This is a topographical map of the State of Israel. The colored areas are within the legal borders of Israel proper. The area immediately to the east of Jerusalem is the West Bank - named such because it is to the west of Jordan and the west bank of the Dead Sea. Unlike what many people believe, there is not a huge wall that corresponds to the West Bank outline on the map and there is no wall separating Israel from
Gaza. There are obviously places where there are very high walls but not in the way one might imagine. Often the wall goes right through a populated area and separates two sides of a valley or separates a village from its fields. It is not easily represented on a map and it is not easily explained. There are consequences on both sides, mostly unfortunate.
If you click on the image below it will take you to an interactive site that allows you to zoom in/out and get a better sense of the proximities. It is actually a rather good representation. You can easily see when you enlarge the map that the distance between Tel Aviv and the West Bank, or Sderot and Gaza are negligible. In the north Israel is bound by Lebanon and Syria. There is a buffer zone but our neighbors are within shouting distance. No place in this country is far from its enemies. I do not say this
lightly. Whatever one hopes or believes about the current situation it is clear that there is openly stated opposition toward the existence of the State of Israel and that this often results in the exchange of "hostilities" - read: rockets, shells, etc.
I have written this post to shine a little light on the geography and topography of the region and to provide some context on how the geography affects everyday life. It always good to know that there is some way to understand the relationship between the place names -proximity, distance, territory - batteredf about in the news.
I would also like to acknowledge that there are many distinctly different maps of this region, circulating (probably not the right verb) on the net that assign names and labels based on political desires and goals. While it may suit certain agendas, the country has a legal name - Israel - and I'm sticking with that.