Quote of the Day: “we actually destroyed the places as well.”
As different views of a common terrain, the Israeli and Palestinian maps signify not only different cultural perceptions of the region but the bitter polarization of mortal enemies. By creating new settlements and constructed features, the Israelis have had a more profound impact than earlier regimes. As Benvenisti observed, “We have done more than create a paper empire. We have actually transformed the physical reality, built cities, drained marshes, made the desert bloom. We not only eradicated Arab place-names, we actually destroyed the places as well.” The Palestinians deeply resent this, of course, and their research institutes in Beirut and refugee camps throughout the region feed the hunger for a restored Palestinian homeland by persistently promoting a pre-1948 map of Palestine that denies the existence of Jewish settlements, boundaries, and place-names. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has hardened to the point where, in Benvenisti’s words, “maps cease being geographical and turn into an act of faith, a call for action, for revenge.” […] The need to rename places is perhaps strongest among people insecure about their territory.
Drawing the Line, by Mark Monmonier.