Israel’s Borders After 1948 War

At the when time Israel was negotiating with Jordan over the rights to Jerusalem, the main concern of the Jewish representatives was to gain access to the Old City. The Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement was signed on April 3, 1949. It was decided that a special committee would be established with the purpose of “free access to the Holy Places and cultural institutions and use of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives.” The agreement set out features regarding prisoner exchanges, what zones are to be demilitarized, which is the no-man’s land and how to monitor the arrangements. Keeping in view the agreement, Israel achieved the areas of Irone River and Sharon. Clauses of this agreement were violated and the parties failed to honor it, where as a result, Israel was denied access to the Western Wall and some other sites in Jerusalem till 1967.

Although UN continued to debate on allowing the internationalization of Jerusalem, however, it made no decision of allowing access to the Jews. The Vatican also did not intervene or pay heed to the requests of allowing Jews to visit the religious sites.

Although the Armistice Agreements brought an end to the War of Independence, it did not put a stop to the conflicts going on between Jews and the neighboring Arab countries. The Arab states considered the Armistice Agreements as only a pause as they were not ready to recognize Israel as a separate state. A boycott was created by the Arabs and sustained in all spheres of the society, from political to economic. The aggression continued by both sides, however, no formal military engagements were carried out between the two parties until the Six Day War which happened in 1967.

The ceasefire lines defined in the Armistice Agreements are as follows:

  • 5(2). In no sense are the cease-fire lines to be interpreted as political or territorial borders and their delineation in no way affects the rights, demands or positions of any of the parties to the cease-fire agreements regarding the final disposition of the Palestine question.
  • 5(3). The fundamental objective of the cease-fire lines is to serve as a line beyond which the armed forces of each of the parties will deploy.

Thus it shows that Israel does not have any specified borders under the agreements. The idea of Israeli borders presented in the UN partition plan in November 1947 was unacceptable to the Arabs and was also later rejected by Israel, both having their own reasons for rejection. No change was made after the 1949 Armistice Agreements until the Israel-Egypt Peace Agreement in 1979.

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