May 05, 2002
Fact Checking (part 1)

Jim Henley over at Unqualified Offerings fact-checks my ass, and I admit that his conclusions are, for the most part, justified.

However, I do have a few quibbles.

Firstly, he points out a few Israeli-government issued maps that include the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas within Israel's borders. Well, technically, they *are*, because Jordan and Egypt, respectively, have renounced claims to those areas (the fact that Jordan's claim on the West Bank was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan notwithstanding). Since there is no working agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis yet, they *are* part of Israel until an agreement has been made. Besides, the Israeli outline maps show "boundaries and cease-fire lines". Israel has boundaries with Egypt and Lebanon (and, since 1994, Jordan, although it is not reflected on the 1993 map). They have a cease-fire line with Syria (due to the ongoing dispute over the Golan Heights). Until an agreement is struck, there *is* no Palestine for all practical purposes. The fact that Israel identifies areas under Palestinian control appears to be more than the Palestinians are willing to admit, considering that the word "Israel" appears on no map on the Palestinian website. Additionally, several cities that are clearly inside Israel (14 of them) are identified as "Palestinian cities", although there is no additional info available on them. If the purpose was simply to identify major population centers, then why was overwhelmingly Jewish Tel Aviv left off, while smaller, more Arabic cities receive labels?

Further, I did a little digging of my own, and found this official Israeli map, which shows that the Israelis *do* differentiate between Israel proper and non-Israeli territories. Notice that the Golan Heights (which Israel formally annexed in 1981), and the Eastern portion of Jerusalem (annexed in 1967) are included in the Northern District and the Jerusalem district, respectively, while the Gaza and West Bank areas are not included at all. (I suspect that the Central Bureau of Statistics, from which this map comes, has a wealth of maps with similar distinctions. However, I do not read Hebrew, so I have no idea how to navigate the site.) As I have pointed out in the past, if Israel were truly against the idea of a Palestinian state, they simply would have annexed everything (West Bank, Gaza, and all). The fact that they didn't should tell one something.

I agree that both sides appear to be playing fast and loose with the borders (the fact that I had to dig so far into the Israeli government website to find *any* maps is telling), but I still think the Palestinians are ahead in the dishonesty game. The semantic hoops they jumped through in their response to me indicates that they are trying to have it both ways.

posted on May 05, 2002 02:41 PM


While commenting as to the maps issue, I failed noticing your inquiry with regard the Israel CBS maps. So now that I have noticed, I did some navigating in Hebrew... and found the CBS equivalent up-to-date map (of 2001 annual report). As you can see, the West bank&Gaza strip are excluded (it's intresting to note that the same goes as to a second map, which presents the population density in Israel. The "notorious" settelments which, disputed as may be, are part of the Israeli population, end up not represented as a result).
BTW, the most common commercial maps in Israel nowadays, are of "Mapa" (which have a highly recommended site -, but it's per-payment only). My own copy of their atlas (of 1998), outlines the "green line" per-se (and the territories under the PA...).
Have an easy re-settling...

posted by Michal, Israel on May 9, 2002 09:20 PM

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