The official map of Hertz Car Rental in Israel advocates an expansionist vision of Zionism. More or less. At least that’s what this story by Michael Shtender-Auerbach in HuffPo says. (Via J Street’s Twitter).
Hertz provides maps for its customers in all of its 1,900 locations throughout the world. In Israel, the map provided is a shameful construct that completely denies the existence of an occupied Palestinian territory or, in fact, of anything Palestinian. There is no demarcation of the internationally recognized Green Line that separates Israel from the occupied West Bank. Israel simply stretches from the Mediterranean in the West all the way to the Jordan River in the East. The Israeli highway system travels throughout the entire area, and one gets the impression that it is all Israel and that Palestinian towns and villages are merely parts of one coherent whole: The Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa are connected to the same highway system as Nablus, Hebron, and Jenin. Nablus, in fact, does not even appear as Nablus, but under its ancient Israeli and modern Hebrew name, Shekhem. The occupied Golan, which Israel annexed in 1981 after occupying it from Syria in 1976, is not demarcated; the border with Syria is simply moved eastwards. Gaza, which Israel ‘disengaged’ from in 2005 but retains control over, (and for all intents and purposes, its occupation) is represented as “Gaza Area” and it is completely white: an anonymous, blank area – no people, no cities, no roads….
Is this worth getting indignant about? I’m not sure that the decision was made in the upper echelons of the Hertz Corporation, though it could have been for all I know. And in Israel-Palestine maps are power. (That’s a large part of what the wall is about.) Hertz–knowingly or not–becomes complicit in the Israeli land grab, supports the settler notion that the West Bank is Judea and Samaria, not the future home of a Palestinian state. So maybe it is worth getting indignant about.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that there is, in fact, an official map of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. That is obviously what Hertz, and everyone else, should use for now.