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Understanding 242 - it is not what the Arabs and their allies claim

Dr. Aaron Lerner, 19 April, 2012

This week's barefaced Palestinian lie that the September 4, 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum obligated Israel to release all terrorists held for terror attacks carried out before Oslo served as a reminder of the danger of
ignoring ongoing public misrepresentation of such key documents as UNSC 242.

For just as Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat distort the truth by closing their eyes to the significance of the missing "the" in UNSC 242 (the absence of the "the" makes 242 call for withdrawal but without requiring full
withdrawal) , they implicitly deny the significance of the missing "the" in the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum in the section dealing with the release of prisoners.

Here is the actual wording: "The Government of Israel shall release Palestinian and other prisoners who committed their offences prior to September 13, 1993, and were arrested prior to May 4, 1994."

Not "release the Palestinian and other prisoners".

Not "release all Palestinian and other prisoners".

The meaning: some should be released - not ALL.

To emphasize: this it not a matter of equally valid contending interpretations of the meaning of an English sentence.

Buried to this day on the website of the Israel Foreign Ministry is anexcellent presentation of statements made by officials from various nationsthat UN Security Council Resolution does not, as the Arabs and their allies claim, require a total Israeli withdrawal.

It is noteworthy that these remarks all pre-date the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai - a withdrawal that ceded to the Arabs the overwhelming majority of the land covered by Resolution 242.

The Sinai, thanks to its great size and specific topography lends itself to the establishment of security arrangements based on a series of zones with force restrictions, thus making it possible to maintain that withdrawal from Sinai could possibly entail a withdrawal to a secure border.

After the Yom Kippur War Israel also carried out a withdrawal in the Golan from the area of Kuneitra, a move that was defended at the time to be a redeployment to a secure line, with additional withdrawals not feasible on
security grounds (talk of "technological substitutes" that hinge on the assumption that the Arabs will never acquire technology to overcome these substitutes is more window dressing than anything).

With regard to the West Bank, a secure border and a Palestinian state is a contradiction in terms.

The presentation is repeated below in full as a proper understanding of 242 is an essential building block that, unfortunately, has been lacking in most public discourse.

How did the Arabs succeed in convincing so many people to accept their distorted interpretation of 242?

They didn't do it alone.

Israeli officials, for the most part, have shied away from talking about 242 over the years, leaving the field open for the false claims of the Arabs regarding 242 to be repeated again and again essentially unchallenged.

And when a lie is repeated enough times...

====================

Statements Clarifying the Meaning of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242

www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Statements%20Clarifying%20the%20Meaning%20of%20UN%20Security%20C

Even before the beginning of the Jarring Mission (the Special Representative as mentioned in the Resolution), the Arab States insisted that Security Council Resolution 242 called for a total withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in the Six-Day War. Israel held that the withdrawal phrase in the Resolution was not meant to refer to a total withdrawal.  Following are statements including the interpretations of various delegations to Resolution 242:

A. United Kingdom

Lord Caradon, sponsor of the draft that was about to be adopted, stated, before the vote in the Security Council on Resolution 242:

"... the draft Resolution is a balanced whole. To add to it or to detract from it would destroy the balance and also destroy the wide measure of agreement we have achieved together. It must be considered as a whole as it
stands. I suggest that we have reached the stage when most, if not all, of us want the draft Resolution, the whole draft Resolution and nothing but the draft Resolution." (S/PV 1382, p. 31, of 22.11.67)

Lord Caradon, interviewed on Kol Israel in February 1973:

Question: "This matter of the (definite) article which is there in French and is missing in English, is that really significant?"

Answer: "The purposes are perfectly clear, the principle is stated in the preamble, the necessity for withdrawal is stated in the operative section.  And then the essential phrase which is not sufficiently recognized is that
withdrawal should take place to secure and recognized boundaries, and these words were very carefully chosen: they have to be secure and they have to be recognized. They will not be secure unless they are recognized. And that is why one has to work for agreement. This is essential. I would defend absolutely what we did. It was not for us to lay down exactly where the border should be. I know the 1967 border very well. It is not a satisfactory
border, it is where troops had to stop in 1947, just where they happened to be that night, that is not a permanent boundary... "

Mr. Michael Stewart, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in reply to a question in Parliament, 17 November 1969:

Question: "What is the British interpretation of the wording of the 1967 Resolution? Does the Right Honourable Gentleman understand it to mean that  the Israelis should withdraw from all territories taken in the late war?"

Mr. Stewart: "No, Sir. That is not the phrase used in the Resolution. The Resolution speaks of secure and recognized boundaries. These words must be read concurrently with the statement on withdrawal."

Mr. Michael Stewart, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in a reply to a question in Parliament, 9 December 1969:

"As I have explained before, there is reference, in the vital United Nations Security Council Resolution, both to withdrawal from territories and to secure and recognized boundaries. As I have told the House previously, we
believe that these two things should be read concurrently and that the omission of the word 'all' before the word 'territories' is deliberate."

Mr. George Brown, British Foreign Secretary in 1967, on 19 January 1970:

"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

 
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