Governments generally do not have official positions on what borders
are. Borders are assumed to exist, but governments can have official
positions on what those borders should be. For example, the 1999
Likud election platform read:
Israel will not allow the establishment of an Arab
Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. ... The Jordan River *will
be* the State of Israel's permanent border.
There is also the question of what "official position" really mean. As
you write, the settlement policy could entail a de facto claim of
sovereignty over the West Bank. But is that an official position? I
don't think so.
But one can also ask the related question whether the State of
Israel has an official position regarding its own boundaries. The
answer to that question is yes, but it is incomplete.
First, let's discuss international borders. They roughly come in two
- Those established by treaties.
- Those established by custom.
Borders Established by Treaties
An example of the first border is the border between Sweden and
Finland. In 1809, after the Kingdom of Sweden suffered a humiliating
defeat by the hands of the Russian Empire, it had to cede Finland to
it in the Treaty of
Then in 1917, Finland became independent from Russia and, as a
successor state to Russia in the Finnish territory, it inherited the
obligation to uphold the Treaty of Fredikshavn. So if Sweden decided
to occupy Finnish territory across the border, it would be a breach
of a treaty it had signed and therefore also a breach of
In this way, the State of Sweden has an official position on where the
Swedish-Finnish border is. Other treaties signed by Sweden similarily
determine the border with Norway and the maritime border with Denmark.
Borders Established by Custom
An example of a border established by custom is the
Inner German Border,
which existed from 1945 to 1990 and separated East and West
Germany. Neither state recognized the border as delineating the
boundaries of the states, though it clearly acted as an international
border. It was established by Soviet troops occupying eastern Germany
and Western troops occupying the western part.
Israel's borders have both been established by treaties and by
custom. Israel is a successor state to the British Mandate of
Palestine, in the same way that Finland is a successor state to the
Russian Empire, therefore it has a duty to uphold the same treaties
that the predecessor state has signed. At least when it comes to
border arrangements; its duties regarding other treaties (such as
foreign debt) are not as clear cut.
The Israeli borders established by those treaties are:
- The Egypt-Israeli border crossing the Negev, excluding the Gaza
territory. Agreed upon in 1906 by Britain and the Ottoman Empire
- The Lebanon-Israeli border in the Galilee. Agreed upon in 1923 in
the Paulet-Newcombe Agreement
signed between France and Britain.
- The Syrian-Israeli border in the Golan
Heights. Paulet-Newcombe Agreement
- The Jordan-Israeli border running along the Jordan river. Defined
in 1922 when
Britain separated the
territory of Trans-Jordan from the Mandate of Palestine.
The border established by custom is of course the one called "the
Green Line," separating Israel from the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip. Israel has not recognized that as an international border. It
has recognized that the territory beyond the Green Line is under
military occupation, but that does not in any way imply that the Green Line is
an international border.
As you can see, the question is incredibly hard to answer. Mostly because of
the Israeli state's self-imposed silence when it comes to
proclamations of what its borders actually are. Note also that you
asked what the Israeli official position on its borders were. If you
had asked about the EU's, the UN's or the US's position, the answer
would have been different.