What a shame that this series of maps, just published on the Rights And Humanity blog, is chock full of misinformation. It was put there by whomever blogs at the Research and Destroy blog (the name of which, yes, is pretty ironic, as is the fact that the blogger provides no attribution regarding the image’s source). The intrepid “research” and “destruction” blogger says, regarding the map:
Palestinian loss of land, 1946-2000
Pre 1947: 100% Palestinian land
1947: UN Partition Plan: 48% Palestinian land
1967 de facto line: 22% Palestinian land
As of 2005: 12% Palestinian land
The problems are many, but I’ll present three big issues along with some research that’s entirely omitted:
- The first, second, and third maps show as “Palestinian” land in 1946 a fair amount of land that fell under the British mandate, but not all of it, as well as land that was occupied and annexed by Transjordan. Here’s a map of the British Mandate. As Wikipedia nicely explains, Transjordan “was under British supervision until after World War II. In 1946, the British requested that the United Nations approve an end to British Mandate rule in Transjordan … During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Jordan occupied the area of Cisjordan (Judaea/Samaria) now known as West Bank, which it continued to control in accordance with the 1949 Armistice Agreements and a political union formed in December 1948. The Second Arab-Palestinian Conference held in Jericho on December 1, 1948, proclaimed Abdullah King of Palestine and called for a union of Arab Palestine with the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan … Jordan signed a military pact with Egypt in May 1967, and following an Israeli air attack on Egypt in June 1967, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq continued the Six Day War against Israel. During the war, Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the territory now occupied by Israel but its 1994 treaty with Israel allowed for a continuing Jordanian role in Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem.”
- It’s just factually inaccurate to say that 100% of the land was Palestinian prior to 1947. As the first map demonstrates, Jews owned some of the land. What the map doesn’t illustrate so well is how much, but there’s research on the matter and the answer is something on the order of 10%: “By May 1948 Jews acquired approximately two million of Palestine’s 26 million dunams. In terms of Palestine’s total land area under the Mandate, this was a small percentage. But these two million purchased dunams were among the most cultivable. They were neither in the hill regions of the West Bank/Judea-Samaria regions nor south of Beersheba. Jewish land acquisition focused on the valley and coastal regions of Palestine from 1920 through 1936. Before and after these years land was purchased also in the Galilee and later in the southern portions of Palestine, between Beersheba and Gaza. At the end of the Mandate Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip (320,000 dunams) and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan annexed the West Bank/Judea-Samaria (6 million dunams).”
- The third map makes no mention of the fact that the borders of Israel from 1949-1967 were the result of a war with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, nor does it note in any way that the Palestinian territory (in green) was occupied by Egypt and Jordan. Given that occupation, one might well ask — if the war had turned out differently — whether the land would have belonged to an independent Palestinian state or to the invading adjacent states.
- Finally, regarding the fourth map, I think one would do better to go to the Palestine Monitor website (not exactly a pro-Israeli source) and look at the map of the West Bank. It’s here and it provides a great deal of helpful detail that is conveniently omitted by the map above.
It’s clear that Israel’s current policies — especially with regard to settlement in the West Bank — are wrong-headed, as I’ve said numerous times on this blog. But one need not resort to falsification that borders on outright propaganda in order to advance the very reasonable claim for Palestinian statehood. Sadly, that’s what this series of maps represents and it does nothing whatsoever to advance the conversation that will, one day, bring Israelis and Palestinians to a lasting peace.