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Visualizing Occupation: Ethnic cleansing

The Oslo Accords divided the West Bank in a manner ostensibly meant to ensure some Palestinian control. However, Israel’s settlement growth, military control and land confiscation render true Palestinian autonomy  impossible. This illustration is the second in a series of infographics on the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population.

By Michal Vexler

 >For the entire Visualizing Occupation series click here


OCHA: The Planning Regime Applied by Israeli in Area C of the West Bank
ICAHD: Obstacles to Peace
Peace Now: Settlements in the West Bank – facts and numbers (Hebrew)
Wikipedia – Bantustan

Michal Vexler is a designer and an activist. 

Previous posts in this series:
Visualizing Occupation: Palestinian Prisoners’ Day – the numbers

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    1. annie

      no more red and green? is that an israeli defect?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Daniel de França MTd2

      Dear Michal,
      I am daltonic, and although I can see many colors, I cannot make heads or tail out of the map of west bank. The colors used for natural reserves, area A and B are too similar to me. Notice that this is a very important difference because only area A means something close to sovereignty. You could put black for area A and light blue for settlements.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bantustans would be a step up from what Apartheid Israel is preparing for its “demographic threat”. More like ghettos surrounded by walls and remote controlled machine guns. Gaza is just a preview of what the Israeli leadership has in mind and where it’s heading to.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Eli Philip

      A missed opportunity.
      Such infographics could be great in education campaigns to help people visualize what the occupation really means. Too bad the artist cares more about ideology and had to insert ethnic cleansing and apartheid to distract and detract from the importance of the message.

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      • majestraentropy

        an artist without an ideology is no artist , and human with no soul

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    5. Kolumn9

      I am very confused. How can area C be home to 289,600 when right below you have a number of 150,000 for the number of Palestinians? The remaining 139,600 might be settlers, but there are at least 300,000 Jews in Area C so the numbers still don’t make sense. Additionally, I would like to point out that even Israeli contributors to 972mag believe that the residents of Gaza do not need to be taken into account.

      Ahad Haadam, Gaza is exactly what awaits the Arabs if they choose to not make peace. The Boers’ mistake was in not cutting the economic cord with the population of the Bantustans after establishing them which caused them to rely on access to jobs in South Africa. Rabin and Peres dealt with this issue in the 90s so the Palestinians no longer rely on access to Israeli economic infrastructure. In any case, Transkei wasn’t recognized, but Palestine has already been recognized by how many states? I for one look forward to Palestine being recognized by the UN GA as a non-member state.

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    6. Kolumn9

      Oh, I think I get it. The claim of this infographic is that there are 289,000 Israeli Jews in Area C? This is strange because there are certainly more than that by at least 40,000 and also it isn’t really clear to most people that the little guy with a gun is an Israeli settler. He is, right? It also makes it look at first glance that there are no actual Arabs living in Area C. I think this infographic needs a little work. Perhaps you should put the Israeli settler in the settlement areas and maybe give him a big nose and a star of david on his shirt to make it clear that it is a Jew. Then you can put a few Palestinian couples into the state lands area. Wouldn’t that work better?

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    7. Kolumn9, above, is right that cutting Palestinians off from Israeli economic infrastructure helps silence them, politically. Nonviolence rests on an economic threat of non-cooperation–true in the American South in the 50’s-70’s, and true in South Africa as well. In both locations, shops normally selling to those seggregated urged the authorities to make some accomodations when faced with a boycott.
      I have for some time seen the decision to reduce reliance on Palestinian labor and goods after the 2nd Infitata as evidence that those in the Israeli State have indeed taken lessons from history. Beyond the problem of security against terrorism, isolating those occupied from the Israeli economy severs the social bonds nonviolence requires. I believe the general view is that if the US and EU ceased economic aid to the West Bank their economy would regress quickly; this is because, as an isolate, unable to even create a significant export economy, the Bank cannot sustain its own people endogenously.
      So Kolumn9’s assertion that Gaza awaits the Bank if the latter does not, well, make peace as he knows it, is, I think, about where State thinking was post suicide bombing. But those in the Bank seem to have made a different path: you will have to absorb us, one way or another. Life rarely does what it is told to do. I should think Judaism shows that well. There are many lessons from the past.

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    8. Kolumn9

      Greg, Israel cut off the reliance on Palestinian labor after Oslo, not after the second intifada. I think you are correct that the PA economy would collapse without US and EU aid, but I don’t think this matters. It is South Africa’s reliance on the cheap black labor force and the corresponding inability to isolate itself economically and politically from the demands and actions of the ANC that doomed them, not the poverty of those fake states. I also think that there is no conceivable external pressure that would cause Israel to accept responsibility for the Palestinians in the West Bank that are currently ruled by the PA. I simply can’t see any possible situation in which the UNSC, the US, the EU, China or anyone else for that matter would call for Israel to send tanks into Jenin in response to a collapse in social order. Nor do I think such pressure would come from the inside. Not even the settlers advocate such a move. Nor would such an economic collapse have an impact on the international status of Palestine if/once it is recognized, not that the lack of recognition would have much material effect on the situation. In my opinion, partition into two states is unavoidable and irreversible, it is just a question of percentages and terms. The maximum the Palestinians can do is make peace with Israel to get a bigger percentage and better terms.

