The Green Line

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The Green Line is a term used to delineate the demarcation line between Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Syria from the period following Israel’s 1948 Independence War until the 1967 Six Day War when Israel captured the West Bank, and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. It is reportedly named for the green pen used by officers negotiating the armistice in 1949 to delineate the borders between the countries.

Today, the Green Line refers to the “pre June 1967” line in which Israeli territory does not include the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan, as compared to the “post 1967” line which includes all of those areas. It is the boundary that is most often the basis of land-for-peace proposals in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority asserts that the territory over the green line (including the entire West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — but not the Golan Heights) should be part of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel maintains that the old 1949 armistice lines are indefensible — at its narrowest point from the Mediterranean coast to the demarcation line, Israel is only about nine miles wide. In prior negotiations, Israel has reportedly proposed “land swaps” to modify this line, whereby areas of Israeli territory within the Green Line would be incorporated into a Palestinian state, in exchange for including many of the large Israeli population centers living in settlement blocs within Israel’s permanent boundary.