Sunday, July 19, 2015

United Nations Resolution 242 Unanimously Approved on November 22, 1967

United Nations Resolution 242
 Unanimously Approved on November 22, 1967
Eli E. Hertz

Resolution 242 is the cornerstone for what it calls ‘a just and lasting peace.’ It calls for a negotiated solution based on ‘secure and recognized boundaries’ and recognizes the flaws in Israel  recognizing the flaws in Israel’s previous temporary borders – the 1948 Armistice lines or the ‘Green Line.’ It does so by not calling upon Israel to withdraw from ‘all occupied territories,’ but rather “from territories occupied,” now legally occupied by Israel with the consent of the Security Council.
The United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242 in 1967 following the Six-Day War. It followed Israel’s takeover of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank from Jordan. The resolution was to become the foundation for future peace negotiations, yet contrary to Arab contentions, a careful examination of the resolution will show that it does not require Israel to return to the June 4, 1967 Armistice lines or ‘Green Line.’
Resolution 242 was approved on November 22, 1967, more than five months after the war. Although Israel launched a pre-emptive and surprise strike at Egypt on June 5, 1967, this was a response to months of belligerent declarations and actions by its Arab neighbors that triggered the war. In addition, Egypt had imposed an illegal blockade against Israeli shipping by closing the Straits of Tiran, the Israeli outlet to the Red Sea and Israel’s only supply route to Asia – an act of aggression – in total violation of international law. In legal parlance, those hostile acts are recognized by the Law of Nations as a casus belli [Latin: justification for acts of war].
The Arab measures went beyond mere power projection. Arab states did not plan merely to attack Israel to dominate it or grab territory; their objective was, and still is, to destroy Israel. Their own words leave no doubt as to this intention. The Arabs meant to annihilate a neighboring state and fellow member of the UN by force of arms:
“We intend to open a general assault against Israel. This will be total war. Our basic aim will be to destroy Israel.” (Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, May 26, 1967)
“The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.” (Egyptian Radio, ‘Voice of the Arabs,’ May 18, 1967)
“I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.” (Syrian Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad, May 20, 1967)
“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. ... Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.” (Iraqi President Abdur Rahman Aref, May 31, 1967)
Arab declarations about destroying Israel were made preceding the war when control over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (or Sinai and the Golan Heights) were not in Israel’s hands, and no so-called Israeli occupation existed.
That is why the UN Security Council recognized that Israel had acquired the territory from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria not as a matter of aggression, but as an act of self-defense. That is also why Resolution 242 was passed under Chapter VI of the UN Charter rather than Chapter VII. As explained above, UN resolutions adopted under Chapter VI call on nations to negotiate settlements, while resolutions under the more stringent Chapter VII section deal with clear acts of aggression that allow the UN to enforce its resolutions upon any state seen as threatening the security of another state or states.
Although Resolution 242 refers to the ‘inadmissibility’ of acquiring territory by war, a statement used in nearly all UN resolutions relating to Israel, Professor, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, explains that the principle of “acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible” must be read together with other principles:
“Namely, that no legal right shall spring from a wrong, and the Charter principle that the Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.”
Resolution 242 immediately follows to emphasize the “need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security.”
While Resolution 242 may call upon Israel to withdraw from territory it captured during the war, the UN recognized that Israel cannot return to the non-secure borders existing before the Six-Day War that invited aggression – frontiers that the usually mild-mannered and eloquent former Israeli diplomat, the late Abba Eban, branded “Auschwitz borders.”
The Meaning of the Words ‘All’ & ‘The’
As noted above, the UN adopted Resolution 242 in late November 1967, five months after the Six-Day War ended. It took that long because intense and deliberate negotiations were needed to carefully craft a document that met the Arabs’ demand for a return of land, and Israel’s requirement that the Arabs recognize Israel’s legitimacy, to make a lasting peace.
It also took that long because each word in the resolution was deliberately chosen and certain words were deliberately omitted, according to negotiators who drafted the resolution.
So although Arab officials claim Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw from all territory it captured in June 1967, nowhere in the resolution is that demand delineated. Nor did those involved in the negotiations and drafting of the resolution want such a requirement. Instead, they say Resolution 242 explicitly and intentionally omitted the terms ‘the territories’ or ‘all territories.’
The wording of UN Resolution 242 clearly reflects the contention that none of the territories were occupied territories taken by force in an unjust war.
Because the Arabs were clearly the aggressors, nowhere in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 is Israel branded as an invader or unlawful occupier of the territories.
