Armistice Agreement of 1949

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Armistice agreements of 1949 are called the agreements concluded in 1949 between Israel and its neighbors Egypt , Jordan , Lebanon and Syria . The accords ended the Palestine War and outlined the Armistice Line (also known as the Green Line ). Until the Six Day War of 1967, this was also the de facto border between Israel and these neighboring states.


With Egypt

The agreement with Egypt was signed on February 24th . The main points were:

  • The armistice line was drawn along the international borders (from 1906). Notwithstanding, Egypt remained in possession of a strip along the coast to the Mediterranean , known as the Gaza Strip .
  • The Egyptian troops that were trapped in Faluja were allowed to return to Egypt with their weapons; the area was given to Israel.
  • A zone on either side of the border around 'Uja al-Hafeer (Nitzana) was demilitarized and became the seat of the bilateral armistice commission.

With Lebanon

The agreement with Lebanon was signed on March 23rd . The main points were:

  • The armistice line (blue line) was drawn along the international border.
  • Israel withdrew its troops from 13 Lebanese villages that had been captured during the war.

With Jordan

Jerusalem 1949-1967

The agreement with Jordan was signed on April 3rd . The main points were:

  • Jordanian troops remained in most of the positions they held in the West Bank , including East Jerusalem and Jerusalem's Old City with the Jewish Quarter .
  • Jordan withdrew its troops from the front posts that overlooked the Sharon Plain. In return, Israel allowed the Jordanian troops to take over those positions in the West Bank that were previously held by Iraqi troops.
  • A special commission was established that agreements on secure transport links between Jerusalem and the exclave on the Mount Scopus and the connection Latrun should take -Jerusalem. Access to the holy places on the Temple Mount should also be regulated, along with various other issues .

With Syria

The agreement with Syria was signed on July 20th . Syria withdrew its troops from most of the areas it controlled west of the international border. These areas should then be demilitarized.


The troops of Iraq, which had played an active role in the war (although it has no common border with Israel), withdrew from the region in March 1949 without a treaty. The areas occupied by Iraqi troops were already included in the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Jordan.

Armistice line or permanent border

Left: the UN partition plan of 1947, right: the situation after the armistice in 1949
  • Jewish areas
  • captured by Israel in the War of Independence
  • Arab territories
  • Jerusalem
  • The agreement left 17.5% of the original British mandate over Palestine in Israeli hands (another frequently used figure is 70% of the mandate area, excluding Jordan ). The Gaza Strip and the West Bank remained under Egyptian and Jordanian occupation until 1967. Compared with the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine , the war brought Israel considerable territorial gains.

    The ceasefire agreements were only intended to serve as interim agreements until they were replaced by permanent peace treaties. Even decades later, peace treaties have still not been signed with all former opponents of the war (previously: September 17, 1978 with Egypt in Camp David , July 25, 1994 with Jordan in Washington).

    With the exception of the agreement with Lebanon, the ceasefire agreements made it clear (at the instigation of the Arabs) that they did not set permanent de jure borders . The Egyptian-Israeli agreement specifically stated, for example:

    "The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question."

    In the Knesset , then Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharet called the ceasefire lines "provisional borders" and called the old international borders, which were identical to the ceasefire lines with the exception of Jordan, "natural borders." In later years, Israeli leaders have consistently warned against them to turn the ceasefire line into a permanent border because it would affect Israeli security. For example, after the Six Day War , Golda Meïr viewed the return to the pre-1967 borders as treason ( New York Times, December 23, 1969), while Foreign Minister Abba Eban described the pre-1967 borders as “a memory of Auschwitz ” ( Der Spiegel , 5 November 1969) and Prime Minister Menachem Begin called a proposal to withdraw to these borders "national suicide".


    In each of the cases, a bilateral armistice commission was set up to investigate the complaints of both sides and to report regularly to the UN Security Council.

    In the years that followed, all sides were convicted many times for violating the agreements. Egypt left large military troops in the demilitarized ʿUdschat-al-Hafir area; Israel stationed armed soldiers disguised as police officers on Mount Scopus , which was supposed to be demilitarized. Israel also sent troops to Jordan several times in response to armed raids. Syrian troops shelled Israeli villages below the Golan Heights .

    See also


    • Elad Ben-Dror: Ralph Bunche and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Mediation and the UN 1947-1949, . Routledge, 2016, ISBN 978-1138789883 .

    Web links

    The full text of the ceasefire agreements can be found on The Avalon Project at Yale Law School