US: The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace has launched a digital map showing six different alternatives for the border between Israel and Palestine. It is helping decision makers make informed decisions about the borders. Over the past few years, the Center has contributed to the development of an extensive map database, covering the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
It is important according to an article published in True/Slant. The article suggests negotiators from both nations that in an era when Google Maps instantly displays the precise location of settlements, walls, bypass roads and checkpoints – when folks on the Palestinian side sport American and British PhD’s, not keffiyehs – why not sit down together over one huge digital map to negotiate? At least put your maps in Google docs, and hit the share button.
The article has also highlighted an editorial by Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief David Horovitz which posits low expectations for success of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks getting underway this week, based on Yassar Arafat’s intransigence during the 2000 peace talks. It has recalled efforts made by former US president Bill Clinton through New York Times op-ed where Clinton’s chief negotiator, Dennis Ross, criticises Carter for using and mislabelling his maps.
As mentioned in the article, it is hard to believe that even today; there are no official maps available to the public showing what was offered/rejected by Arafat at Camp David. The closest we can get is a dramatic pair of maps on the website MidEastWeb.com, attributed to Dennis Ross, who says he had drawn up for his 2004 book, The Missing Peace. [Roughly similar maps are on the website of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.]