The minutes of the six month ‘debate’ over the wording of Resolution 242, as noted above, showing that draft resolutions attempted to brand Israel an aggressor and illegal occupier as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, were all defeated by either the UN General Assembly or the Security Council.
Professor Eugene Rostow, then U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, went on record in 1991 to make this clear:
“Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces ‘from territories’ it occupied during the Six-Day War - not from ‘the’ territories nor from ‘all’ the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”
Professor Rostow continues and describes:
“Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy in 1967 made it perfectly clear what the missing definite article in Resolution 242 means. Ingeniously drafted resolutions calling for withdrawals from ‘all’ the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the ‘fragile’ and ‘vulnerable’ Armistice Demarcation Lines [‘Green Line’], but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called ‘secure and recognized’ boundaries …”
Lord Caradon, then the United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN and the key drafter of the resolution, said several years later:
“We knew that the boundaries of ’67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers; they were a cease-fire line of a couple decades earlier. We did not say the ’67 boundaries must be forever.”
Referring to Resolution 242, Lord Caradon added:
“The essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognized is that withdrawal should take place to secure and recognized boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognized. They will not be secure unless they are recognized. And that is why one has to work for agreement. This is essential. I would defend absolutely what we did. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary."
In a 1974 statement he said:
“It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967. … That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.”
It is true, as Arab leaders correctly note, that certain suggested drafts of Resolution 242 exist that contain that tiny controversial ‘the’ in reference to territories. Arab leaders say this proves that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. However, those versions of the resolution are in French. Under international law, English-language versions are followed and accepted as the conclusive reference point, and French versions are not.
Arthur J. Goldberg, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key draftee of Resolution 242, stated:
“The notable omissions in language used to refer to withdrawal are the words the, all, and the June 5, 1967 lines. I refer to the English text of the resolution. The French and Soviet texts differ from the English in this respect, but the English text was voted on by the Security Council, and thus it is determinative. In other words, there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.”
Political figures and international jurists have discussed the existence of ‘permissible’ or ‘legal occupations.’ In a seminal article on this question, entitled What Weight to Conquest, Professor, Judge Schwebel wrote:
“A state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense. … Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title.
“As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.”
Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, has concurred, further clarifying:
“Territorial rights under International Law. ... By their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period, these Arab states flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members to refrain from threat or use of force against Israel’s territorial integrity and political independence. These acts were in flagrant violation inter alia of Article 2(4) and paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of the same article.”
If the West Bank and Gaza were indeed occupied territory – belonging to someone else and unjustly seized by force – there could be no grounds for negotiating new borders.
The Drafting History of 242 Shows it Pertains to all Refugees – Jewish and Arab
Lastly, Resolution 242 speaks of “a just settlement of the refugee problem,” not ‘the Palestinian or Arab refugee problem.’ The history of the resolution shows that it was intentional and reflected recognition that the Arab-Israeli conflict created two refugee populations, not one. Parallel to the estimated 600,000 Arabs who left Israel, more than 899,000 Jews fled from Arab countries in the aftermath of the 1948 war – 650,000 of them finding asylum in Israel.
A history of the behind-the-scenes work drafting the resolution shows that the former Soviet Union Ambassador Vasiliy Vasilyevich Kuznetsov sought to restrict the term ‘just settlement’ to Palestinian refugees only. But former U.S. Justice Arthur J. Goldberg, the American Ambassador to the UN who played a key role in the ultimate language adopted, pointed out:
“A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of ‘achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.’ This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars.”
Arab Response was the ‘Khartoum Resolution’
Formulated two months later, in August and September 1967, eight heads of Arab states participated in an Arab summit in Khartoum, Sudan, and adopted three ‘nays’: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.”
It became the foundation for a “united political effort at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5.” The response effectively slammed the door on peace. Khartoum remained the consensus position of the Arab world until Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made his dramatic and historic visit to Israel in 1977.
Israel’s Enemies Fail to Brand Israel the Aggressor
All UN Draft Resolutions attempting to brand Israel as aggressor and an illegal occupier as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War, were all defeated by either the UN General Assembly or the Security Council:
A/L.519, 19 June 1967, submitted by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. “Israel, in gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the universally accepted principles of international law, has committed a premeditated and previously prepared aggression against the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan.”
