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Middle East Issues





Map De-Judaizes Jerusalem, Media Cite Map- Maker as Expert


On sale today in East Jerusalem book stores is a map of Israel entitled "Palestine" that designates Israeli towns and cities as "settlements," distinguishes only three Jewish communities beyond the Green Line and erases every Jewish religious site while identifying Muslim and Christian ones. The map was published in 1988 by the Arab Studies Society, a research center headed by Palestinian Authority minister without portfolio Faisal Husseini. Heading the maps department at the Society is Khalil Tufakji, a Palestinian geographer widely quoted by American journalists as an expert on Palestinian population and territorial issues.

Although the map claims to represent "geographical places as they were in 1945 and developments and changes which occurred there since then" it omits hundreds of Jewish towns and villages. Kfar Saba, a Jewish town of 60,000, is identified as an Arab village. Ashdod, a city of 90,000, is omitted. The northern Israeli town of Afula is called an Arab village deserted at the beginning of the 20th century. Tel Aviv is a tiny nameplace dwarfed by a vastly larger Jaffa. There is no Eilat, no Beit Shemesh and so on.

Omitting the half million residents of modern Jerusalem, a symbol demarcates only the Old City as Jerusalem, the capital of "Palestine." Numerous Christian religious sites are situated nearby, but there is no Jewish presence whatever.

Ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank, as well as from large areas of Israel inside the Green Line, betrays an alarming continuation of the Arab campaign, despite the peace negotiations, to delegitimize Jewish historical and religious claims in the region. Journalistic indifference to the story–no American media outlet covered it though it was front-page in Israel– effectively encourages the continuing sale of the map. American journalists who have cited Tufakji on land and building issues without any indication that his assertions might be partisan and questionable are:

  • Barton Gellman, Washington Post, June 26, 1995
  • Elaine Fletcher, San Francisco Examiner, June 19, 1995
  • Amy Dockser Marcus, Wall Street Journal, June 6, 1995
  • Ben Lynfield, UPI, May 26, 1995
  • Ethan Bronner, Boston Globe, January 30, 1995
  • Gwen Ackerman, AP, January 16, 1995
  • Caryl Murphy, Washington Post, December 13, 1994
  • Charles Holmes, Atlanta Journal Constitution, May 20, 1994
  • David Hoffman, Washington Post, January 26, 1994
  • Clyde Haberman, New York Times, April 4, 1993

Only one journalist, Deborah Horan, of the San Francisco Chronicle (March 1995), also included the views of Israelis genuinely expert on the topic of legal claims to disputed land. Could she share her rolodex with her colleagues?



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