Once and For All Stolen Lands for Dummies - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Chafeeka
    • 30.08.10 | 10:09 (IDT)

    (United Nations) Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Resolution 242, adopted after the Six-Day War in 1967, set out criteria for peace-making by the parties (to the conflict); Resolution 338, passed after the Yom Kippur War in 1973, makes resolution 242 legally binding and orders the parties to carry out its terms forthwith. Unfortunately, confusion reigns, even in high places, about what those resolutions require. (Since 1967) Arab states have pretended that the two resolutions are "ambiguous" and can be interpreted to suit their desires. And some Europeans (Russian) and even American officials have cynically allowed Arab spokesman to delude themselves and their people ­ to say nothing of Western public opinion ­ about what the resolutions mean. It is common even for American journalists to write that Resolution 242 is "deliberately ambiguous," as if the parties are equally free to rely on their own reading of its key provisions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Resolution 242, which as Under Secretary 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 some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy 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, but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called "secure and recognized" boundaries agreed to by the parties. In negotiating such agreement, the parties should take into account, among other factors, security considerations, access to the international waterways of the region, and, of course, their respective legal claims. Resolution 242 built on the text of the Armistice Agreements of 1949, which provided (except in the case of Lebanon) that the Armistice Demarcation Lines separating the military forces were "not to be construed in any sense" as political or territorial boundaries, and that "no provision" of the Armistice Agreements "shall in any way prejudice the right, claims, and positions" of the parties "in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine problem." In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdraw from the entire Sinai, which had never been part of the British Mandate …. Resolution 242 leaves the issue of dividing the occupied areas between Israel and its neighbors entirely to the agreement of the parties in accordance with the principles it sets out. It was, however, negotiated with full realization that the problem of establishing "a secure and recognized" boundary between Israel and Jordan would be the thorniest issue of the peace making process. The heated question of Israel settlements in the West Bank during the occupation period should be viewed in this perspective. The British Mandate recognized the right of the Jewish People to "close settlement" in the whole of the Mandated territory. It was provided that local conditions might require Great Britain to "postpone" or "withhold" Jewish settlement in what is now Jordan. This was done in 1922. But the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine, west of the Jordan River, that is in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable.

    from the article: Mahmoud Abbas: If talks fail over settlements, only Israel will be to blame
    First published 23:05 29.08.10 | Last updated 23:05 29.08.10
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