Monday, March 26, 2012

The Gorenberg Green Line Groan

Over at the Zion Square blog, Gershom Gorenberg is groaning (and the comments are closed - so much for free expression and discussion).

The Green Line is a disappearing, if not disappeared.

Worse, maps without the Green Line

erase the State of Israel.

He researched and discovered

...a carbon copy of the original directive. It was written by Yigal Allon, then the minister of labor, on October 30, 1967, less than five months after Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War. Allon’s ministry included the government’s Survey Department. He told the department chief that from that day on, the pre-war boundaries should no longer be printed...Awaiting the drawing of new borders, Allon erased the old ones, with the acceptance of the government as a whole.

Then, Gershom gets politically ideological:

Allon’s action was a fiction, a self-deception. Even for internal Israeli purposes, the Green Line has remained the divider between the territory subject to Israeli sovereignty and the land under military rule... What lies past the Green Line (Jerusalem) is under Israeli control, but it’s not part of Israel.

Let's be honest here. Even in the "old", pre-1967, Green Line border of Jerusalem there was no international recognition.

He is even a bit angry:

...symbolically, [Allon] erased one of the basic elements of a modern state—a defined territory. His map shows a return to the reality of his youth, before the establishment of Israel: a single territory from river to sea, in which two ethnic groups fought for control.

But that struggle went on between 1949-1967 so the Green Line, in Arab eyes, means nothing. Israel can't have it as a support. So why get so upset (the Gorenberg groan)?

Then he gets downright ridiculous:

Seen from one angle, the absence of the Green Line says that Israel has expanded. Seen from another, it removes Israel from the map. Seen both ways, it lends support to dogmatists, Jewish and Palestinian, determined to possess the whole land and to keep sacrificing lives until they achieve their goals.

No Israeli government proposal or non-establishment suggestion to either/or Hamas, or Fatah, or the Palestinian Authority or the Islamic Jihad or Arafat or Abbas to base a solution on the Green Line has ever worked out.

The Green Line truly is a fiction - but of the extreme peace messianists among us.

But a word of my own:

the Green Line, besides not being a border but rather a ceasefire line, actually "The lines...shall be designated as the Armistice Demarcation Lines", lost any legitimacy or relevance once the Arabs went to war. In fact, I'd suggest that at the very least, once the PLO set out to liberate, sorry, destroy Israel in 1964, the line is irrelevant and possesses no legal force. As the armistice greements, like the one with Jordan, for example, were intended to

...facilitate the transition from the present truce to permanent peace in Palestine, to negotiate an armistice;

and that would be based on

the following principles...1. The injunction of the Security Council against resort to military force in the settlement of the Palestine question shall henceforth be scrupulously respected by both Parties; 2. No aggressive action by the armed forces - land, sea, or air - of either Party shall be undertaken, planned, or threatened against the people or the armed forces of the other; it being understood that the use of the term planned in this context has no bearing on normal staff planning as generally practised in military organisations; 3. The right of each Party to its security and freedom from fear of attack by the armed forces of the other shall be fully respected;...

Since we know - even if Gershom perhaps is fuzzy on this - that nothing of those guidelines for peace and security were intended to be upheld by the Arabs and, from the infitrations of the fedayeen to the Fatah terror, they surely were not, Gorenberg cannot now insist the Green Line should not disappear, for it was gone long ago.

When will the Gorenberg approach dissipate?

Can you hear me groaning?


1 comment:

NormanF said...

The "Green Line" was NEVER an official border. It was simply a line penciled by the Israeli and Jordanian armies at a particular point in time in 1949 when they declared a ceasefire. It left open the question of where the final borders should be established for later negotiation.

As drawn, the "Green Line" makes no strategic, economic or political sense. It leaves Israel with a 15 mile waist that can be severed by an invading Arab army and it cedes the high ground in Judea and Samaria to the Arabs.

Israel is forced (according to the Israeli Left's view of a final settlement) to incorporate a hostile Arab population in the Little Triangle and is forbidden to swap it for equivalent Jewish population in J&S that would provide with territory that can be more easily defended.

In any event, to the Arabs, there is no real difference between pre-1967 and post-1967 Israel; they reject the existence of a Jewish State within any conceivable set of borders. There is nothing sacred or magical about the Israel of 1949 when it was a small and impoverished country constantly struggling for survival.

Maybe Gershom Gorenberg, like most Israeli leftists is nostalgic for those days. Most Israelis agree Israel needs borders that correspond to its actual requirements and not to some arbitrary lines penciled on a long dated military map that bears no relationship to reality whatsoever.

Every Israeli government has rejected returning outright to the old lines and this will not change in the future. A negotiated settlement won't give both sides everything they want, a point conveniently overlooked by Israel's critics. So much for the talk of mythical Golden Age borders that in truth, never existed in the first place.