Thursday, June 03, 2021

An Occupied State on Street View

The Opposite of Occupied Is Not Vacant is a collection of Street View images which were found on Google Maps in Jerusalem and Occupied Palestine. The images are presented without commentary and in their original context.Although there is no political commentary attached to the images each Street View has obviously been selected because it reflects somehow the sense of two communities divided and in many ways at war with each other.

Many of the Street View panoramas in this collection feature views of the Israel West Bank barrier. Many Israelis see this barrier as a necessary security barrier against terrorism. Most Palestinians see it as a tool of apartheid designed to restrict the movements of Palestinians. These images of border walls, check-points and patrolling soldiers obviously cannot convey the true horror of the conflict experienced by both Israeli and Palestinian civilians over recent weeks (and over the decades). However they do help to paint a picture of how this conflict has shaped the landscape of Israel and Palestine. 

During the 1948 Palestine War around half the Palestinian people were forced from their homes. Nearly the entire urban Palestinian population was expelled before the Israeli Declaration of Independence in May 1948. The Palestine Open Maps project has created an interactive story map which tells the story of the eviction of the Palestinian people from their homeland.

In How the Nakba Transformed Palestine the Palestine Open Maps project explores how 500 Palestinian towns and villages were depopulated and over 750,000 people displaced during the creation of the State of Israel. The Palestine Open Maps project has used 155 vintage maps from the British Mandate of Palestine to create a huge interactive map of Palestine in the 1940's.

This large interactive map is used to show the Palestinian towns and villages which were destroyed and displaced during the creation of the state of Israel. The map shows an overview of the Palestinian villages and towns which existed across Palestine before the Nakba. Colored dots are overlain on the map to show the towns which were destroyed, depopulated and those which remain today.

Each time you reach the end of the story map a different Palestinian town or village is highlighted on the map to show how it was effected by the Nakba. This includes details on the historic Palestinian population in the town and a satellite view of how the town looks today. If you want to learn more about other individual towns or villages you can hit the 'random' button (to learn more about a random town) or you can type in the name of a town or village to learn more about its fate.

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