Professor Motro recounts experiences gained during the 1995 Oslo II Israeli/Palestinian peace talks as an illustration of the impact that mapmakers can have on negotiators. Color selections and shades, omissions, and inclusions can all have an effect on perceptions of negotiation outcomes.
Good maps alone will not be enough to bring peace, but poor design should not join the long list of pitfalls already burdening the peace process. Since the election this year of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian president,a fragile informal truce has raised hopes that, sooner or later, negotiators will again be arguing over percentages of territory and safe passage routes. If the next agreement’s maps make the same mistakes displayed by those attached to Oslo II and to Geneva, they will undermine the chances for success. If the new maps capture a vision that Israelis and Palestinians can live with, they may well tip the balance in favor of peace.
Shari Motro, Lessons From the Swiss Cheese Map, Legal Affairs, Sept.-Oct., 2005, at 46