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The West Bank Archipelago

May 19, 2009

US President Barack Obama told his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their White House meeting that “under the roadmap and under Annapolis that there’s a clear understanding that we have to make progress on settlements. Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward. That’s a difficult issue. I recognize that, but it’s an important one and it has to be addressed.”

To give an idea of just how difficult it will be take a look at this extraordinary map designed by French cartographer Julien Boussac. It might look like Indonesia or the Caribbean at first glance, but the map is a fanciful reworking of what is actually happening in the West Bank with the blue/water areas representing areas under full Israeli control with the dark and light green ‘islands’ representing areas where the Palestinian Authority exerts some control.

archipelago-compressed

 

This puts me in mind of high school geography and studying the amazing engineering feat of land reclamation in the Netherlands – where polders and dykes enabled the Dutch to push back the North Sea and expand their living space.

For the Palestinians politics and diplomacy, not polders and dykes, are going to be needed to reclaim the land they want for a future state in a feat even more spectacular than anything those Dutch engineers could pull off.

And for the settlers – as we explain here – they think there’s no point even thinking about it. In this video, settlers in Efrat, between Jerusalem and Hebron, comment on the issue, preceded by the reaction from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

For a larger view of the map click over here to Strange Maps where its well worth browsing around for some other interesting takes on the world around us.

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