The reality of space, in particular the perceived lack of it, including the perceptions of the tyranny of proximity, is inextricably tied up with competing narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israels geography (or the lack of it) is never far way from a discussion of security. Israels security dominates every Israeli election. Today we take some maps from our book “Seamless Neighbourhood – Redrawing the City of Israel” (2018 Gandon Editions) to look at some of the facts behind that geography.
The state of Israel is a mere 15km (9.3 miles) wide at its narrowest point. That narrowest point is just 5km north of the municipal border of Tel Aviv-Yafo.
The distance from the beaches of Tel Aviv to the West Bank is marginally shorter than the length of Manhattan.
In the ‘London-Tel Aviv’ and ‘Dublin-Tel Aviv’ maps below we reveal, through comparative maps drawn to scale, the congested space of the contested geographies of the Middle East.
A journey from Tel aviv to Jerusalem, onwards to Amman (Jordan), then Damascus (Syria), Beirut (Lebanon), returning to Tel aviv via the Israeli city of Haifa is some 598km. This perilous and impossible political journey around the middle east is the equivalent in distance to a trip from the city of London to Cambridge, onwards to Birmingham, then Cardiff and Exeter, returning to London via Southampton. Similarly, this Middle East journey in the south-east of England it is the equivalent in distance to a trip from Dublin to Drogheda, on- wards to Athlone, then Limerick and Cork city, returning to Dublin via Kilkenny.
At a distance of 15km wide at its narrowest point, Israel is half the average length of each of the 12 Moscow metro lines. The Sokolnicheskaya line (line no. 1) line which travels in a relatively straight line from north east to south west is 32.5km long. The entire West Bank is the width of London.
Tel Aviv Municipality is smaller in size than the island of Manhattan.