Friday, March 18, 2011

"The History of the Conflict As Flat Atlas"

I opened up the Gallaria section (culture, arts, books, etc.) of Haaretz of yesterday, Thursday. One reason why web editions are insufficient since the web version doesn't have the article (yet?).  I found an article on this book:

Atlas Of The Conflict: Israel-Palestine by Malkit Shoshan

which is an

...atlas of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict maps the processes and mechanisms behind the modification of the country during the last 100 years...the atlas also provides lessons on a broader front, particularly in connection with disputes over former colonial territories and natural resources.

You can see a preview here.

A propagandist, Yousef Munayyer, of the Palestine Centre of Australia, writes:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict [is about] a people struggling to stay connected to their land. The territorial aspect lies at the heart of every facet of the Palestinian struggle, whether it’s the location of depopulated villages, the border that denotes the boundaries of Jerusalem or the Armistice Line which separates territory recognized as occupied from that which is recognized as Israel...Malkit Shoshan’s contribution, Atlas of the Conflict: Israel-Palestine, is different. Shoshan is an Israeli. Yet, while the contributions of Palestinian historians and geographers may have been motivated by a patriotic yearning, Shoshan’s drive to document these territorial changes comes from a different and still noble origin. The process by which Shoshan put together her atlas was clearly an awakening for her, and those who are unfamiliar with the history and geography of Palestine in the last 100 years will encounter a similar awakening. She goes far beyond the mapping of Palestine’s depopulation from 1947-1949 and includes the history of recent Zionist settlement, the destruction of villages after 1948, the changing maps after various Arab-Israeli wars, maps of settlement patterns in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem, as well as detailed maps of the apartheid wall that runs through Palestinian territory.

Haaretz had one map which is especially viscious in that it purports to show the property ownership.  It has Eretz-Yisrael in the years 1918, 1936, 1947 and 1960.  The land area is mostly red from the northern Negev up through to the Gallilee and then in 1960, the sole area of property owned by non-Jews around Nazereth but extremely small.  Quite striking.

The only thing is that until 1918 and afterwards until 1948, the land was not owned simply by "non-Jews" but by the regime, whether the Ottoman Empire from 1516 or the British after World War I.  Not even Arabs owned more than perhaps as much as 15% privately. 

Portraying the theme of "stealing Arab land" in this way is not only not true but is a total misrepresentation because the visual image is so stark when comparing 1960 to the previous years.  It arouses negative emotions rather than a debate over statistics, tables and facts and their interpretation.


Found a typo: it's Saul not Baul.


And now read this.



bigbigidiot said...

Maps showing PRIVATE Jewish ownership as well as PRIVATE Arab ownership, WHY can I not find these anywhere? I have looked so many times but can only find ones like the ones you just described. Almost all of the Ottoman land will be described as "Arab" with tiny strips and spots that were bought by individual Jews and Zionist groups like Keren Kayemet, described as "Jewish".

Yisrael, I consider this a pretty important issue actually. Would it be possible for you to follow this up until we have an answer? I shot off an email to the Central Zionist Archives about this awhile ago but they told me they couldn't do any work for me.

Someone MUST at one point have put "private arab ownership" in some map form.

Here's two pages that sort of talk about it:

YMedad said...

saw this map?

it's a tough issue i've been dealing with for over 40 years.

notice though this map which at least sneaks in "publicly owned" land as a category. but of course, the Mandate transferred all that to the Jews when it wrote "including state lands".

please see here.