Where Exactly Is the Green Line Between Israel and the West Bank? That’s Classified Military Material

When a private Israeli citizen requested the maps, he was told it was classified information, for it may 'undermine the state’s international relations'

Israeli soldiers and border police stand guard as Israeli hydraulic shovels demolish a Palestinian building north of the West Bank city of Hebron in the so-called "Area C" on February 14, 2018.
HAZEM BADER/AFP

So where does the Green Line run, exactly? Don’t expect the state to set you straight; it refuses to release its own detailed maps showing the Green Line out of concern it “would harm Israel’s international relations.”

In response to a Freedom of Information Law request, the legal adviser of the Construction and Housing Ministry, which runs the Survey of Israel, the government’s mapping department, said this was classified information. Employees of the survey confirmed that it could not release maps that detail the line’s route.

The request was made by the Movement for Freedom of Information on behalf of a citizen who was asked to lend a Judaica item to a certain community and wanted to know if the community was located in whole or in part beyond the Green Line. The man making the request is a private citizen and there was no reason given for it; he only wanted to see the maps themselves. Or Sadan, the movement’s legal adviser, contacted the Survey of Israel on the man’s behalf and was surprised by the refusal.

The maps requested were those that included the “historic Green Line” that preceded the Six Day War, and enlarged maps of the areas of Beit Sira, Lod, Kfar Saba-Qalqilyah, the area near Tul Karm and the Taibeh region. The request was submitted in September.

In the response received last month, the Housing Ministry legal adviser said the Survey of Israel could not release the maps for security reasons.

“After examining the subject of your request and consulting with the professional personnel at the SOI [Survey of Israel] and other relevant government professionals it turns out that this is information is covered by Clause 9(a)(1) of the [Freedom of Information] law and cannot be released out of concern it would undermine the state’s international relations.”

The legal adviser, Gili Kirschner, added, “In any case the request refers to classified military material that falls under the exceptions set down in Clause 14(a)(1) of the Freedom of Information Law and cannot be released. Therefore, unfortunately, the SOI cannot respond to your request.” She added, however, “If your client is interested in historical information including data about the armistice line you can get it from the SOI on the basis of smaller-scale maps,” at a scale of 1:100,000.