A Visible Boundary

A Visible Boundary May 27, 2012

In my Sunday school class today we talked about Israel and Palestine, as this was my first Sunday in church since my trip. Because the question of distances between places came up, someone in the class looked up Israel on Google Earth. As a result, we all got to see something that one can see on the ground, but which seems to me to come across even more poignantly in the satellite image. The investment and distribution of resources between Israel and the West Bank (in terms of irrigation and “greenification”) shows up so clearly that one wouldn’t need the armistice line drawn in to be able to see it. See for yourselves, whether here or on Google Earth:

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  • Michael Wilson

    Is this not historically so? The area that is now the west bank wsas the Palestinian highlands of early Israel and even in the Bronze Age and early Iron Age not as suitable for agriculture. it is an iteresting reversal that people who feel decended from the highland settlers are now expanding up from the coast, which was in the Iron age, the home of the phillistines after which the current inhabitents of the highlands are mis-named after.  Of course it is true that part of this is due to the greater ability to control resources in Israel than in the occupied territories, but i suspoect it was and always will be a bit greener by the coast.

    • Michael, there definitely are topological factors – the West Bank includes substantial amounts of desert. But I don’t think that accounts for the color contrast all along the boundary. Zoom in on the image and let me know what you think.

  • Jim Harrison

    I don’t know about the Palestinian case; but there are several political borders that are distinctly visible from outer space: the two obvious ones are the border between California and Mexico and the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  Jared Diamond  provides an explanation for the second instance in his book Collapse.