36. Seven Years of Water Well Demolitions in the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian West Bank

Now it’s Your Turn

In the comments, please ask questions or make suggestions that will help the cartographer improve the map. Key things to think about include:

  • Does the map orient the viewer?
  • Does the data tell a story?
  • Does the map support the story being told?
  • Does the map make assumptions?
  • How could the map be more readable?
  • Are there any errors or typos?
  • corey

    I neglected to include the fact that 555 people were physically displaced from their homes as a result of these demolition events in addition to the total number of people affected. The language should also reflect that it is not clear in the data that demolition of water wells specifically were the cause of displacement. In many cases, wells and cisterns were damaged or demolished along with agricultural and residential structures – and it is not necessarily accurate to say that the demolition of water wells was directly responsible for the displacement of people.

    Also, do you (my peers), think that I should include the number of water storage tanks that were damaged or demolished by Israel? I didn’t initially include storage tanks because I wanted to focus on ‘heavier’ infrastructure…


    • Gabi

      Don’t be fooled into a false divide between “heavy” and “light” infrastructure. Water storage tanks are the first lifeline for Palestinians, they often have to buy water from private companies because of demolition of centralized infrastructure or an inability to build it in the first place. So demolition of water storage tanks is as devastating or even more so than a cistern demolition because it’s usually filled with water the family spent thousands of shekels on. Include them!

      • Jessica Norriss

        agreed – the personal water storage tanks are vital!

  • Chuck Clark

    Corey, you might include a footnote saying, say, “In addition to the heavier infrastructure detailed on the map, the Israelis damaged or demolished xxxx smaller water storage tanks.”

    I could not distinguish the Areas.
    Consider making Area Bs a neutral gray, say, as they share both Israeli and Palestinian control.
    Which are the Area As and which are the Area H1s?

    Perhaps, if the colors need to stay subtle, you could add a small A, B, C, H1, and H2, on a typical zone in the map.

    consider capitalizing the major words in the title. This will help it to stand out.

    Why is this posted twice? Is one revised from the other? I don’t immediately spot any differences.

    • corey

      Thank you, Chuck!

      I don’t know why they are posted twice. They are the same though.

      Great idea on the footnote! Regarding labels for different jurisdictions, I will add those, too. Regarding the colors of jurisdictional area, I will try to make them more distinguishable — manly areas A and H1. Although, regarding Areas B and C, maybe you can help me convey this:

      Area B, under Israeli military control, is definitely not neutral. See the frequency of well demolitions in Area B as an example. It is really under Israeli control at the end of the day, so I made it a lighter blue, juxtaposed to Area C (and across the, “green line” into Israeli territory as it is recognized by the UN). I do feel it is important to convey that Area B is definitely under Israeli military control before it is governed by the Palestinian Authority. Do you have ideas on this?

      Thank you!!

      • Gabi

        I agree with you re: neutrality, and I assume you chose shades of blue because of the connection to water, but I think that choosing blue and then needing to go with two different shades of it makes the map both harder to read, and does not orient the viewer to the nuances of power and spatial control in the WB. Similarly the shade of gray you choose for ‘natural reserves’ is too close to the shade you chose for the bordering nations.

        Ideas include choosing an entirely separate color — maybe keep B blue and choose a teal or other greenish shade for area C.

        Typo in the title: “Palestinian people’s access” or “Palestinians’) but Palestinian peoples’ doesn’t make sense. or just make it “directly affected access to water for 3449 Palestinians.”

        The Green Line needs to be marked better. Is your current blue line the 1949 Armistice line? The wall? Why does it not include the Dead Sea (which Israel claims control of and extracts from) but ends on the land? If that was a visual choice I would advise against it. The international border with Jordan runs down the middle of the sea.

        Overall good map, if you want to stay in touch about these topics agriculture in Israel-Palestine is specifically my area of research and would love to stay in touch with cartographers interested in these topics. I don’t know how to do cartography yet so I’d love to collaborate.

      • Chuck Clark

        I don’t see “the green line” shown on the map at all.

        I agree with Gabi’s suggestions on the colors.

        Consider black (or a similarly extremely dark color) for “checkpoints roadblocks and earthmound barriers”. Right now these features get lost with the other blues, but now that I study them, they create an overall sub-organization of spaces that is not now readily apparent due to the close shade to the other colors.

        Seems like you could take Area B out of the legend entirely because it is the general background region, so to speak, of the map as a whole. So just label it with a callout on the map. You’ve lots of empty space in the “Jordan” and “Israel” areas to place such text. And the legend will benefit from fewer categories.

        • Chuck Clark

          I just discover you can click on the image for enlargements.

          The stroke outlines are not working because they are (1) too close in value to the fill, and (2) often incomplete, depending on which layer is on top. It’s the classic figure-ground problem. Smaller regions should be on top, so their stroke perimeter is unbroken.

          Also, H1 Areas have no stroke in the legend but on the map there are no unstroked areas.

          corey — I’m happy to take a look at your revisions. Let me know — we can contact through email.

        • Gabi

          Natural reserves are actually under Israeli authority. So it’s good you point out that right now they seem to be under no one’s authority. Not sure whether that needs a color change or text on the legend or both.

          Similarly Area B is not the background region of the map as a whole, it is a specific designation under the Oslo Accords.

          I personally think this is great to hear feedback from someone who doesn’t know this region well because it makes it clear what is unclear to a lay person! I would also happily correspond over email for revisions.

          • Chuck Clark

            Oh, that must be Area C that is the background area for the whole map.

            Sure is hard to figure out which is Area H2 and which is Area C.

            I also would happily correspond over email, rightbasicbuilding at gmail dot com.

            I think you could introduce the Natural Reserves-under-Israeli-Authority fact in the legend, and leave the neutral color on the map. But do consider a hatch because it will stand out as different from all the other, habitated uses.

            This map is extremely important because it puts all this sensitive real estate under a powerfully obvious microscope. (Assuming you clear up which is which, of course!)

  • Kate Brauman

    I found this a little hard to interpret without knowing how many wells there are total. Could you provide a ballpark number, just so the reader knows if we’re taking about 1% or 50% or 90% of all the wells in the area.

  • YES! I’ve been looking for this for years. Maybe use non water color fro israelis?