Know Your History: The Meaning Of UN Resolution 242 (NY Times July 23, 1970)

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series where I use history to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.

UN Resolution 242 is oft cited as the basis for requring Israel’s complete withdrawal from territories seized during the Six Day War. For instance, just a few weeks ago, Elder of Moron Jimmy Carter wrote in the NY Times:

Back in 1978, during my administration, Israel’s prime minister, Menachem Begin, and Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, signed the Camp David Accords. That agreement was based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the aftermath of the 1967 war. The key words of that resolution were “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every state in the area can live in security,” and the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”

The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the Parliaments of Egypt and Israel. And those two foundational concepts have been the basis for the policy of the United States government and the international community ever since.

This was why, in 2009, at the beginning of his first administration, Mr. Obama reaffirmed the crucial elements of the Camp David agreement and Resolution 242 by calling for a complete freeze on the building of settlements, constructed illegally by Israel on Palestinian territory. Later, in 2011, the president made clear that “the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines,” and added, “negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine.”

But it does nothing of the sort. The chief author of the resolution Lord Caradon has said:



We didn’t say there should be a withdrawal to the ’67 line; we did not put the ‘the’ in, we did not say all the territories, deliberately.. We all knew – that the boundaries of ’67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a cease-fire line of a couple of decades earlier… We did not say that the ’67 boundaries must be forever; it would be insanity

And British Foreign Secretary George Brown:

I have been asked over and over again to clarify, modify or improve the wording, but I do not intend to do that. The phrasing of the Resolution was very carefully worked out, and it was a difficult and complicated exercise to get it accepted by the UN Security Council. I formulated the Security Council Resolution. Before we submitted it to the Council, we showed it to Arab leaders. The proposal said ‘Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied’, and not from ‘the’ territories, which means that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories.

Before publishing Jimmy Carter’s lies and generally being the New York Times that we know and loathe today, the paper actually printed true things. And as this July 1970 report demonstrates, the US position was more per the Lord Caradon definition.

Note also how they reported straight up how the palestinians “are committed to the destruction of the Israeli state” – which is something that has not changed, although the NY Times would never report that now.

Note: I have provided screenshots below. As usual, click on the screenshots to enlarge. You can also view the article online here.

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