Facts and maps

Dear Editor:The campus debate about the situation in the Middle East is plagued by a lack of facts on both sides. This is a primary reason that the discussion so quickly and so frequently descends into name-calling and insults.The debate is NOT about whether or not you approve of terrorism (no responsible person does), but so often it becomes that.Both my fellow Jews who support Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza, those who don’t and those of various backgrounds who oppose Israel’s actions all share one fundamental disadvantage – there is very little hard factual information on which to base the discussion.I think that the best way in which you could serve the purpose of intelligent debate and conflict resolution would be to fill in these gaps. It would be useful to all involved.I suggest that you publish maps that show the following:1. The course of the security wall currently being built, including whatever population centers are affected or not affected.2. A map of the settlements, including the boundaries of the areas controlled by the Settler’s Councils and the military reservations.3. Various proposals for a future Palestinian state: Camp David, President’ Bush’s 2001 proposal, the one envisioned by Prime Minister Sharon, etc.This second one is especially important. On rare occasions, one sees a map of the settlements, but they are usually represented as neutral dots or square, giving no sense of their extent nor of their interaction with the local communities, water aquifers, etc. This is a major problem in that I find that almost none of my Jewish friends, non-Jewish friends, indeed even most of my friends who are from Israel or have spent a great deal of time there have any concept of what is involved.I think these facts are largely neutral: each side will find something to comment on concerning them.In any case, it is the job of journalism to furnish the fact on which a democracy bases it’s decision.Thank you,Amy BrooksI must tell you that this information is not easy to come by. I have spent a good deal of time researching it and have not met with a great deal of luck. You will need to do your own research but I can suggest a few places to at least begin to look. As trained journalist, I have no doubt that you will have better luck than have I.I am trying to provide sources from both sides of the divide:http://www.angelfire.com/pro/canthoswww.gush-shalom.org/media/barak_eng.swfList of all internet sites concerning the conflicthttp://dmoz.org/Society/Issues/Warfare_and_Conflict/Specific_Conflicts/Middle_East/Israel-Palestine/Background_and_History/http://www.btselem.org/English/Publications/Summaries/Land_Grab_2002.asp(has maps and is fairly scholarly)www.GAMLA.orgwww.masada2000.org