Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Israel's Point-of-View of Vulnerable Geography

A first in a long running, intermediate series

Americans who were alive during the 1960s probably remember the famous map showing the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The map showed the vulnerable geography the United States felt and helped explain the actions which were undertaken to pressure the Soviets to remove the missiles.

Vulnerable geography maps can be based on real threats or pure propaganda. They can be factual, misleading, false, or only capture part of the picture. None the less vulnerable geography gives insight into how a country feels and helps explains geopolitical actions.

Israel currently is feeling and expressing its vulnerable geography. Current threats from the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah along with threats from Iran and Syria have Israel analyzing its vulnerabilities.

The first example of Israel's vulnerable geography is a map from the Israeli Home Front Command. The map shows the time one has to take cover before the impact of launched missiles. Interestingly enough, the map has a sense of humor. Maps like this provide necessary information with a comic relief that is necessary from letting the stress from vulnerable geography from destroying one's enjoyment of life. (A non-humorous map is on the command's website)

The rest of the examples of vulnerable geography in this post comes from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' website Defensible Borders. The think tank published a report that highlights threats and the need for territory to defend Israeli cities and freedom of movement.

The maps below show how thin Israel would be without the West Bank and how easy it would be to cut off the capital, Jerusalem.

One map shows the value of the West Bank in defending against an attack from the West. This is interesting as the possibility of invasion from Jordon is as low as it has ever been.

The think tank produced a video and report (PDF) which sumed up their report on Israel's vulnerable geography.

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