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Image by Robert Bye

The status of Judea & Samaria  

The borders of what is termed "The Green Line" have no international legal standing.  These borders were laid down in the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement of 1949 which took place in the island of Rhodes.  They could have turned into internationally-recognized borders had they met the following terms:

  1. The states bordering on either side of the line must have legal claim under international law to the territory within the borders.

  2. An agreement must be signed between the involved states recognizing the said borders.


The legal status of Judea and Samaria (or "The West Bank" as it is called by the Jordanians) was defined as "territory occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan".  Similarly, the Gaza Strip was termed "territory occupied by Egypt".  Yet these two countries have no grounds for ownership of these lands.  When the peace agreement with Egypt was signed, Egypt insisted that it had a right to "every grain of sand" in the Egyptian territories, but made no claim of ownership over the Gaza Strip.  Similarly, the Kingdom of Jordan, although having shown interest in the territories of Judea & Samaria and even saw itself as representing the Palestinian people for a time – rid itself of any affiliation to these territories.  In fact, in 1988 King Hussein announced that Jordan was officially disengaging itself from "The West Bank". In fact, the peace treaty, signed between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan in 1994, makes no mention of these territories or claims of ownership on the part of Jordan.  Israel was the sole authority in the area until the Oslo Accords, at which time it delegated some of this authority to the Palestinian Authority in areas A and B.  Before the Six Day War, no demands were ever made by the Palestinians of Jordan or Egypt concerning the establishment of an independent Palestinian state; nor did the Palestinians engage in any type of war or struggle, be it military or political, against either of these countries with the aim of liberating their supposed "occupied territories" from them. 

In the world as we know it, since time immemorial, political borders have always been set out on the basis of agreements between states.  In most cases, throughout history, such borders resulted from war, or were set out in their wake.  The UN resolution of November 29th, 1947, attempted to set out borders partitioning the Land of Israel lying west of the Jordan River.  However, the proposal was rejected by the Arabs, who invaded the land and declared a war of total destruction on the newly-founded state.  As is the case with any UN resolution, the UN Partition Plan for Palestine would have had legal validity only in such case that both parties had agreed to it.  If no such agreement exists, the resolution is not legally bounding under international law.  The armistice lines, which were drawn up after the War of Independence, were accepted neither by the Arab states nor by the State of Israel.  Furthermore, it was explicitly agreed that that the permanent borders would only be drawn up in the framework of a peace agreement between the two parties.  The Six Day War was the consequence of massive Egyptian military presence in Sinai; the shut down of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt; the bombing of west Jerusalem, and the destructive shelling of the Hula valley settlements from the Golan Heights – all of which were done with the aim of conveying one clear message: Egypt, Syria and Jordan aspire to conquer the Land of Israel and demolish the State of Israel lying within the 'Green Line' borders - to which they had all objected.  Ergo, as far as International Law was concerned, the borders that were set out at the end of the last war are legally binding, provided that other international borders have not been drawn up in the meantime as part of an agreement between the involved states (as is the case with our borders with Egypt and Jordan, following the peace agreements signed with both of these countries).  If Israel chooses to make any concessions concerning any of the territories in question, in no respect is it by force of any "international law"; likewise, Israel breaks no law by choosing to hold onto any of these territories and leave any or all under its rule.  

דגל ישראל
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