A SINGULAR POINT OF AGREEMENT
On November 22, 1967, following the Six Day War, United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was adopted.
Since then, for the past 40 years, it has constituted the legal framework for the peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is the only UN Security Council resolution accepted by both sides of the dispute as a basis for peace.
Originally submitted by the British delegation to the UN as a compromise solution, 242 has been incorporated as a legal basis of every agreement signed between Israel and an Arab partner: the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan respectively, and the Oslo Interim Accords with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, were all based on Resolution 242.
Although accepted by both sides to the conflict, the interpretation of the resolution advanced by each side has been quite different. Indeed, seldom in the history of international relations has a legal resolution been endorsed by two conflicting parties while being so differently interpreted.
FOR INSTANCE, the resolution calls for the “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” The article “the,” the word “all” preceding the word “territories” are omitted. This was certainly not due to any printing error.
The aim of the drafters of this resolution was to call on Israel to withdraw without indicating precisely the extent of such a withdrawal; it was left for the parties concerned to negotiate it.
That is the argument advanced by Israel. And, to be sure, the diplomats responsible for drafting the resolution subsequently made it clear that this was precisely their intention.