Tags: Definition | Occupied | Territories

Definition of Occupied Territories

Tuesday, 17 June 2003 12:00 AM

Professor Dershowitz describes this potential deal as constituting "complete compliance with Security Council Resolution 242, which contemplated some territorial adjustments rather than a complete return of all the territories captured by Israel during its defensive war of 1967."

With all due respect to Professor Dershowitz, whom I admire immensely, this comment constitutes a common misinterpretation of the meaning of U.N. Resolution 242.

U.N. Resolution 242, passed unanimously by the General Assembly on Nov. 22, 1967, calls for the following:

Additionally, the authors of the resolution did not consider the 1949 armistice lines as constituting "secure and recognized boundaries." In fact, these boundaries, described at the time by Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban as "Auschwitz lines," were considered to be, and in fact remain, invitations to war.

On April 4, 2000, in a full-page ad in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, the Ariel Center for Policy Research published some interesting background information on U.N. Resolution 242 under the headline "The Golan Heights and the Facts – UN Security Council Resolution 242 A withdrawal to the 1949/1967 Lines?"

The ad points out that President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, in an address he delivered June 19, 1967, regarding a withdrawal to the armistice lines, "This is not a proscription for peace, but for a renewal of hostilities." Johnson later stated, "It is clear, however, that a return to the situation of June 4, 1967, will not bring peace; there must be secure and there must be recognized borders."

President Ronald Reagan stated in an address he delivered Sept. 1, 1982: "In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel's population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again."

Secretary of State George Schultz in a Sept. 16, 1988, address stated, "Israel will never negotiate from, or return to, the lines of partition or the 1967 borders."

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy claims in a 1993 article (pp. 27-28) that Lord Caradon, the British ambassador to the U.N. and one of the primary authors of Resolution 242, resisted a suggestion from Soviet Ambassador to the U.N. Kuznetsov to specify the word "all" before the word "territories" and to drop the word "recognized."

With Lord Caradon's refusal, the Soviets presented their own draft calling for a total withdrawal by Israel to the armistice lines. The British version of the Resolution was the one that was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Security Council.

Arthur Goldberg, at the time the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and a contributor to Resolution 242, stated: "The notable omissions in regard to withdrawal are the words "all," "the," and "the June 5, 1967 lines." There is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from all of the territories occupied by it on, and after, June 5, 1967."

Johnson's Undersecretary of State Eugene Rostow, a contributor to Resolution 242, stated, "U.N. 242 calls on Israel to withdraw only from territories occupied in the course of the six-day war, that is, not from 'all' the territories or even from 'the' territories. ... Ingeniously drafted resolutions calling for withdrawal from 'all' the territory were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly one after another. Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the 'fragile and vulnerable' (1949-1967) Armistice Demarcation Lines."

Johnson, a few days before the U.N. vote on Resolution 242, according to Professor Ezra Zohar in "A Concubine in the Middle East" (Geffen Publishing, p. 39), summoned his U.N. ambassador, Goldberg, and his undersecretary, Rostow, for a meeting to formulate the U.S. position on the issue of "secure boundaries" for Israel.

They were presented with a map by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Earle Wheeler, which included the "minimum territory needed by Israel for defensive purposes." The map included the entire Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria. The participants of this meeting agreed that the Pentagon map fulfilled the requirements of 242 concerning "secure borders."

Resolution 242 calls for the "political independence of every state in the area." Besides Israel, the only other independent Palestinian state in the region in 1967 was Jordan, which has since signed a peace treaty with Israel, a treaty which terminated "all claims" and recognized "secure and recognized boundaries" between the two, namely, the internationally recognized boundary along the Jordan River.

Egypt also settled "all claims" with Israel with the signing of the Camp David accords of 1978. Israel has repeatedly offered to settle the Golan issue with Syria in exchange for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, an end of Syrian support for terror militias, and a normalization of relations between the two nations in accord with Resolution 242.

I would argue that by withdrawing from the Sinai, Israel achieved a complete and literal compliance with U.N. Resolution 242. Besides the Golan Heights, the Sinai was the only other region technically occupied by Israel in 1967. Jordan and Egypt had previously occupied the West Bank and Gaza, both part of British Mandatory Palestine, in 1948-1949. These regions were, and remain, legally under the status of disputed rather than occupied.

So how then is this vexing dispute resolved? Israel simply cannot continue to rule over millions of Palestinian Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The only workable solution, from one man's humble perspective, is for the two Palestinian states – Jewish Palestine, or Israel; and Arab Palestine, or Jordan – to share custody of the disputed territories in a joint condominium arrangement.

After Israel eradicates the terrorists, a joint commission of Israelis and Jordanians should be established to govern the West Bank and Gaza, with the maintenance of overall security for both the Arab and Jewish populations and the gradual development of local semi-autonomy.

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Professor Dershowitz describes this potential deal as constituting "complete compliance with Security Council Resolution 242, which contemplated some territorial adjustments rather than a complete return of all the territories captured by Israel during its defensive war of...
Tuesday, 17 June 2003 12:00 AM
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