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From Imposed Ceasefire Line to International Border: The Issue of the Green Line Between Palestine and Israel

Rassem Khamaisi


The border between the state of Israel and a future Palestinian state has not yet been settled, and has instead been postponed to final-status negotiations. The question of the location of the border, however, is critical. Will it be alongside the separation wall and fence which Israel is constructing? Or will it fall along the Green Line defined by the ceasefire agreement of 1949, prior to Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip? This paper shows, as a case study, how the Green Line, a temporary separation line determined by military considerations, changed over time into a de-facto boundary, and later became regarded as an international border - thus highlighting that what may be intended to be 'temporary' in bordering processes can rapidly seem permanent. The paper also describes and analyses historical developments and narratives with respect to boundaries in Mandatory Palestine, and concludes with an analysis of the possible consequences of a failure to establish a new international border. It indicates that bordering processes are complicated matters that must take into account many factors, including narratives, changing ethno-demographic realities and powerful interests, in contrast to ceasefire and separation lines, which usually relate solely to military matters.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229