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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Which map is offensive?

Imagine that the State of Israel published maps showing its boundaries looking something like this:


This map would include parts of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, as well as all of Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

Do you think it might offend people? Would it spur a huge set of angry demonstrations and op-eds, accusing Israel of expansionism and having aggressive, militaristic goals? Would Jordan be justified in reducing diplomatic ties because of an official map that takes a chunk of that country away?

It turns out that this map roughly represents the boundaries of Palestine requested by the Zionist Organization and presented at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.  It is also not far off from what most people in the early 20th century would have considered to be historic Palestine, although it explicitly excluded Amman and the Hejaz Railway.

Nowadays, of course, Israel is not demanding these boundaries for itself. A map like this one would be considered highly offensive, and in all probability if the Israeli government would publish even one copy of such a map as reflecting the desired borders of Israel it would result in UN resolutions condemning it as incitement.

Now look at this picture of Mahmoud Abbas published in the PA's Al Hayat al-Jadida yesterday, via MEMRI:

He is holding a map of "Palestine" carved in stone - and Israel doesn't exist.

Is that not offensive?

(Note again that the PA has no territorial designs on any Arab country, even when they are part of historic Palestine. Only Israel.)