      There are indeed many lessons learned from the past, but only one side seems to be learning…

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    9. Philos

      Kolumn9, I think you should read up some more on the political-economy of the occupation and it’s ties to the Israeli economy. Yes, Palestinian labour has mostly been replaced by refugees and migrants from African and Asia (except in Jerusalem), however, what has happened is that Palestinian labour has been outsourced away from the Green Line. There are “industrial parks” adjacent to the settlements in which tens of thousands of Palestinians work for piss poor wages in Israeli factories, Palestinians labourers provide the construction labour for settlement expansion and Israeli resource firms extract Palestinian raw materials at almost no additional cost than capital expenses. They pay about 5% in royalties to the State of Israel for the trouble of exploiting the West Bank’s resources.
      I also find it rather appalling that you feel it was Apartheid South Africa’s poor management of the bantustans that brought about that systems collapse rather than its inherent evil. Although factually it was the internal contradictions of a malfunctioning system that brought about its demise much like that of the USSR and much like what awaits Israel.
      The Israeli system cannot sustain itself. The current period of prosperity is an illusion given the internal Israeli economic contradictions and the very damaging political contradictions created by the occupation. Israel 100-years from now will be a backward third-world country with nukes for sale on the international black market because there won’t be any citizens around with the technical knowledge to use them or maintain them. We will be a light unto nations for all the wrong reasons…

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    10. Michal Vexler

      first, I’d like to comment about the use of stereotypes in this info: I thought about it a lot, and decided that since the whole apartheid system in the west bank is based on ethnicity and racism, I shouldn’t depict all the figures in the info as generic stick figures, because that would be beautifying the brute reality. your outrage at such imagery is part of the effect i wanted to create.

      as for numbers:
      these are taken from Bet’selem and Shlom-Achshav data from 2009, and the exact numbers changed. but the bigger picture remains: there are 9 Palestinians for every settler in the west bank. most of them live in areas A and B, which make up only 40% of the west bank, so around 300,000 settlers live in the other 60%, alongside 150,000 Palestinians in small villages in area C (the purple square in the middle) their life is hell, as you can learn from the box on the right.

      Eli: at first I titled it “land division in the West Bank” but when I finished it, the picture was clear: what we see here is ethnic cleansing.

      Daniel: I an working on a black and white version of the whole project, but it will take time. will update once it’s finished.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Kolumn9

      @Philos, the total number of Palestinians that work in Israeli industrial parks, settlements, settlement construction, etc is less than 50,000. This number is marginal given the Israeli labor force is 3.2M.

      Being inherently evil doesn’t bring down countries though malfunctioning political and economic systems certainly could. Apartheid was a completely immoral situation, but like most systems that fail, it failed mostly due to economic reasons. The Bantustan model was a flawed, somewhat impractical, incomplete and failed attempt at partition and much can be learned from its failure. In any case, Israel is not South Africa and the PLO/Hamas are not the ANC. Israel has no desire to rule the Palestinians, to use them as a labor force or in any other way have any contact with them. There are parallels but they are weak at best, but there is certainly an attempt at a partition.

      The current period of prosperity is real, but the possibility exists that it is unsustainable due trends in demographics and education. Whatever happens to the Israeli economy will have very little to do with the occupation and I see the political contradictions arising from the occupation to be temporary in nature.

      @Michal, you confuse mockery for outrage. That the settler is a settler is not going to be clear to most people who aren’t already aware of the situation. My confusion at first was honest and your infographic is not as effective as it could be. The whole ethnic cleansing angle is also entirely unclear from the picture. Perhaps you should have a bulldozer pushing Palestinian families out of Area C or something and again, it isn’t clear that there are any Arabs in Area C at first glance. If people must read the text to get the point of your infographic, it has failed.

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    12. Tell me Michal,
      How come you don’t know that legally and historically speaking – Arabs were NEVER Palestinians…?
      They have no legal right to call themselves using OUR (Jewish people) brand:


      Article 7.

      The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.

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    13. annie

      “The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. ”

      the administration? why not just do it in the knesset? too blatant?

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    14. Blake

      ALL of “Israel” is European zionist occupied Palestine. To negate the inhabitants the way these impostors do is criminal and there should be a law against those who think they are a law unto themselves

      Reply to Comment