Restoring Palestine: 2000 Years of Mapping
On November 16, 2020, the PLSC hosted the first event in our inaugural lecture series. The lecture was given by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, entilted Restoring Palestine: 2000 Years of Mapping.
Dr. Salman Abu Sitta:
Dr. Salman Abu Sitta is a Palestinian researcher best known for his crucial work formulating a practical return plan for Palestinian refugees and his extensive mapping of Palestine. He is the Founder and President of the Palestine Land Society, and his archival collection and working files form the backbone of the Palestine Land Studies Center at AUB. He is also the author of over 400 articles and papers on Palestine, as well as several books, including The Atlas of Palestine, 1917-1966 (2010). His newest atlas, The Atlas of Palestine (1871-1877), published in August 2020, shows Palestine before Zionist colonization. His book, Mapping my Return, is the first personal memoir in English describing the experience of Al Nakba in southern Palestine.
Palestine, the Holy Land, is the most coveted land in history. Countless invaders have occupied Palestine throughout the ages, including Alexander's Macedon, the Romans, the Crusaders and the British. But in all cases, the people of the land remained largely in situ. An exception is the ongoing Zionist occupation and colonization, which is the most brutal and lasting so far. With the advent of settler colonialism in the 19th century, Palestine has been mapped, measured, and documented to an extensive degree. Scheming conquerors produced their own charts and maps of Palestine to aid in their seizure of the country. This lecture covers how mapping was used to conquer Palestine and how the Zionist occupation planned the seizure of Palestine and the erasure of its geography and history. A review of mapping in Palestine in 2000 years, particularly in the 21st, 20th, 19th, 16th and 4th centuries is given. Palestine's 2000 years of mapping is unequalled in the world, including the record of all European capitals.