Visualizing Palestine is an open collective which attempts to demonstrate graphically the injustice to which the Palestinians are subjected to in the current apartheid -or colonization depending on whether you consider the territory Palestine/Israel as one sovereignty or two. After an historical document on the hunger strike to support Khader Adnan who was doing one to protest against his detention in an Israeli prison without having been charged with anything, they just released a map of Israel/Palestine (see above) illustrating the segregative characteristics of the road system on this territory. The West Bank and East Jerusalem are indeed full of highways that are forbidden to Palestinian cars as they link the Israeli territory to the numerous illegal civil settlements in the occupied territories (see my previous article about the Route 443). In addition to that, the map shows how the totality of roads accessible to Palestinians to link their main cities together are highly restricted as they are punctuated regularly by more or less heavy duty checkpoints which can ultimately cut any form of physical communication between the various towns of the West Bank.
A country like the United States is participating to the segregation as their aid to Palestine is mostly focused on the construction of specific roads for Palestinians. Not only such supposedly philanthropic operation mark the West Bank’s landscape with as many useless scars (since they basically double the exclusive Israeli roads), but it ratifies de facto the current situation and sustain it in time.
Maps are very important for that matter as they illustrate the fundamental organization of mechanisms of occupation which, ultimately is in complete violation of the international law. Nowadays, a viral video of a young Danish activist being punched by a IDF soldier with a rifle seems to have more impact for the awareness than these depersonnified maps. However, the indignation provoked by a local event is misplaced as it looks only at the end of the long sum of stategized circumstances that allows such event to occur. This indignation is therefore, not only quasi-useless, but almost dangerous as it often bases its reaction on an acceptance of these circumstances (here, the occupation and oppressive policies against Palestinians). On the contrary, cartographic documents and other elements addressing the issue in a broad legal field are the important pieces to recognize the unjust essence of these policies.
In a more specifically architectural approach the authors of the map, Polypod and our friend Ahmad Barclay also include a small schematic inventory of road typologies which implements the segregative conditions through their design. Those are on the maps but you can see a close-up below: