Israel: Boundary Disputes with Arab Neighbours 1946–1964

ISBN:  (13) 978-185207-630-6   Extent:  10 volumes, 7,000 pages
Editor: P. Toye and A. Seay  Published: 1995
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

The years between 1946 and 1964 are some of the most important for the study of the State of Israel. This collection of primary source documents focuses on the great diplomatic and territorial problems of the period including: the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan; the positions of Israel and Jordan regarding the West Bank and Gaza; the relationship of the refugee problem to the border problem; territorial adjustments for the benefit of Arab frontier villages; implications of the armistice lines for border settlements; and Soviet interest and alliances and Great Power conflict.


This collection of documents covers the period from 1946 to 1964, focusing on the borders of the Palestine Mandate and, following its creation in 1948, the state of Israel. The question of the final territorial configuration of Israel and its Arab neighbours is at the forefront of today´s political negotiations, stimulating new interest in their historical origins.

The documents focus on two different types of borders; those that coincided with the British Mandate for Palestine, and the lines that resulted from the war-won divisions of land following the 1949 cease-fire and the final location of the opposing armies. The armistice lines basically followed the course of mandate boundaries with Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon with small modifications. The operative border between Israel and Jordan on the West Bank was based exclusively on an armistice line that had no geographical or historical foundations. Complications arose, in part, because of the vagueness of the original definitions of the mandatory boundaries, and from the slipshod way in which the armistice lines were depicted cartographically by the negotiators in 1949. These lines were determined by senior military staff from each side and United Nations mediators, often without regard to significant geographical considerations or the distribution and interest of local populations. In addition, thick pencils were often used to draw on small-scale maps permitting legitimate differences in interpretations created by lines on the maps that were actually several kilometres wide on the ground. As far as Israel and Jordan were concerned, the differences in alignment between the mandate boundary of 1921 and the 1949 armistice line only became apparent in the run-up towards their recent boundary settlement.
During the period covered by this collection of documents, the major events that established Israel´s modern borders were the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, the war that followed the creation of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent United Nations Armistice Agreements negotiated between Israel and each of its Arab neighbours: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. During the years from 1949 until 1967, there were only minor alterations to these borders.


Volume 1: 1946-1947
Volume 2: 1948-1950
Volume 3: 1949(sic)
Volume 4: 1950(sic)
Volume 5: 1951-1952
Volume 6: 1953-1954
Volume 7: January to June 1955
Volume 8: July to December 1955
Volume 9: 1956-1957
Volume 10: 1958-1964


Key events covered in the documents
  • Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry
  • President Truman calls for increased Jewish immigration to Palestine
  • UN Special Committee on Palestine
  • Partition Plan passed by United Nations General Assembly
  • 1947/48 King Abdullah´s secret negotiations regarding partitioning Palestine between Israel and Jordan
  • Anglo-Jordan Treaty of Alliance
  • UN Palestine Conciliation Commission, Lausanne
  • Rhodes Negotiations
  • Armistice Agreements signed, borders delineated and demilitarised zones established
  • Jordan grants citizenship to refugees
  • Jordan cedes to Israel a strip of land extending south to Kafr Qasim including numerous Arab villages
  • Tripartite declaration between Britain, France & the US
  • Jordan incorporates the West Bank, including the Old City of Jerusalem
  • Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreement leads to small territorial exchange agreement
  • Israeli occupation of Jordanian territory, Jisr Majami
  • 1953/55 Johnston initiative to find a solution for the equitable distribution of the waters of the Jordan river
  • 1953/55 Egyptian interference and blockade of Gulf of Aqaba
  • Israeli raid on Gaza, causing Arab outrage and international condemnation
  • Egypt´s demands for a land link connecting Egypt and Jordan
  • Discussions on the strategic value for Britain of a Jewish state in the Middle East
  • Israeli forces overrun Gaza and most of Sinai
  • Israeli strikes against Syria along the shores of the Sea of Galilee
  • Suez crisis, Israel/French/British collusion
  • Jordan abrogates treaty with Britain
  • Incidents along the Israel–Gaza border
  • 1957/58 Clashes between Israel and Jordan on Mount Scopus
  • 1962/63 Clashes between Israel and Syria along demilitarised zone along the Sea of Galilee
  • Ben-Gurion asks President Kennedy to guarantee Israel´s frontiers
  • Salt Pan issues