Middle East map without Israel shown at UN gathering
By NATHAN GUTTMAN
A map of the Middle East presented at a formal event at the United Nations did not include Israel and had no mention of the Jewish state in the region. The map was used at an event on November 29 that was attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the presidents of the UN Security Council and General Assembly.
The topic of the official gathering was "A Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" and it took place on the day 58 years ago in which the UN adopted the Partition Plan which paved the way to the creation of the state of Israel.
A UN spokesman said in response to a query from The Jerusalem Post that the map hanging on the wall behind the secretary general at the event was not on official map of the UN and that all maps that were put out by the international body clearly included Israel.
"The map the was used was a historic map and it will not be there next year," said Farhan Haq, a spokesman at UN headquarters in New York. According to Haq, the map was brought to the event by the Palestinian delegation and not by any UN official. "It does not represent the UN's views on the region," he added.
The map, carrying the title "Map of Palestine," was supposed to depict the situation in the Middle East in 1948 before Israel gained its independence, yet it does not even include the lines of the Partition Plan that were approved by the UN on November 29, 1947.
The Israeli delegation to the UN is considering its actions following the use of the map. Sources in the delegation said Israel will not accept such behavior on behalf of the international body and views the event in a very serious light.
Pictures of the map were first posted on the "Eye on the UN" Web site - a watchdog group dedicated to ensuring transparency in the international body. The posting was followed by phone calls from pro-Israel activists to the UN, which led to the organization's promise that the map would not be used again in formal events.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sent a letter to Annan criticizing him for his appearance at an event in which such a map was openly displayed. The ZOA called on Annan to "make immediate explanations to Israel and the Jewish community for this inappropriate action."
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