A/L. 521, 26 June 1967, submitted by Albania. “Resolutely condemns the Government of Israel for its armed aggression against the United Arab Republic, the Syrian Arab Republic and Jordan, and for the continuance of the aggression  by keeping under its occupation parts of the territory of these countries;”
A/L. 522/REV.3*, 3 July 1967, submitted by: Afghanistan, Burundi, Cambodia, Ceylon, Congo (Brazzaville),Cyprus, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania, Yugoslavia and Zambia. ”Calls upon Israel to withdraw immediately all its forces to the positions they held prior to 5 June 1967.”
A/L.523/Rev.1, 4 July 1967, submitted by Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. “Israel to withdraw all its forces from all the territories occupied by it as a result of the recent conflict.”
International Law Allows For “Just Wars” and “Lawful Occupation”
Resolutions 242 and 338 are the cornerstones for how a “just and lasting peace” should be achieved. The term “Occupied Palestinian Territory” does not appear in either, not even the term ‘occupied territory.’ Resolution 242 affirms that:
“… fulfillment of the Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles: Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict, termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

The ICJ ignores that there is such a quality as a “lawful occupation.” In essence the ICJ seeks to overturn Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and to de-legitimize Israel’s right to claim any territory over the Green Line, even for self-defence.

In paragraph 74 of the Court opinion, the ICJ prefers a highly questionable, abridged rendition of these two core documents in a way that makes it appear as if Israel was an aggressor.
ICJ Selective Writing Falsifies Historical Documents
The ICJ misleads readers by simply removing the need, as stated in Resolution 242, for “secure and recognized boundaries” that will not invite aggression.
In any case, the ICJ cannot override Security Council resolutions nor can it edit or fix them. Such doctored use of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force” is disingenuous.
In short, Israel did not violate the provisions of the United Nations Charter, is not an aggressor, and is not required to withdraw from all territories

Understanding UN Security Council Resolution 242
Ambassador Meir Rosenne
The United Nations Security Council in session, May 23, 2002
The United Nations Security Council in session, May 23, 2002

UN Security Council Resolution 242 has been the pivotal point of reference in all Arab-Israeli diplomacy since 1967. Every major Arab-Israeli agreement – from the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace through the 1993 Oslo Agreements – refers to Resolution 242. Significantly, Resolution 242 defined, for the first time, international expectations about the extent of any future Israeli withdrawal from the territories the Israel Defense Forces captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. It linked that withdrawal to the achievement of peace between the parties. Finally, it established the basis of Israel’s legal right to defensible borders.
Many articles have been written on Resolution 242 by international legal experts, government officials, and the news media. Unfortunately, since many of these interpretations have no connection whatsoever to the actual substance of the resolution itself, it is important to clarify its true meaning. Indeed, even Israeli politicians interpret Resolution 242 incorrectly and in a manner that totally contradicts the resolution’s language and the express intent of its authors.
Three key questions need to be considered separately:
1. How was Resolution 242 born?
2. What is the content of Resolution 242?
3. What is the legal significance of Resolution 242?
The Birth of Resolution 242
On November 7, 1967, the United Arab Republic (Egypt) turned to the president of the UN Security Council and requested an urgent meeting of the Council, considering that Israel refused to pull its forces out of the territories it occupied in the Six-Day War of June 1967. The Security Council met for several sessions from November 9, 1967, through November 22.
Two draft resolutions were presented to the council: First, there was a draft resolution introduced by India, Mali, and Nigeria; and second, the U.S. prepared a draft resolution, as well. During the meetings, two other draft resolutions were prepared; one by the British of November 16, 1967, and a second resolution by the Soviets on November 20.
After a number of Security Council debates, there was only a vote on the British draft resolution, which was finally adopted unanimously. In practice, the proposed British text was a compromise between the various drafts that had been considered. Once adopted, the British draft resolution was formally numbered Resolution 242.
It should be emphasized that in the various debates that had been held previously in the UN General Assembly, where the Arab bloc enjoyed an automatic majority against Israel, many anti-Israeli resolutions had been adopted regarding the Arab-Israel conflict. However, General Assembly resolutions are only recommendations and, therefore, do not create international legal obligations. In contrast to the resolutions of the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council resolutions are legally binding, to the extent to which they are adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. A Chapter VII resolution, according to the Charter, is an “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression.”
All the efforts of the Arab bloc to have Israel branded at the UN as the aggressor in the Six-Day War completely failed.
But Resolution 242 did not fit into the category of a Chapter VII resolution (for Israel’s action in the Six-Day War did not merit that characterization). Instead, Resolution 242 was adopted under Chapter VI of the UN Charter that deals with “pacific resolution of disputes.” Thus, all the efforts of the Arab bloc to have Israel branded at the UN as the aggressor in the Six-Day War completely failed. Therefore, according to Resolution 242, Israel was assigned rights and obligations with respect to the territories its forces had captured.
