Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, has in effect declared that the internationally recognized Green Line is “irrelevant” (click here and here; commentary here and here). So, he had coffee with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (the Israeli government’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians) in East Jerusalem last week (click here); so what?
So… Baird disregarded international consensus on what is occupied territory and on Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem. He went along with Israeli government hopes that we might all forget that the status of Jerusalem is one of the “permanent status issues – borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and water” (UN General Assembly media release, 12 Feb. 2010) yet to be resolved in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
So…the line is named, green, based on the colour of the ink used in the 1949 armistice following the 1948 Nakba/Catastrophe (click here) or Israeli War of Independence (click here). I disagree with Baird’s suggestion that whether he meets on one side of the ‘street’ (known as Road No. 1 on Israeli government maps, one way to encourage people to forget that it’s the Green Line) or on the other is ‘just a matter of words’. On the west side of the line (in Israeli West Jerusalem), the municipal infrastructure is maintained. On the east side (in Israeli government occupied East Jerusalem), the municipal infrastructure is left to crumble by Israeli authorities. In addition, the fact that the Israeli Separation Barrier runs inside of the Green Line for 85% of its route (including within East Jerusalem as a high concrete wall) rather than along the Green Line violates international law (click here and here). The International Court of Justice (ICJ) (the principal judicial body of the United Nations) advised in 2004 that the sections of the Barrier that run inside occupied territory are illegal.
So…is Samer Issawi’s hunger speech…irrelevant? (click here)
So…is this call from liberal Jews and Israelis…irrelevant? (click here)
I remember this stark difference when I lived within a block of the Green Line, with occupied Palestinians, in 2010-2011. For reference, see how the Green Line runs between East and West Jerusalem: ocha_opt_the_closure_map_2011_12_21_jerusalem . The dark red line on the map indicates the illegal path of the Israeli Separation Barrier. (For additional maps here).
P.S. I extend ‘thanks’ to I.C.L. Marshall for offering this response to this posting: “To the great shame of us, i.e. Canadians, John Baird, supported by Stephen Harper, pursue a policy that supports Israel’s occupation and unlawful behavior unconditionally. Such attitude will never bring peace and it concerns us all. We need to lobby the Canadian government to change their course. Please, write to Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister Baird to make it clear that Canadians are greatly disturbed by their policies and demands changes.
The Green Line – between West Jerusalem on the left and occupied East Jerusalem on the right – 13 Feb. 2011 – Photo: Sherry Ann