September 14, 2007

UN Resolution 242 (Land for Peace): Setting the Record Straight

From UN Resolution 242 (Land for Peace): Setting the Record Straight:

Many assume that UN Resolutions 242 and 338 call for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-Six-Day-War lines (the lines of June 4, 1967) and establish the principle of land-for-peace to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Both assumptions are incorrect.

The essence of Resolution 242 is that Israel is allowed to remain in the territories it captured in 1967 until such a time as "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved. The authors of the resolution emphasized time and again that Israel was not required to retreat to the pre-war lines. Indeed, the authors of the resolution fully recognized that Israel needed to establish defensible borders because the pre-war lines were indefensible and invited attack.

Resolution 242 defined three principles regarding the territorial component of the peacemaking process:

1. Israel is allowed to administer the territories it captured until the Arab states make peace.

2. Peace agreements reached between Israel and the Arab states should demarcate "secure and recognized boundaries."

3. Israel's future boundaries would necessarily be different from the 1949 armistice lines and the lines of June 4, 1967, which are essentially the same.