Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, August 2013
UN Schemers Screw Up Middle East Peace Prospects
By Stuart LittlewoodRedress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, August 5, 2013
Why, after 65 years, is the Palestinian homeland still under foreign military occupation and total blockade when international law and the United Nations say it shouldn’t be?
And why have the Palestinians been pressured – yet again – to submit to “direct negotiations”, lamb versus voracious wolf, to haggle and plead for their freedom?
UN Security Council Resolution 242
The answer appears to lie in the deliberate hash made of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967. Here is what it said:
It was adopted unanimously.
This [the UN’s] dereliction of duty began with careless use of language – or more exactly the non-use of a particular word, the “the” word which should have been inserted in front of “territories” but was deliberately omitted by the schemers who drafted the resolution.
Article 2 of the UN Charter referred to states, among other things, that all members “shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered” and “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”.
Nothing too difficult there for men of integrity and goodwill, one would have thought. But after 45 years nothing has happened to give effect to these fine words or to deliver the tiniest semblance of peace, or allow the Palestinians to live in security and free from threats or acts of force. As for law and justice, these words seem to have been dropped from the UN dictionary.
This dereliction of duty began with careless use of language – or more exactly the non-use of a particular word, the “the” word which should have been inserted in front of “territories” but was deliberately omitted by the schemers who drafted the resolution.
Behind the scenes there was no intention of making Israel withdraw
Arthur J. Goldberg, the US ambassador to the UN in 1967 and a key draftee of Resolution 242, stated:
According to Lord Caradon, then the UK ambassador to the UN and another key drafter,
In a 1974 statement he said: “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967… That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to.”
Professor Eugene Rostow, then US undersecretary of state for political affairs and also helping to draft the resolution, went on record in 1991 explaining that Resolution 242
Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable Armistice Demarcation Lines (the “Green Line”).
So, according to Rostow Israel would get to keep some unspecified territory it seized in war. Goldberg and Rostow were both Jewish by the way, and Zionists. Extraordinary how the US always wheels in such people to “resolve” an Israeli-provoked Middle East crisis when there’s no shortage of non-Jews for the task. Like John Kerry has recruited Martin Indyk to supervise the bogus peace talks in Washington.
In the meantime, Arab leaders had picked up on the fact that the precious “the” word in relation to territories was included in other language versions of the draft resolution (e.g. the French document) and it was therefore widely understood to mean that Israel must withdraw from all territories captured in 1967. Unfortunately, under international law, English is the official language and the English version was the conclusive reference point.
For Israel Abba Eban said:
“Acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible”, right?
So here was Israel, cued by the devious drafters, pressing for direct negotiations as far back as 1967, sensing that defenceless and impoverished Palestine, conveniently under their military jackboot, would be “easy meat”.
But the Russian, Vasiliy Kuznetsov, wasn’t fooled.
He insisted that this was the basic content of the resolution and how it had been interpreted by all the members of the Security Council. “In the resolution presented by Latin American countries [A/L.523/Rev.1] and in that submitted by non-aligned states [A/L.522/Rev.3], the provision relating to the withdrawal of forces was stated so clearly that it could not possibly have been misinterpreted.”
He added that the most important task was secure the withdrawal of Israel forces from all territory occupied by them as a result of aggression.
Your average native English speaker would not have been fooled by a missing word either. To the man on the Clapham omnibus “withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict” plainly means “get the hell out of there”.
US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, writing in 1990, remarked:
The 1967 borders not good enough? Back to the 1947 lines, then
Resolution 242 in any event should have specified a line to which Israel’s forces had to withdraw, even if it didn’t represent the fullest extent. How else was a genuine “peace process” supposed to get off the ground? Was one party supposed to bargain from a position of intolerable weakness, still under brutal military occupation, half starved, isolated and imprisoned within the disconnected remnants of his homeland?
As to those much-bandied words “agreed and secure boundaries”, had UN members so easily forgotten about the Palestinian lands seized and ethnically cleansed before 1967? You know, those important towns and cities and hundreds of villages that had been allocated to a future Palestinian state but were seized by Jewish terrorist groups and Israel militia while the ink was still drying on the 1947 UN Partition Plan? Actually, recognized borders do exist. They were set down in the partition and incorporated into UN Resolution 181. They are “recognized” because they were duly voted on and accepted by the Zionists and their allies, were they not?
As everyone knows, Israel has never declared its borders nor respected the UN-specified borders. It is still hell-bent on thieving lands and resources, so no border is ever secure enough or final. Nor is the Israeli regime likely to agree to secure borders for a Palestinian state, should one ever emerge. So, going down the talks path again and again to seek sensible agreement is fruitless. Borders should be imposed by the proper international bodies and enforced. That has to be the start-point. Adjustments can then be made with mutual consent.
Incidentally, Article 33 of the UN Charter says that parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger international peace and security, shall first of all seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
A judicial settlement? That would be something to see.
Article 37 then says:
Article 36 declares that “in making recommendations under this Article the Security Council should also take into consideration that legal disputes should as a general rule be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the Court.”
What is this if not a legal dispute? The UN, having twiddled its thumbs, now has much to do to get to grips with the problem it created nearly 66 years ago.
With all these options apparently open to the Palestinians, why have they again allowed themselves to become locked in discredited “negotiations” with a disreputable enemy that keeps them under brutal occupation and holds a gun to their heads? Indeed, why does that mighty guardian of world peace, the UN, permit it?
The UN, for its part, has proved itself time and again not fit for purpose. On the Middle East it remains especially dysfunctional. We all know it, and we’re all in despair. Except the Israelis and their loathsome pimps – they’re having a laugh.
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