The politics of maps: cartographic constructions of Israel/Palestine

Christine Leuenberger, Itzhak Shnell

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


"This book traces how the geographical sciences have become entwined with politics, territorial claim making, and nation-building in Israel/Palestine. In particular, the focus is on the history of geographical sciences before and after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, and how surveying, mapping, and naming the new territory become a crucial part of its making. With the 1993 Oslo Interim Agreement, Palestinians also surveyed and mapped the territory allocated to a future State of Palestine, with the expectation that they will, within five years, gain full sovereignty. In both cases, maps served to evoke a sense of national identity, facilitated a state's ability to govern, and helped delineate territory. Besides maps geopolitical functions for nation-state building, they also become weapons in map wars. Before and after the 1967 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, maps of the region became one of the many battlefields in which political conflicts over land claims and the ethno-national identity of this contested land were being waged. Aided by an increasingly user-defined mapping environment, Israeli and Palestinian governmental and non-governmental organizations increasingly relied on the rhetoric of maps in order to put forth their geopolitical visions. Such struggles over land and its rightful owners in Israel/Palestine exemplify processes underway in other states across the globe, whether in South Africa or Ukraine, which are engaged in disputes over territorial boundaries, national identities, and the territorial integrity of nation-states. Maps, no less, have become crucial tools in these struggles"--
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages244
ISBN (Electronic)0190076232, 0190076240, 0190076259, 0190076267, 9780190076238, 9780190076245, 9780190076252, 9780190076269
ISBN (Print)0190076267, 9780190076269
StatePublished - 2020


  • Middle East
  • Cartography
  • Cartography ; Political aspects ; Palestine
  • Israel
  • Cartography ; Political aspects ; Israel

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Cartography -- Political aspects -- Eretz Israel
  • Cartography -- Political aspects -- Israel
  • Cartography -- Political aspects -- Palestinian National Authority
  • Cartography -- Political aspects -- West Bank


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