‘Conquer and Divide’: Israeli NGO launches interactive map highlighting 52-years of occupation

5 Jun, 2019 17:02 / Updated 4 years ago

To mark the 52nd anniversary of Israel’s territorial encroachment into the West Bank, human rights NGO B’Tselem has unveiled a new interactive map creatively illustrating the decades-long history of the occupation.

The organization says that their new project “traces how government resolutions, military orders and state planning” came together to create an ever-expanding system of settlements and military check-points, helping Israeli authorities “promote [their] interests at the expense of Palestinians’ rights.” The project was created in tandem with the independent research agency Forensic Architecture, and launched on Wednesday.

The project's sleek website documents not only the boundaries of Israel’s expansion into the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, it also indicates a variety of specific details; from closed military zones to areas where the authorities forbid fishing. The map also highlights important events in the history of the occupation.

Those behind the project believe that using an interactive map does something a traditional history couldn’t – by visually demonstrating what they call Israel’s “conquer and divide” strategy, they aim to show how geography has been used to isolate and control the Palestinian population.

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Israel has doggedly chipped away at Palestinian space, breaking it up into conveniently exploitable pieces, the easier to control and oppress,” wrote B’Tselem’s Executive Director Hagai El-Ad.

Tel Aviv has always rejected terming the land acquisitions as part of an occupation, saying it has a legal right to the territories. In March, the United States became the first country to recognize Israel’s continued claim over another disputed area – the Golan Heights.

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The anniversary of the occupation comes just ahead of Washington’s plan to unveil its long-touted and much criticized Israel-Palestine peace plan. While Trump called the plan “the deal of the century,” Palestinian authorities have already rejected it, saying Trump’s administration is too pro-Israeli.

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