For someone who has an endless fascination of maps, Israel offers some quite mind-boggling complex examples. Take this map below which arrived in my inbox this morning – the latest map on the West Bank compiled by Israeli NGO, Peace Now.
The map highlights construction in the settlements and outposts and shows that there has been a considerable increase in new construction in the settlements over the last year. These new projects must be stopped if we are to have a two-state solution. (Peace Now)
The division of the land into a myriad of brown and blue/white areas – indicating Palestinian and Israeli controlled territories respectively – goes a long way of showing how intractable the peace process has become over the years. It’s hard to imagine how a viable Palestinian state could redrawn from such a map…
Having only travelled a handful of times in the West Bank (mainly to and from the Dead Sea, Jericho or Ramallah) it’s impossible for me to grasp the realities of living in a territory divided and jumbled up in such a manner. And those times I have, holding a British passport I don’t have to worry about being denied entry at Israeli checkpoints and can cross freely into Palestinian controlled territories – something which Israel bars its citizens from doing (on security reasons).
And then the map of Jerusalem (see below) where coloured lines run through and around Jerusalem demarking the varied ways in which Jerusalem has been, is and could be divided. Of course on the ground these lines are nowhere to be seen and it’s hard to tell if where you are standing is part of internationally recognised West Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, the latest the latest illegal suburb/settlement. It’s all a bit confusing. Case in point, The Hebrew University: geographically in East Jerusalem and once part of Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem (1949-67); now, however, an essential part of Jewish Jerusalem but still technically located on the ‘wrong’ side of the pre-1967 borders (i.e. the internationally unrecognised part of Israeli-controlled Jerusalem).