31 March 2009

The Palestinian archipelago

Strange Maps is an excellent blog which will likely be the next addition to my tag of "highly recommended blogs." Today's offering is an unusual portrayal of the geography of the West Bank region of Palestine.

This map is considerably more interesting than previous maps of this fragmented area (see also the Wiki set of historic maps), in that it uses color-coding to convert the conventional geopolitical boundaries to the appearance of a chain of islands.
“Maybe posting the full map would help to take it for what it is, i.e. an illustration of the West Bank’s ongoing fragmentation based on the (originally temporary) A/B/C zoning which came out of the Oslo process, still valid until now. To make things clear, areas ‘under water’ strictly reflect C zones, plus the East Jerusalem area, i.e. areas that have officially remained under full Israeli control and occupation following the Agreements. These include all Israeli settlements and outposts as well as Palestinian populated areas.”

Those colours, incidentally, denote urban areas (orange), nature reserves (shaded), zones of partial autonomy (dark green) and of total autonomy (light green). Totally fanciful are of course the dotted lines symbolising shipping links, the palm trees signifying protected beachland, and the purple symbols representing various aspects of seaside pleasure. The blue icon, labelled Zone sous surveillance (‘Zone under surveillance’) has some bearing on reality, as the locations of the warships match those of permanent Israeli checkpoints.

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