9. Palestinians awaits archipelago

In 1995, after researching in detail the Israeli settlement policy, the Dutch geographer Jan de Jong drew this disconcerting map of the West Bank, which Nel van Bethlehem designed for the Trouw newspaper. The building of Jewish settlements, the construction of a road network tailored to the needs of their colonists and the Israeli military bases, have converted this area into an archipelago of indigenous ‘bantustans’.

The West Bank, divided in such a way, cannot form a basis of a Palestinian state, even if, in obedience to the Oslo Accords, the Israeli army were to withdraw from ‘densely-populated Palestinian areas’. Building continues then on ‘dead ground’ with limited economic use, but these state lands should offer the Palestinians an outlet for their growing population.

A Palestinian state cannot be viable unless Israel stops the building of new projects and places existing settlements and roads under Palestinian sovereignty. Only then can conditions of over-population, such as those in the Gaza Strip, be avoided. This map shows the geographical basis for a doom scenario of overpopulated Palestinian reservations in which poverty and disillusionment lead to explosions.

Trouw 29-7-’95, Map of the West Bank, with the article ‘Palestijnen wacht eilandenrijk’, Amsterdam

Trouw 29-7-’95, Map of the West Bank, with the article ‘Palestijnen wacht eilandenrijk’, Amsterdam’, Amsterdam