Official Web Site Recognizes Green Line

The Israeli government's official Internet site directs surfers to a map service in which the Green Line - the 1949 cease-fire line that separated Israel from the West Bank until 1967 - is marked.

The Israeli government's official Internet site, entitled Israel Government Gateway, directs surfers to a map service in which the Green Line - the 1949 cease-fire line that separated Israel from the West Bank until 1967 - is marked.

The Green Line on the map does not pass through Jerusalem, as it did prior to the 1967 Six Day War, but a gap is found in its place. The line also does not appear in "No-man's land" - the Latrun-Modi'in area where the border existed before 1967.

Showing the Green Line deviates from the policy the government has followed for more than 25 years. The cease-fire line had been erased from Israel's official maps at the political instruction of former housing minister David Levy after the Likud rose to power in 1977. Since then, the order was strictly observed. The Green Line appears in maps published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, not as a border but as an internal demarcation among administrative provinces.

The Israeli Governmental Advertising Agency (Lapam), which is subordinate to the Prime Minister's Office, is responsible for the government's gateway site.

Lapam director Natan Meir said yesterday there was no intention or political meaning in publishing the new map, and he had not been aware of the Green Line marking. He said Lapam purchased the cartographic information from the Mapa company, and Systematics provided the technology for presenting the map on the Internet.

Meir said the map service was introduced to the site about two months ago in an attempt to interest the ministries - Lapam's main clients - to put it on their Web sites. Systematics' map services are also available in a version for civilians on a commercial site.

However, the version appearing on the government's site includes changes and additions, such as the location of the National Insurance Institute offices and other public institutions.