Map of the Nakba in Hebrew

Produced by Zochrot, this maps shows settlements destroyed in Israel, ‘since the beginning of Zionism until the 1967 war’, as explained in the legend at the top. The Hebrew names of extant settlements as one would normally see on a map of Israel, are all still visible, though recede in pale gray into the background. Instead, the names  of 601 former settlements appear in black on top, conveying the destruction and dispersal of Palestinian communities in countless events. The map  serves as a useful historical tool in visualising and recording the Nakba and tracing events through re-mapping.
The legend also contains two quotes, from two European Jewish thinkers who are nonetheless worlds apart:

“For Europe we shall constitute there [in Palestine] a sector of the wall against Asia, we shall serve as the vanguard of culture against barbarism.” – Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, 1896
“This is how one pictures the angel of history.  His face is turned toward the past.  Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in f’ront of his feet.  The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.  But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them.  The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.” – Walter Benjamin, Ninth Thesis on the Philosophy of History, 1940 [emphasis added]

Catastrophe; Sho’ah; Nakba. History repeats itself. Herzl’s fundamentally racist vision for Israel, which stands up to his colonial counterparts here in Australia or anywhere else, contrasts Benjamin’s sad crisis of faith. This map and quotations reflect the aspirations of the Zionist campaign, and the painful realisation in its aftermath that the destruction was, and continues to be, devastating, permanent and unjustifiable. Zochrot’s iNakba phone app integrates roaming technology into the act of re-mapping.

Leave a Reply