An Israeli government body that represents 72,000 Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank has published a map of its jurisdiction that shows only Jewish settlements– simply removing scores of Palestinian villages and the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh.
The map was published by the Binyamin Regional Council on a webpage in English titled “Build Your Future With Us” aimed at attracting American Jews to move to “northern Jerusalem suburbs.” The page lists 17 illegal Jewish settlements, some deep in the West Bank, that Binyamin says are “located in the center of Israel.”
Binyamin towns have become one of the most desirable locations in Israel for newcomers, thanks to the centeral location, breathtaking historical views, and above all – the communities: warm and friendly, excellent education systems, diverse population and lively community life.
The map reflects the thinking of recent Israeli governments– beholden to the rightwing settler movement or dominated by them– that have repeatedly threatened to annex West Bank lands and push Palestinians off them.
Binyamin Regional Council is an official local Israeli government body, the late Yossi Gurvitz explained to me in an email two weeks ago: “The Binyamin Regional Council is a regional council, a statuary-recognized form of local government, responsible for 46 settlements. It’s supported by government funds and local taxes. It’s the largest regional council (Regional Councils often gather villages and peripheral towns), with 72,000 residents (=settlers).”
Gurvitz said the trick of eliminating Palestinian population centers in maps is an old practice by settlements. “It’s not news. they’ve been doing it for years, possibly decades (in Hebrew, anyway – I have little knowledge of their propaganda efforts in English), but yeah, I believe it’s noteworthy.
“Deleting the native population off the map is an act of mental genocide, which is essential to actual genocide,” Gurvitz said.
The map does include two Palestinian population centers, Jericho. And Jerusalem. Though those cities are also of biblical importance to Jews.
Gurvitz also noted that the Binyamin Regional Council logo is an image of a wolf, and has the motto, “Binyamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening dividing the spoil,” from Genesis 49:27.