It Returned 90% of the Territories Gained in the Six-Day War
© 2009, Eli E. Hertz 1 242 Graph
UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted on November 22, 1967, is
the cornerstone for what it calls “a just and lasting peace” that recognizes Israel’s need
for “secure and recognized boundaries.” The resolution became the foundation for future
No other nation in the world, acting rationally, has relinquished territories
acquired from an aggressor in an act of self-defense.
In the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel fought off the armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria,
gaining nearly 68,176 sq. km. of land. Since that time, in expectation for genuine peace,
Israel relinquished a total of 61,360 sq. km. that represents 90% of the land gained in a
defensive war imposed on Israel by its Arab neighbors’ aggression.
The UN adopted Resolution 242 five months after the Six-Day War ended. It took that
long because each word in the resolution was deliberately chosen, and certain words
were deliberately omitted, according to negotiators who drafted the resolution.
The wording of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 clearly reflects the contention that none of
the Territories were occupied territories taken by force in an unjust war.
Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, the former President of the International Court of Justice
(ICJ) in the Hague, stated after the Six-Day War ended:
“As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her
Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the
better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of
Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.”
Professor Eugene Rostow, then U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs and the
former dean of the Yale Law School, went on record in 1991 to make this clear:
“Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between
1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows
Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until a just and lasting
peace in the Middle East is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is
required to withdraw its armed forces from territories it occupied during the Six-
Day War - not from the territories nor from all the territories, but from some of
the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan
Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
“Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy in 1967 made it perfectly
clear what the missing definite article in Resolution 242 means. Ingeniously
drafted resolutions calling for withdrawals from ‘all’ the territories were defeated
in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker made it
explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the ‘fragile’ and ‘vulnerable’
Armistice Demarcation Lines, but should retire once peace was made to what
Resolution 242 called ‘secure and recognized’ boundaries …”
It is Peace for Land – Not the Other Way Around