Apr. 3, 2019
- Which Armistice Line Defines the Israel-Syrian Border? – Shany Mor
The norms used to challenge Israel’s rights to the Golan are not only selectively applied, they are mutually incoherent. Israel presents a special case when it comes to borders since all of its neighbors rejected its very existence for the first four decades after independence.
The accusation that Israel and the U.S. are violating diplomatic and legal norms rests on taking the armistice lines created in 1949 between Israel and its Arab neighbors as de facto international borders and tries to apply to them the same standards of territorial integrity as an internationally recognized boundary.
The problem is that the armistice agreements explicitly say the opposite, that the lines “are not to be interpreted as having any relation whatsoever to ultimate territorial arrangements.” Syria, Egypt, and Jordan assumed that in a future war they might conquer more territory and didn’t want to be saddled with a binding line.
The armistice lines were the lines at which a previous war stopped. But two more wars were fought on the Israeli-Syrian frontier, and those ended up with clear lines, too. What is the general norm, rather than the conviction that Israel is always in the wrong, that explains why one set of lines is holy and the next set an affront? (Tablet)