“Israel’s 1967 Borders must be secure and must be recognized.
They will not be secure unless they are recognized.”
Lord Caradon, then the United Kingdom Ambassador to the UN and the key drafter of the
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” –
recognizing the flaws in Israel’s previous temporary borders – the 1948 Armistice
lines or the “Green Line”– 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
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 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
· “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)