Students must recognize the Green Line

hadash mk dov henin 248 (photo credit: Knesset Web site)
hadash mk dov henin 248
(photo credit: Knesset Web site)
I welcome the education minister's instructions to teach about the Green Line in schools. The question of Israel's borders is part of an important political debate, and it is important that students recognize the Green Line, which was the international Israeli border until 1967. It is even more vital that they understand that it also will be - at least I hope it will be - our border in the future. The education system needs to prepare students for the future. I hope that this will be a future of peace, based on a broad international agreement: two countries for two nations, Israel alongside Palestine, and between them the Green Line serving as the peaceful border. In Jerusalem there is also a way to arrange for two capitals, with the east side of the city being Palestine's capital and the west part of the city being the capital of Israel. In the framework of the future arrangement, there is the option for exchanging territories based on a mutual agreement on both sides. The Green Line is, from my point of view, a line of peace and optimism; Israeli students deserve a bit of hope and a bit of optimism. Of course, I hope that this won't remain only in the confines of schools, but that it will also reach the political arena, in policies that will further this kind of peace agreement. The reaction from the Right testifies that we have, to my great dismay, a few people who are disconnected from reality. Firstly, they do not recognize the broad international agreement that is expressed not only in UN decisions, but also in various peace initiatives being placed on the table - and the Green Line is the basis for all of them. Beyond that, the Right still does not understand that most Israelis have already come to terms with parting from the occupied territories; most Israelis do not travel to them and do not visit them, and most also express willingness for peace that will promise security through relinquishment of the occupied territories. Only once Israeli-Palestinian peace is established and the Green Line becomes the peaceful border will Israelis truly be able to safely visit beyond the Green Line, for religious needs like visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron or for tourism purposes like eating at a restaurant in the Nablus casba. Peace like this is not easily reached, but it needs to be the clear end-goal for which Israel constantly strives. Regarding claims that the designation of the Green Line on school maps is a political decision that influences the national educational system, the answer is simple: the decision to ignore the Green Line and erase it from school maps was also a political decision. We are dealing with political topics and the debate is political and we do not need to be embarrassed about it. Designating the Green Line on school maps is an acknowledgment of the reality that exists on the ground.