MAPS

Israel Today

Israel stands at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Geographically, it belongs to the Asian continent. Its western border is the Mediterranean Sea. To the north it is bound by Lebanon and Syria, to the east by Jordan and to the south by the Red Sea and Egypt. Long and narrow in shape, Israel is about 290 miles (470 kilometres) long and 85 miles (135 kilometres) across at its widest point. Its total area is 22,145 square kilometres, of which 21,671 square kilometres is land area.

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1947 UN Partition Plan

In 1947, Great Britain relinquished to the UN the power to make decisions relating to the status of the Land of Israel. The General Assembly appointed a special committee that collected evidence and decided unanimously that Israel should be granted independence. Most of the committee members favored partitioning the land into two states, a Jewish state and an Arab state, with Jerusalem under international supervision. On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly accepted the partition resolution, 33 to 13.

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Israel's Narrow Waistline

Between the years 1949 and 1967, the Kingdom of Jordan ruled the highlands of the West Bank. Israel’s ‘waistline’ in the Sharon region was extremely narrow, totaling a mere 15 kilometres (9 miles) in the area of Tulkarm and Netanya. These were ceasefire lines rather than permanent borders, and were considered to be indefensible, especially in light of the area’s topography, which left Israel in the plains while the Arab armies controlled the dominating high ground. The Israeli foreign minister at that time, Abba Eban, used to describe these lines as ‘Auschwitz boundaries’, in order to illustrate the dangers inherent in their continued use.

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West Bank

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Israel-United Kingdom Size Comparison

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Israel and the surrounding region

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