The Legal Significance of Resolution 242
Resolution 242 applies only to “every state in the area” of the Middle East. It states explicitly that it is necessary to establish “secure and recognized boundaries.” The U.S. ambassador to the UN at the time, Arthur Goldberg, clarified this point when he addressed the Security Council on November 15, 1967: “Historically, there have never been any secure and recognized boundaries in the area. Neither the armistice lines of 1949 nor the cease-fire lines of 1967 have answered this description.”
Indeed, during the debates in the UN Security Council that transpired in May 1957, all the representatives of the Arab states declared that Israel and its Arab neighbors were only separated by armistice lines and that definitive political boundaries between them had not been established. Clearly, Resolution 242 sought to replace these truce lines with permanent political borders.
The word “Palestinian” did not even appear in Resolution 242, which, as already noted, applied only to existing states. True, in the Oslo Agreements, Israel recognized the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination. However, Resolution 242 is mentioned only as the basis for a regional peace settlement.
Resolution 242 in no way called on Israel to withdraw to the lines of June 4, 1967, before the outbreak of the Six-Day War.
It is important to stress that Resolution 242 in no way called on Israel to withdraw to the lines of June 4, 1967, before the outbreak of the Six-Day War. Arab diplomats have tried to argue nonetheless that the resolution precludes any territorial modifications since the resolution’s preamble refers to the international principle that the annexation of territory by force is illegal. True, the preamble specifically refers to “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” Yet this principle was placed by the drafters of Resolution 242 in the preamble and not in the operative paragraphs below. There is a ruling of the International Court of Justice (from the dispute over Danzig) that preambles of League of Nations resolutions are not binding – only the operative parts of these resolutions can create legal responsibilities. This determination carried over from the era of the League of Nations to that of the United Nations.
The Acquisition of Territory Captured in a War of Self-Defense is Different from a War of Aggression
There is a further cardinal point regarding the question of whether the acquisition of captured territory from 1967 by Israel can be regarded as illegal. The great authority in international law, Elihu Lauterpacht, has drawn the distinction between unlawful territorial change by an aggressor and lawful territorial change in response to an aggressor. In drafting its preamble, the architects of Resolution 242 were referring to known international legal principles that precluded territorial modifications as a result of aggression. The preamble talks about “acquisition of territory by war.
Is the acquisition of captured territory by Israel in 1967 illegal? There is a distinction between unlawful territorial change by an aggressor and lawful territorial change in response to an aggressor.
The case of a war of self-defense in response to aggression is a very different matter. This distinction was further made by Stephen Schwebel, who would later become the legal advisor of the U.S. Department of State and then serve as President of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. The preamble of Resolution 242 was a compromise that took into account the other drafts that were before the Security Council, even though it did not really apply to Israel’s case. And by keeping it in the preamble and not in the operative parts of the resolution, the architects of Resolution 242 avoided creating any legal obligations for Israel that could be construed as precluding the resolution’s call for new “secure and recognized boundaries” beyond the earlier 1967 lines.
Soviet Efforts to Modify Resolution 242 Failed
Another argument raised by Arab diplomats over the years is the difference between the English text of the withdrawal clause, which calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed
forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict,” and the French text which calls for “retrait des forces arrives Isreliennes des territoires occup√©s lores due recent conflit.” The English text intentionally left out the definite article “the” before the word “territories,” leaving indefinite the amount of territory from which Israel might be expected to withdraw. In contrast, the French text is an improper translation since “des territoires” has a definite meaning (a better translation would have been “de territories”).
True, the official languages of the UN in 1967 were only English and French – sometime later, additional languages were added. Yet the accepted procedure to be followed in cases of clashing texts due to language differences is to give preference to the text that was originally submitted to the Security Council. In the case of Resolution 242, the original draft resolution that was voted on was a Britishtext, which of course was written in English. There was a separate French text submitted by Mali and Nigeria over which there was no vote. The USSR proposed on November 20, 1967, to include a clause requiring Israel to withdraw to the pre-war lines of June 5, 1967, but this language was rejected. The very fact that the Soviet delegation sought to modify the British draft with additional language is a further indication that the British did not intend to suggest a full Israeli withdrawal. Indeed, after Resolution 242 was adopted, the Soviet deputy foreign minister, Vasily Kuznetsov, admitted: “There is certainly much leeway for different interpretations that retain for Israel the right to establish new boundaries and to withdraw its troops only so far as the lines it judges convenient.”
