Maps distributed by the Palestinian Authority are an important and tangible method of instilling fundamentally negative messages related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. These messages include ignoring Israel's exisstence, denying the Jewish biblical bond to the Holy Land, fulfilling the obligation of the “right of return,” continuing armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine and perpetuating hatred of the State of Israel.
While Palestinian leaders sometimes give lip-service to the idea of a two-state solution, they convey a very different message in word and deed. They also communicate what many believe to be their true goal – a single state of Palestine replacing Israel – through imagery such as this map that appeared on the Palestinian Authority web site:
The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is also head of its dominant faction, Fatah. The word “Fatah” is a reverse acronym of the Arabic Harekat at-Tahrir al-Wataniyyeh al-Falastiniyyeh, meaning “conquest by means of jihad.” The Fatah flag features a grenade with crossed rifles superimposed on the map of Israel. This emphasizes the dedication of Fatah, along with the other “liberation” groups, to the “armed struggle” against Israel, which is a euphemism for terrorism against civilians.
It should be noted that Fatah is often referred to as “secular;” however, Fatah’s goal is similar to that of the radical Islamic Hamas organization in its devotion to jihad. This is a reminder that the conflict with Israel is less about land and politics and more about the refusal of Muslim extremists to accept a Jewish state. Hence, Abbas has repeatedly refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or agree to a settlement that would result in a Palestinian state coexisting with Israel.
Fatah is the largest faction of the PLO, which has its own unambiguous emblem.
To make sure that young Palestinians get the message, this is the emblem for the Fatah Youth Movement
The Palestinian education system is committed to communicating to students of all ages that there is only one state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River – Palestine.
PA Minister of Education poses with map of
Palestine replacing Israel (February 2, 2017)
Below are examples of maps depicting “Palestine” as a single entity without marking the “green line,” as well as examples omitting Israel and referring to “Palestine” as a single entity found in Palestinian textbooks.
Click any map to enlarge.
The following maps of “Palestine” are unusual because the “green line” is marked, but there is no mention of Israel’s name.
The cities appearing in the area west of the “green line” omit Jewish-Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Rishon Le’Zion, Natanya, Hadera, Holon, Bat Yam, and Eilat. The cities mentioned in Israeli territory west of the “green line” are those that up until 1948 were distinctly Arab-Palestinian (namely Acre, Nazareth, Beit She’an, Lod, Ramla, Jaffa, Beersheba) or cities that have a mixed Jewish-Arabic population. Especially notable is the fact that Tel Aviv is not mentioned at all and Jaffa is referenced instead. These are common characteristics of maps disseminated throughout the PA areas.
Nan Jacques Zilberdik reported, “As part of its protests against the normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan – and the fear that more Arab states will follow – Fatah posted the image above [on the Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, October 28, 2020] with four repetitions of the PA map of “Palestine” that includes all of Israel.”
The text of the post says: “Our people’s resolve is stronger than all the enterprises of normalization, annexation, and treason, because the voice of truth is louder; here we remain and we will not leave; Palestine is a goal that dignifies and a flag that waves.”
Zilberdik noted, “Each map of ‘Palestine’ is accompanied by an image of an upraised fist and the Palestinian flag with ‘Normalization is treason’ written above it. Each section has ‘#Normalization_is_treason - #No_to_normalization’ written in the upper right corner with the Fatah logo in the upper left.”
The messages regarding the right of the Palestinian people to all of “Palestine” are disseminated through icons. To demonstrate the message of “Palestine” as a single Palestinian entity extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean sea, miniature maps of Palestine adorned with the colors of the Palestinian flag or bound by it are circulated throughout the PA areas and beyond.
Following are some examples.
Maps of “Palestine” that include names of Arab villages abandoned during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, data concerning Palestinian refugees in the “diaspora,” and the administrative division of Palestine during the British mandate period, play a tangible role in inculcating the value of the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, and in intensifying hatred towards Israel. These maps are published by the PA, the Hamas Movement, academic institutions, and entities and associations operating in the PA areas. Messages instilling the “right of return” are also incorporated into the curriculum of the PA education system.
A study of Palestinian textbooks done for the European Union also found problematic maps.
Significant changes in the maps of “Palestine” would be an important indicator of a willingness by the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and arrive at a negotiated settlement based on the two-state solution.
Sources: Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S).
Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “All of Israel is “Palestine” in Fatah message,” PMW, (November 3, 2020).
“Report on Palestinian Textbooks,” Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, (2021)