There is a great deal of misunderstanding of the legal ramifications of the Green Line that separates Israel from the West Bank. It is often mistakenly referred to as a border, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The term “Green Line” simply refers to the demarcation line set our in the Armistice Agreement that was concluded between Israel and Jordan on 3 April 1949.
As the Agreement specifically states: “The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Lines is to delineate the lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move” (Article IV paragraph 2).
Article VI goes even further by affirming: “The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto” (paragraph 9).
It is, therefore, grossly misleading to refer to the Green Line as though it were the internationally recognized border between Israel and any future Palestinian state. Such a border can only be arrived at following negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Were the Palestinians to declare an independent state unilaterally, basing themselves upon the Demarcation Lines of 1949, such an act would be in direct violation of the understandings arrived at in the Armistice Agreement.
Furthermore, when the Palestinians quote UN Security Council Resolution 242 as requiring Israel to evacuate all territories conquered during the 6 Day War, they purposely misinterpret its wording.
The Resolution specifically refers to the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” The term “all territories” is missing, because it was recognized even at that time that any final border agreement could only be arrived at following negotiations between the parties.