Letters to the Editor: February 10


‘Green Line’ an Artificial Border With No Basis in Law, History or Judaism
Susie Gelman of the Israel Policy Forum (Opinion, “Why the Pro-Settler Right Hates Israel’s Justice System So Much,” Jan. 30) denounces those Jews “who want to erase the Green Line.” She repeatedly refers to the Green Line as if it is sacrosanct. In fact, it is nothing more than the armistice line that prevailed following the Arab invasion of newborn Israel in 1948.

It has no basis in law, history or Judaism. Its name comes from the color of the ink used by the secretary who was marking points on a map during the postwar armistice talks, according to how far Jordanian tank columns had reached into Israeli territory. If that pen had been purple, Ms. Gelman would be calling it the Purple Line.

No Israeli government, whether right of center or left of center, has ever accepted the “Green Line” as Israel’s border — and that includes the Labor Party, which in 1993 created Ms. Gelman’s Israel Policy Forum as its American arm. (Then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin founded the Forum “to support the Labor Party,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on April 15, 1993, and May 24, 1993.)

Some examples of parts of Israel that are beyond the “Green Line” include the holiest sites in Judaism, the Temple Mount and Western Wall; the oldest cemetery in Jewish history, on the Mount of Olives; the entire Old City section of Jerusalem, including its Jewish Quarter; and major Jerusalem neighborhoods such as French Hill, Ramot, Gilo and Ramat Shlomo.
Another is the Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, where a Palestinian Arab terrorist massacred seven worshippers on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Neve Yaakov is a prime example of the irrelevancy of the “Green Line.” It was established in 1924 when members of the American Mizrachi movement — today known as the Religious Zionists of America — peacefully and legally purchased land in northern Jerusalem and started building a town there.

Neve Yaakov’s 150 families were driven from their homes by the Jordanian invasion in 1948. Due to Jordan’s subsequent apartheid-like policy, a century of continuous Jewish presence was interrupted as the indigenous residents of Neve Yaakov were not permitted to return to their homes. Fortunately, that deplorable racist policy was reversed by Israel’s Labor government, under Golda Meir, which inaugurated the rebuilding of Neve Yaakov in 1972.

Everyone should join the families in Neve Yaakov in their mourning. The last thing they need now is to be slapped in the face by pundits telling them that they have no right to their own neighborhood because of an artificial “Green Line” that was determined according to how far some Jordanian tank column happened to have advanced just before the 1949 armistice talks began. The right of the Jewish people to all of Jerusalem is based on something a little more authentic and precious than that.
Stephen M. Flatow, Long Branch, N.J.

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