Palestinians Excluded From Israel Police Map of Southern West Bank

According to the map, which hangs in the Kiryat Arba-Hebron police station, the population of the region is 81,000, 99.6 percent of whom are Jewish.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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An Israel Police map of southern West Bank excludes Palestinians.
An Israel Police map of southern West Bank excludes Palestinians. Credit: Courtesy
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

The map of the Hebron region used by the Israel Police excludes all the Palestinian villages and communities in the area, other than the three big cities, and omits written data about the Palestinian population.

In the map's segmentation of the terrain between "built-up" and "open" areas, the populated Palestinian areas are included under "open."

The map was published in 2014 by the police's planning division and bears the signature of division head Maj. Gen. Danny Chen. The Hebron sector in the Judea and Samaria police district covers the southern West Bank (up to and including Bethlehem) but not the Judean Desert.

The map, a photograph of which was obtained by Haaretz, is framed and hangs on the wall in the patrol room of the Kiryat Arba-Hebron police station. It consists of a large information board, in the center of which is the map.

Only the cities of Bethlehem, Halhul and Hebron appear on the map, alongside Israeli settlements (but excluding unauthorized outposts.)

The other Palestinian cities, towns, villages, shepherding communities – together numbering more than 200 localities – don't appear. Areas A, B and C as defined by the Oslo Accords are color coded. The police don't operate in Area A, but are authorized to operate in areas B and C, in other words to enter the dozens of villages and communities in those areas. They are also authorized to detain, arrest and issue traffic tickets to any Palestinian travelling the roads in Area C.

The information section of the map puts the "number of residents" at 82,000. An asterisk points to a note that reads "Irrespective of the Palestinian population." The religious segmentation of the area is given as 99.6 percent Jews and 0.4 percent others.

According to the map, the district's population is 82,000, living in seven cities and 21 villages. Credit: Courtesy
The map's religious breakdown of the district: 99.6 percent Jews and 0.4 percent others.Credit: Courtesy

The list also includes population growth information (6 percent), number of settlements (28, seven urban and the rest rural) and the breakdown of the population (82.9 percent urban and the rest rural.)

The police's Hebron sector roughly coincides with two Palestinian governorates: Hebron and Bethlehem, with a combined area of 1,680 km2.

The "area of the station" (i.e. the area covered by the sector without division into A, B and C) is – according to the map – 1473 km2, of which 0.7 percent is built-up and 99.3 percent is "open" – i.e. the opposite of built-up.

In practice, however, the built-up area in the Hebron and Bethlehem governorates is 6.5 percent or 104 km2 (as of 2011,) according to the Bethlehem-based Jerusalem Institute for Applied Research.

It's worth noting that the website of the police's Judea and Samaria district gives different figures: 1,600 km2 for the Hebron sector, as opposed to 1,473 km2 on the map in the police station, 32 settlements (28 on the map) and 62,000 residents.

The website also notes that 811,000 Palestinians live in the sector in 99 communities.

The Israel Police responded: "We stress forcefully that the Israel Police operates professionally and equally with no connection to the identity of the citizens. Maps are a tool that provides visual representation for the officers and policemen and in no way encompasses a position, type of action or attitude to the population for which the force in the sector is responsible.

"When the Israel Police compiles a demographic profile, it is based entirely on public data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, which does not publish population estimates about the Palestinian communities and is not authorized to provide population estimates that are not based on its data.

"It goes without saying that the comment relating to the Palestinian population refers only to the way that demographic data is calculated and nothing else. All the localities in the sector, without reference to their identities, appear in the police's computerized mapping system, as well as the map itself."

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