The USSR proposed on November 20, 1967, to include a clause requiring Israel to withdraw to the pre-war lines of June 5, 1967, but this language was rejected.
Moreover, Resolution 242 itself relates to the need to establish “secure and recognized boundaries,” which, as already noted, were to be different from the previous armistice lines. If the UN Security Council intended, as the incorrect French text suggests, that a full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories take place, then there would be no need to write language into the resolution that required new borders to be fixed. Lord Caradon, the British ambassador who submitted to the Security Council what was to become the accepted version of Resolution 242, publicly declared afterward on repeated occasions that there was no intent to demand an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines.
From time to time, the argument is made that according to Resolution 242 the occupation of territories is illegal. As previously noted in the discussion over the preamble of Resolution 242, there is an international legal principle against “the acquisition of territory by war.” Yet there is nothing in Resolution 242 that states the occupation of territory is illegal. Thus, it is incorrect to argue that according to Resolution 242 the occupation of the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War is illegal, especially since that war was imposed on Israel through the aggression of Arab states along three of Israel’s fronts.
Resolution 242 and the Refugee Problem
Resolution 242 also deals with the resolution of the refugee problem. During the drafting phase of the resolution, the Arab states demanded that there be explicit reference to “Arab” refugees, but their proposals were not accepted. U.S. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg repeatedly emphasized that the refugee clause in Resolution 242 also covers the need to take care of the issue of Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab states since 1948 and who lost all their property.
In order to understand the extent to which Resolution 242 constituted the basis for a peace settlement in the Middle East (as well as how much Israel attached importance to what it said), there is a need to look back and remember that the U.S. and Israel indeed signed an agreement in December 1973, right before the Geneva Peace Conference, in which a specific clause was included that stated:
The United States will oppose and, if necessary, vote against any initiative in the Security Council that alters adversely the terms of reference of the Geneva Peace Conference or to change Resolutions 242 and 338 in ways which are incompatible with their original purpose. (Paragraph 4)
This commitment at the time seemed to be very unusual in the view of a number of U.S. Senators, so the legal advisors of the U.S. Senate were asked whether it was consistent with U.S. law. What disturbed them was the fact that, according to the above-mentioned clause, the Nixon administration undertook to adopt a line of foreign policy for the future that was determined through an agreement with a foreign country, rather than by the administration itself. The Senate legal advisor, nonetheless, determined that the Nixon administration’s commitment to Israel had legal standing, and it should be stressed that this clause continued to be respected even when subsequent agreements were signed with the U.S.
Resolution 242 is not self-enforcing; Israel is not expected to unilaterally withdraw from territories to fulfill its terms. It requires direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
UN Security Council Resolution 242 – along with Resolution 338 – serves as the only agreed legal basis for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict that is acceptable to both Israel and the Arab states (Syria agreed after the 1973 Yom Kippur War to Resolution 242 when it accepted Resolution 338 which refers to a resolution of the conflict that must be based on Resolution 242). The elements of Resolution 242 that should be considered in any discussion of the resolution’s meaning include:
• Resolution 242 is not self-enforcing; Israel does not just withdraw from territories to fulfill its terms. As a Chapter VI resolution, it requires direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
• There is no condemnation of Israel’s occupation of the territories that the Israel Defense Forces captured in 1967, nor is Israel’s occupation of territories defined as “illegal.”
• The various elements of the resolution must be implemented in parallel. There is no Israeli obligation to withdraw prior to the achievement of a comprehensive peace.
• There is no Israeli requirement to withdraw fully from the territories it captured in 1967. While Israel agreed to a full withdrawal in the case of its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, the Egyptian case is not a precedent for other fronts. True, the Egyptians sought to include a reference in the Camp David Accords that the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace will constitute the principal basis of future agreements with other Arab states. However, what was finally concluded was an important caveat that limited the Egyptian model to other cases “as appropriate.”
• There is no reference to a Palestinian “right of return” in Resolution 242.
• The main principle inferred in the resolution is that everything is still open for negotiation between the parties.
UN Security Council Resolution 242, November 22, 1967
The Security Council,
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,
Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,
1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
2. Affirms further the necessity
(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;
3. Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.
Adopted unanimously at the 1382nd meeting.
UN Security Council Resolution 338, October 22, 1973
The Security Council,
1. Calls upon all parties to the present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately, no later than 12 hours after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions they now occupy;
2. Calls upon the parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in all its parts;
3. Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.

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