The maps presented below are only a few that could be used in learning and teaching about Israel and the Middle East.
Diplomacy and war reflect the changing contours of states and borders along the evolution of Israel and the modern Middle East. We wish to thank the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for allowing us to use some of their published maps. Others were made for CIE use.
Max Fisher has assembled 40 maps of the Middle East from ancient times to the present, each of them with a brief paragraph introduction. This is a first rate collection of maps with almost no noticeable bias, with a devotion to accuracy. In addition, Michael Izady’s collection, the Gulf2000 project focuses on 8 countries of the Persian/Arabian Gulf.
At the bottom of Michael Izady’s site, other map collections are listed, including the fine collection at the University of Texas. On the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website there is Israel’s Story in Maps. The story covers the Ancient Near East to the present.
For Spanish-language maps, please click here.
For the idea of Zionism to become a territorial reality, Jews required a population and a territory. Creating facts on the ground provided the future state with its demographic and physical nucleus. With 34 pages of original maps alongside contextual, historic descriptions, the story of Zionism’s steady growth is vividly shown and explained.
The area of Eretz Yisrael was part of the Ottoman Empire and composed of three large administrative areas without any political identity as a state or part of a state. At times, portions of the area that was later designated as the Palestine Mandate were ruled from Mecca, Damascus, or Baghdad, or in the case of Jerusalem, directly from Istanbul.
The region prior to the outbreak of WWI. After the War, Modern Middle Eastern states had their borders arbitrarily
drawn by European powers.
The Russian, French, English secret agreement that carved up the Middle East into future areas of interest.
The European agreement that identified the states of the Middle East, 1920.
When Britain controlled Palestine, she lopped off 80% of it and assigned it to the Hashemite family leader, Emir
Abdullah. It became today’s Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Jewish land acquisition in 1930 mostly in the valley and coastal regions.
The UN suggested partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states with an economic union between them and an
internationalization of Jerusalem.
In the aftermath of the 1948 War of Independence, Israel signed armistice agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and
Lebanon. These armistice lines lasted until the immediate aftermath of the June 1967 War.
As a result of the June 1967 War, Israel increased its size seven fold to include Eastern Jerusalem, the Golan
Heights, the West Bank of the Jordan River, and the Gaza Strip.
Drafted by Minister of Labor Yigal Alon after the June 1967 War, the plan envisages Israeli retention of a series of
settlements and military installations along the Jordan Valley, as buffers to a potential Arab land attack from the
east. The plan was never implemented.
For Sadat, who had gone to war against Israel three months earlier, securing a military disengagement agreement was
In addition, diplomatically engaging the US to secure the agreement meant entrenching Washington as a friend of Egypt.
The US embraced the opportunity to quell tensions between Israel and Egypt, while squiring Cairo away from decades of
embrace. Israel had its POWs returned and slowly tested Sadat’s broader intentions toward Jerusalem.
In the last days of the June 1967 War Israel secured a portion of the Syrian Golan Heights, estimated at 1300 sq km or
sq mi; Israel forces sit some 40 miles, 60km from Damascus. Before the June War, Israeli villages and populations in
valley were fired upon by Syrian forces from the Heights. In addition to being an important catchment for Jordan River
waters which helps supply Israel’s water needs, the heights contain not fully explored hydrocarbon sources. In the
Heights is Mt. Hermon which has strategic value for observing military movements into southern Lebanon and to
To test Egypt’s intentions, Israel took eight years, from January 1974 to April 1982, to withdraw from virtually all
The Old City of Jerusalem is divided into four religious quarters: Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Moslem areas. The overall population of the Old City is 34,000, 11 per cent of whom are Jews; Jews comprise 59 per cent of the population of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter and 49 per cent of the Armenian Quarter.
After Israel secured the Golan Heights in the June 1967 War, the Israeli government offered to negotiate its return,
1300 km, for a peace treaty with Israel. Israel withdrew from a small portion of the Heights after the 1973 War. It
to build Israeli settlements in strategic locations and in 1981 applied Israeli law to the area. Some 20,000 Israelis
there in 32 settlements, along with 20,000 Druze.
As an unintended consequence of the June 1967 War, Israel found itself controlling the entire West Bank of the Jordan
amounting to 2,300 square miles with 680,000 Palestinian living in 396 villages, towns and in portions of Jerusalem.
From 1976 forward, the US and the international community in general have labelled the settlements as either “illegal”
or as an “obstacle to peace.” The growth of the settlements or their expansion has occurred in a spatial manner that
places Israeli settler populations in between Arab villages and towns in order to limit or prevent Arab territorial
in the West Bank.
From 1977-1979, the settler population in the territories grew from 3,200 to 17,500, plus 80,000 in East Jerusalem. Of
the 225,000 Israel settlers in the “territories,” in 2005, all 8,500 settlers living in Gaza (5% of the total) were
with the area turned over to the Palestinian Authority. Later in 2006, Hamas conducted a coup and ousted the
Authority from Gaza.
Israel has 1068 kilometers in land borders. Egypt 208 km, Gaza Strip 59 km, Jordan 307 km, Lebanon 81 km, Syria 83 km,
and the West Bank 330 km; its Mediterranean coastline 273 km. CIA The World Factbook – Israel. June 2014.