Greater Israel on a Can

One dispiriting aspect of the Middle East conflict is the seeming inability of Palestinian textbook writers to publish maps that depict Israel in its internationally-recognized 1967 borders. Israel and its supporters rightly complain that Palestinian depictions of their future state as encompassing all the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River subvert the idea of a two-state solution, and that these sorts of propaganda efforts betray the true intention of the Palestinians, which is to work for Israel's disappearance and replacement with an Arab state.

But, as Andrew Sullivan suggests, rightly (when he's right, he's right), Palestinians aren't the only ones who publish maps that subvert the idea of a two-state solution. Click here to see the photograph of a Jewish National Fund pushke, a modern version of the age-old Jewish fund-raising device. The map on the JNF collection can depicts the West Bank as indivisibly part of Israel. A two-state solution, an idea to which the current, Likud Party prime minister says he is committed, would of course mean that most of the West Bank would be within the territory of Palestine. If I were a Palestinian looking at this collection can, I might ask myself if the Israelis are actually committed to the idea of territorial compromise.

It is correct for Israelis to raise questions about Palestinian map-making, but this is a street that runs both ways. It is not just the JNF that does this: I've seen many maps in Israel that efface the Green Line separating the pre-1967 state from the West Bank. The point of maximalist map-drawing, of course, is to regularize the ideas of extremists on both sides of the divide. Of course, extremists on both sides don't need much help these days in seeing their ideas become mainstream.