Fathom | 1967 – The wisdom of Resolution 242

The logic of UN Resolution 242 – that this is a conflict of two sides with rights and responsibilities, and that Israel’s withdrawal requirements have to be tied to reinforcing Israel’s legitimacy and security – remains sound, claims Fathom Associate Editor and BICOM Senior Research Associate Toby Greene. International actors should use this moment to reaffirm the principles set down in November 1967. The pursuit of approaches that seek to avoid that logic, only push a resolution further away.

Fifteen hands, two principles

The occupation goes back 50 years, but so too does the internationally-agreed framework for ending it. It was around 4.30pm, on a bracing New York Wednesday afternoon, 22 November 1967, that representatives of 15 nations at the UN Security Council table raised their hands to pass Resolution 242. This text, a mere 291 words, contains the only agreed terms of reference in each of Israel’s peace accords with Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians.

It is a framework built around two parallel principles: Israeli territorial withdrawal on the one hand, and recognition of Israel’s right to exist in “secure and recognised boundaries” on the other. This “land for peace” trade-off has defined Arab-Israeli peace making. But why has it not yet allowed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be resolved, is it still relevant, and what can international actors learn from 242 about promoting conflict resolution today?

Read the full article in Fathom.

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