When does a Guardian contributor think a country in the Middle East is “small”?

A guest post by AKUS

Soumaya Ghannoushi, commenting about the unrest in Tunisia for the Guardian in Exposing the real Tunisia,  wrote:

“Tunisia, that small north African country on the Arab world’s western shores,”

So, to a Muslim writer, how “small” is “small”, I wondered?

Here is some data for Tunisia:



Total: 163,610 sq km

Land: 155,360 sq km

Water: 8,250 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly larger than Georgia (USA)

Land boundaries: total: 1,424 km

Border countries: Algeria 965 km, Libya 459 km

Coastline: 1,148 km

I thought it would be fun to compare it with the size of another small country in the Middle East:



Total: 20,770 sq km

Land: 20,330 sq km

Water: 440 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries: total: 1,017 km

Border countries: Egypt 266 km, Gaza Strip 51 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km, West Bank 307 km

Coastline: 273 km

Okay, you might say – what about the occupied territories? I’ll throw them in for you as well, even “East Jerusalem”, which I do not consider occupied territory. According to Wikipedia:

West Bank, 5,879 square kilometers,

East Jerusalem, 70 square kilometers

Golan Heights, 1,150 square kilometers (444 sq mi)

So Israel, about an eighth the size of Tunisia, is what I consider a small country in the Middle East!!

But there’s one dimension in which Israel can almost claim geographical parity with little Tunisia –  the length of those twisting, turning, indefensible Green Line “boundaries” which so many people outside Israel want to be the final borders.

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