Creating new perspectives since 2009

Tel Aviv municipality distributes map showing Green Line, defying Israel government orders

Israel is banning schools from using maps that show its pre-1967 borders

August 23, 2022 at 5:14 pm

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality has sent schools maps showing Israel’s pre-1967 Green Line border, in defiance to the Israeli government’s attempts to censor knowledge of the historical border.

Following the Israeli Education Ministry’s order to the municipality yesterday that it cannot use the map “even as a poster on the wall”, the municipality’s Deputy Mayor, Chen Arieli, announced in a tweet that “maps with the Green Line will be hung in all classrooms in our city. The response of the Ministry of Education is disgraceful and we will continue as planned.”

She insisted that “Boys and girls deserve to grow up with a realistic and uncensored perception of space”, referring to that of Israeli and Palestinian territory. “It’s a project we’ve been working on for two years and I’m excited and very proud.”

The Green Line – the ceasefire line following Jewish settlers’ takeover of Palestine in 1948 – is similar to Israel’s current borders, with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip unchanged, at least on paper. Additions to Israel’s map and claimed borders, however, consist of East Jerusalem which was annexed by Israeli forces in 1967, and the Golan Heights, which were captured from Syria in the same year and officially annexed in 1981.

The municipality today sent three maps in total to the schools in the city: one of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, one of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip which shows both the Green Line and the current political borders and one of the eastern Mediterranean Basin.

OPINION: Mapping Israel, mapping Palestine – How occupied landscapes shape scientific knowledge

In sending out the maps, the municipality directly defied the Israeli Education Ministry, which called the map “unprofessional and amateurish” in both its cartography and “its tendentious use of the term ‘sovereignty line’”. The Ministry also ruled that it cannot be “taught or even used as a poster on the walls” as it did not officially approve it.

According to the Ministry, the only institution legally authorised to draw Israel maps is the Survey of Israel. That, and the government have previously refused to reveal where the Green Line runs, however, claiming that the information “would endanger Israel’s foreign relations.”

Tel Aviv’s Mayor, Ron Huldai, has also given support for the initiative, stating in a letter to school principals that “It’s important to us that students know Israel’s sovereign borders and the complex reality in areas where Jewish citizens of Israel and Arabs under the Palestinian Authority’s control live side by side.” He added that full knowledge of “the state, its landscapes and its borders is essential for producing an involved citizen,” saying the map should be a “necessary accessory in almost every subject in the curriculum”.

OPINION: Europe wants a school curriculum for Israel to occupy Palestinian minds as well as land