Battlepanda: Another devil in the details


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Another devil in the details

Could the way the infamous "swiss cheese" map was presented in Oslo II have impeded the progress of peace? Shari Motro, who was there, makes a convincing case.
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Arafat stormed out of negotiations after seeing the map on the left (dubbed the "swiss cheese" map). He later came back to the table, but his credibility was damaged among the Palestinians for accepting what does look like a hopelessly fragmented series of bantustans.

The map on the right is a less inflammatory way of representing the information. In it, the rest of the West Bank is colored to associate it with the rest of the palestinian territory rather than with Israel. Under Oslo that territory will initially be under Israeli control, but the door will be open for bringing them under Palestinian control at a later stage.

I don't know whether Motro's article is making me more hopeful or less about the peace process. Nobody's suggesting that had a better map been used every would be hunky dory by now. Far from it. But it's a compelling reminder of how, when trust is low and the stakes are high, details cannot be taken for granted.

(via Bradford Plumer)