1949 Armistice Agreements

The ceasefire agreements were clear (at The request of Arabia) that they did not create lasting borders. The Israeli-Egyptian agreement stipulates that “the ceasefire demarcation line shall in no way be interpreted as a political or territorial border and shall be demarcated without prejudice to the rights, claims and positions of any of the parties to the ceasefire with regard to the final settlement of the Palestinian question.” [1] From the beginning, Arab-Israeli GAAs have been afflicted by discord and disagreement. A fundamental disagreement was the degree of responsibility of States parties for the criminal and often violent activities of persons in an irregular situation that exceeded the boundaries of demarcation. The scale of such infiltration in the early 1950s worried Israelis, and the inability of UNTSO and several Arab states to contain it effectively prompted serious retaliation from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which itself violated the TSA. Perhaps the most serious disagreement was the nature of the agreements signed. While Israel regarded them as a permanent demarcation line as finished borders and was only waiting for the final stage of the signing of comprehensive peace treaties, the Arab States interpreted them only as long-term ceasefire agreements that did not end their belligerent status and did not give permanence to their various provisions. 4. The establishment of a ceasefire between the armed forces of the two parties is accepted as an indispensable step towards the settlement of armed conflicts and the restoration of peace in Palestine. The blockade culminated on February 12, 1949, with the assassination of Hassan al-Banna, leader of the Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood. Israel threatened to halt the talks, after which the US called on the parties to bring them to a successful conclusion. The new military borders for Israel, as defined in the agreements, included about 78 percent of the Palestinian territory, as had been the case after the independence of Transjordan (now Jordan) in 1946.

The Arab-populated territories, which were not controlled by Israel until 1967, were the West Bank, ruled by Jordan, and the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip. Rosenthal, Yemima, ed. Documents relating to Israel`s foreign policy, volume 3: Ceasefire negotiations with the Arab States, December 1948-July 1949. Jerusalem: Israel State Archives, 1983. Israel-Lebanon GAA was signed on March 23, 1949 by Lieutenant Colonel Mordechai Makleff for Israel and Lieutenant Colonel Tawfiq Salim for Lebanon in Raʾs Naqura. Israeli troops, who had withdrawn from parts of southern Lebanon they had occupied in the summer of 1948, agreed to define the ceasefire demarcation lines along the former international borders, thus creating more stability in Israeli-Lebanese relations for more than two decades. After the “black September” of 1970, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the various Palestinian guerrilla groups moved the site of their operations from Jordan to the refugee camps in Lebanon, making the Israeli-Lebanese border a recurring battlefield. Israel attacked and briefly occupied southern Lebanon in March 1978 and again in June 1982. After the 1982 invasion, Israel failed to push Lebanon to reach a peace agreement and the border region remained exacerbated instability for nearly two decades; The presence of a United Nations Special Force (UNIFIL) has not changed much.

The final withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon in 2000 marked the return of relative calm to that area. In the absence of another binding agreement, the 1949 Israel-Lebanon GAA remains the only legal instrument governing relations between the two countries.

About the Author