Education Minister Professor Yuli Tamir, worrying that Israeli children are missing an important piece of history, decided to add the ‘pre-1967 borders’ to all new editions of textbooks. The boundaries, referred to as the ‘Green Line’ or the 1949 Armistice Demarcation Line, followed the invasion by five neighboring Arab states immediately after the Jewish state of Israel was declared.
Israel’s pre-1967 borders reflected the deployment of Israeli and Arab forces on the ground after Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. This new boundaries largely reflected the ceasefire lines of 1949 and were labeled the ‘Green Line’ merely because a green pencil was used to draw the map of the armistice borders.
Judge, Stephen M. Schwebel, the former President of the International Court of Justice writing in What Weight to Conquest stated that the agreements did not mean to “establish definitive boundaries between them [Israel and Arab states].” Lord Caradon, the United Kingdom ambassador to the UN at the time, and a key author of Security Council Resolution 242, said in an interview several years later that “the boundaries of ’67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers.”
This agreement was breached and invalidated by Jordan’s assault on Israel, during the 1967 Six-Day War. Judge Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice and Director of the Research Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, wrote in 1968, just one year after the 1967 Six-Day War, about Jordan aggression toward Israel, an action that resulted in Israel unifying the whole of Jerusalem, and controlling the entire West Bank: “On 5th June, 1967, Jordan deliberately overthrew the Armistice Agreement by attacking the Israeli-held part of Jerusalem.”
“Mandate for Palestine.” What the Israeli Education Minister seems to miss or avoid, is a far more important “map.” It is the map of the legally binding “Mandate for Palestine” document of July 24 1922.
This historical League of Nations [Today’s United Nations] document, laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a 10,000 square mile area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law and valid to this day.
In his report to the League of Nations, Winston Churchill underscored how “international guarantee[s]” for the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine were achieved:
“The [Balfour] Declaration was endorsed at the time by several of the Allied Governments; it was reaffirmed by the Conference of the Principal Allied Powers at San Remo in 1920; it was subsequently endorsed by unanimous resolutions of both Houses of the Congress of the United States; it was embodied in the Mandate for Palestine approved by the League of Nations in 1922; it was declared, in a formal statement of policy issued by the Colonial Secretary in the same year, ‘not to be susceptible of change’; and it has been the guiding principle in their direction of the affairs of Palestine of four successive British Governments. The policy was fixed and internationally guaranteed.”
It certainly ‘beats’ the ‘pre-1967 borders.’