD resemble some of the talk page discussions today, the end results are fortunately much more stable and mature today.

Statistics for the mentioned AfDs was found via SQL query: Quarry 79511 (courtesy of JPxG).


Are you affiliated with either WP:Israel, WP:Palestine or both? How did you decide which project to affiliate with?

What is your favorite relevant example of collaboration that neutrally weaves and identifies different viewpoints?

It is challenging for many to edit without WP:BIAS. How do you ensure your editing complies with Wikipedia:Five Pillars?

What advice would you give to editors to help them keep their WP:COOL and avoid engaging in edit wars or violating the other stringent requirements listed at WP:ARBPIA?

Admins are not supposed to be WP:INVOLVED. What makes an admin well suited to volunteer in this area? Skill sets include WP:BEHAVIOUR, stopping WP:Harassment, WP:Socking, WP:1RR and also understanding complex content disputes.

The premise of Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Do you see the WP:ARBPIA3#500/30 restrictions being compatible with that vision?


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Them AI flags are cursed. Aaron Liu (talk) 13:55, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@Aaron Liu I think JPxG is trying to land himself a copyright case in the ICC. The SignPost will be there to report on the case of course! ~ 🦝 Shushugah (he/him • talk) 16:06, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I'm *very* surprised that the Signpost author would spoof the term From the river to the sea given how politically charged (to put it mildly) the phrase is. A phrase in the opposite direction would be something like A land without an article for an article without a land.Naraht (talk) 14:25, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@Naraht Politically charged is the alternate name of this article. From the river to the sea in contemporary terms is a Pro-Palestinian chant, but historically it was also used by Revisionist Zionism including the Likud party, which makes it a deliciously controversial slogan. I haven't heard of A land without a people for a people without a land before, thank you for that! ~ 🦝 Shushugah (he/him • talk) 16:04, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Shushugah Welcome to Category:Phrases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some are less controversial, but a good number are.Naraht (talk) 16:23, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I agree that the play on "river to the sea" was not optimal, but I'm surprised the comments are only on that and not on, for instance, the brilliance of my contributions. Coretheapple (talk) 15:57, 13 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

And by the way, if a harmless use of "river to sea" bothers you, the blood would spray from your ears if you waded into some of the talk page discussions in I/P. This article focuses on civility for a reason. Coretheapple (talk) 16:04, 13 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I couldn't help but read it as "From the River to Alternativ für Deutschland" xD Bart Terpstra (talk) 16:15, 14 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I always felt that in controversial topics like the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict one needed to be more informed than usual because each side tends to er present their, er, own set of alternative facts. At least that's been my experience off-Wiki. And since I don't have the interest to properly educate myself about Israel-related topics, I've tended to stay away from those articles except where being a disinterested party can help. So perhaps I am wrong in this opinion. -- llywrch (talk) 00:35, 16 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I think it's like controversial subjects in other topic areas. Gamergate, for instance. I picked that at random because I know it's controversial. In putting in the hyperlink I noticed that there's a "harassment campaign." Didn't know. Well, I guess that's why it's controversial. Obviously I know nothing about Gamergate. But I bet that I or any experienced editor could go into the talk pages and, while knowing nothing about Gamergate, could ascertain if there are any policy violations there, any incivility, any WP:OWN behavior. Same with the I/P articles, where incivility, personalizing discussions, tendentious editing and the usual gamut are rife. It might be time-consuming to come up to speed on the talk page posts, that is true. But edit-warring and other behavioral issues do not require subject matter expertise, and in my view tend to be unhelpful. If I boned up on Gamergate and I had to wade into the talk page, it might give me a POV one way or the other. (And thank you for commenting on the substance of the Signpost article and not just "river to sea"!) Coretheapple (talk) 16:12, 16 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Bump! I found the phrase used by Shushugah to be a clever, amusing, and inoffensive play on words that was perfect for a Signpost publication. I am one of those evil Jewish Zionists, by the way. Naraht means well, I believe, and I had never heard that phrase before, but Shushugah's wording was pithier and droll.--FeralOink (talk) 14:18, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I congratulate you, Coretheapple for your brilliant contributions to the body of the Signpost. I balk at your response to Naraht: "if a harmless use of "river to sea" bothers you, the blood would spray from your ears ..." as that is gruesome and it presumes that the "river to the sea" expression is harmless, which isn't true, neither now or in the past.
I commend both Shushugah AND Bart Terpstra, as Bart morphed it into an also-amusing "From the River to Alternativ für Deutschland"!--FeralOink (talk) 14:18, 8 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]


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