Thursday, January 19, 2006

Pre-1948 map of Palestine creates controversy

Here is a good example of the high political implications that can be created by a simple display of a map. Israel was created in 1948 in the old territory of Palestine and since then Palestine's official map became different that is smaller... Meanwhile there was another map called the "map of historical Palestine", which is Palestine's map before 1948... The UN controversy began with the statements of the US ambassador at the UN... Here is the news report from Reuters through Yahoo News:

US decries Palestinian map display at U.N. event
(Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador John Bolton has complained to U.N.Secretary-General Kofi Annan about an annual U.N. event where a map of pre-1948 Palestine, an area that now comprises the state of Israel, is displayed. "It was entirely inappropriate for this map to be used. It can be misconstruedto suggest that the United Nations tacitly supports the abolition of thestate of Israel," Bolton said."Given that we now have a world leader pursuing nuclear weapons who is callingfor the state of Israel to be 'wiped off the map,' the issue has even greatersalience," he said in a January 3 letter, a copy of which was obtained byReuters on Friday. The letter was first reported in the New York Sun.Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said in October the Jewish stateshould be "wiped off the map," has denied pursuing nuclear arms.Annan at the time expressed dismay about the Iranian leader's comment and latercanceled a planned trip to Tehran.Bolton's letter complained about the symbolism of Annan attending the latestInternational Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, held last November29, along with General Assembly President Jan Eliasson and Russian AmbassadorAndrei Denisov, the Security Council president for November.He questioned whether the United Nations could promote the event when U.S. lawprohibits funding such events. Washington's dues cover about a quarter of theregular U.N. budget.Annan's office was preparing a response to the letter, U.N. chief spokesmanStephane Dujarric said.He said the secretary-general was grateful that Bolton and others had broughtthe matter to his attention and had raised the matter of the map with theGeneral Assembly's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of thePalestinian People, which stages the annual event.It was not Annan but the committee that decided in 1981 to display the pre-1948map at the annual event, he said."This gives a very unfortunate impression that the United Nations favorsreplacing Israel by a single Palestinian state, which is not the case," hesaid, stressing that Annan regularly describes Israel as a full U.N. member andstrongly disapproved of the Iranian president's comments.The United Nations is a member of the quartet of international mediatorspursuing a road map to Middle East peace along with the United States, European Union and Russia.

More on the high political implications of Palestine's maps from pro-Israeli and pro-Palesteninian websites.


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