Green Line

The Green Line refers to the 1949 armistice lines established between Israel and its Arab neighbors in the aftermath of the 1948 War of Independence. The war led to sovereignty of the fledgling Jewish state over 78.5% of historic Palestine, now commonly referred to as Israel inside the Green Line. Beyond the Green Line lay the Jordanian-controlled West Bank and the Egyptian-ruled Gaza Strip.

The Green Line effectively divided the holy city of Jerusalem in half, with the Israel-Jordan border running through the middle of the city, with the Old City and its holy sites on the Jordanian side.

The 1967 Six-Day War changed the geopolitical landscape and resulted in territories beyond the Green Line falling under Israeli authority. Internationally, these areas are not recognized as part of Israel, although shortly after the war Israel annexed East Jerusalem and in 1980 did the same to the Golan Heights, previously part of Syria.

Since the 1967, successive Israeli governments have built settlements beyond the Green Line, on lands that the Palestinians claim as theirs, but Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories is still unrecognized according to international law.

The 1993 Oslo Accords stipulated that steps be taken toward attaining Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As agreed upon in talks, the Israel Defense Forces evacuated its posts in most Palestinians cities, and Israel agreed to a negotiated peace deal roughly based on the Green Line, or pre-1967 lines.

In the years since the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority has sought to establish an independent Palestinian state along the Green Line, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The ultimately unsuccessful Camp David summit between late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and then Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak in July 2000 focused on a solution that would see areas beyond the Green Line handed over to the Palestinians.

Most recently, a 2002 Arab initiative proposed that in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line, all Arab states would recognize and establish normalized relations with Israel.

Similar initiatives - such as George W. Bush's "Road Map" and Bill Clinton's "Parameters" - have also assumed an Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line, with some territorial exchanges allowing for the major settlement blocs to remain in Israeli hands.