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August 05, 1977 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1977-08-05

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2 Friday, August 5, 1977 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Purely Commentary

An Authoritative Interpretation of the United Nations
Resolutions on the Middle East...The Viewpoints of
Responsible and Authoritative Experts on Israel Boundaries

By Philip

In the Interest of Truth: Interpreting the Middle East Resolutions

With President Jimmy Carter and Israel's Prime Minister agreeing on the reconven-
ing of the Geneva Conference on the Middle East, it is of the utmost importance that
the United Nations Resolutions on_the Middle East sould be understood in their true ob-
jectives. They have been miscontrued as calling for the fullest Israeli withdrawals from
the areas that were acquired in 1967 and continue to be administered by Israel.

The facts negate the claims that there was a decision intended to force Israel back to
the unprotected boundaries of June 4, 1967. The debates continue and the misunder-
standings have grown.

What are the facts? An analysis of Resolutions 242 and 338 is vital to the discussions
that may be pursued if and when the Geneva Conference gets into motion on the pro-
posed date of Oct. 10. Just because the analyses were made by Israeli experts does not
nullify the approach to their reconsideration. On the contrary: Just because it is the
Israeli viewpoint makes the resume very important as a basis for the consideration ei-
ther of a proposed peaceful solution of the Middle East conflict or, at best, for a contin-
uation of the existing state of non-aggression and of a possible lasting truce. The analy-
sis of the UN resolutions follows in its full text:

1. Resolutions 242 and 338 are the only formula for a Middle East peace settlement
that have found acceptance by the states parties to the conflict. Their basic concept is
the establishment of the framework for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East
through agreement between the states concerned.
2. Security Council Resolution (SCR) 242 enumerates four general elements—namely:
(a) acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political in-
depenence of every state in the area, and their right to live in peace within se-
- cure and recognized boundaries;
(b) withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict;
(c) freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(d) a just settlement of the refugee problem.
3. The resolution nowhere states or implies that one element has precedence over
others, and it is clear that they constitute an integral unit.
4. Borders and Territories:
(a) SCR 242 contains a direct call for the establishment of "secure and recognized
boundaries"—which is another way of saying that the armistice lines existing
prior to June 5, 1967, were neither secure nor recognized. The intention, ob-
viously, was to provide for a process of negotiation which would—for the first
time in the history of the conflict—delineate such. boundaries.
(b) In 1948 Jordan acquired by agression, the Judea-Samaria (West Bank) . region, as
did Egypt the Gaza Strip. Israel fought the war of 1967 - not to acquire territory
from its neighbors but to defend itself against an incipient attack by its neigh-
bors. It was these facts and the necessity to delineate clearly recognized bound-
aries which SCR 242 took into account when it stated in its preamble "empha-
sizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to
work for a just and lasting peace..."
(c) Before the adoption of SCR 242, a draft resolution sponsored by the Soviet Union
and another sponsored by India, Mali and Nigeria, both calling explicitly for Is-
rael's withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines, were rejected -by the Council.
(d) In adopting SCR 242, the Council did not intend that Israel should withdraw
all the territories occupied in June 1967. This is manifest not only from inter-
national law and established precedents, but was spelled out in statements
made—both at the time and in subsequent clarifications—by Lord Caradon of
Britain and by Ambassador Goldberg of the United States, the main authors of
SCR 242, as well as in the explanations of votes given during the Council deliber-
5. Free navigation: SCR 242's affirmation of the doctrine of free navigation in inter-
national waterways applies, of course, equally to the Suez Canal, to the Straits of
Tiran and to the Straits of Bab el-Mandeb—all of which have at one time or another
been illegally blocked by the Arab states to - Israeli shipping.
6. Refugees: In its reference to the refugee problem, the Resolution refers simply to
"refugees"—in cognizance of the existence of both an Arab refugee problem as well
as Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
7. Validity of UN SCR 242:
(a) The only United Nations instruments that can be regarded as in any way valid
and relevent in the context of today's situation are Security _Council Resolution
242—adopted in the wake of the war of June 1967, after much deliberation and
careful consideration of various alternatives—and Security Council Resolution
338, which formally ended the Yom Kippur War of October 1973 and reaffirmed
Resolution 242.

(b) Israel accepted UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of Nov. 29, 1947, which
called for the establishment of two states in Palestine, one Jewish and the other
The Arab states rejected this resolution and, in defiance of it, invaded Israel in an
open attempt to wipe it out —. an act of aggression branded as such by the U.S. and
Soviet delegates, and others, at the UN Security Council.
Nearly 30 years have elapsed since then, during which time the Arab states have not
only unilaterally denounced and abrogated the Armistice Agreements of 1948, which
were designed as "a bridge to permanent peace," but have launched several increas-
ingly aggressive full-scale attacks against Israel.
(c) All of the interim agreements negotiated between Israel, Egypt and Syria since
the Yom Kippur War were achieved on the basis of SCR 338. This is explicitly
mentioned in the texts of the agreements themselves. These agreements stipu-
lated, moreover, that future negotiations would be conducted on the basis of Reso-
lutions 242 and 338.
8. This has also been the position of the U.S. government. In the words of President
Lyndon B. Johnson on Sept. 10, 1968:
"We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines lr
tween them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear, howev
that a return to the situation of June 4, 1967 will not bring peace. There
must be secure and there must be recognized borders. Some such lines must
be agreed to by the neighbors involved."
Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg wrote nearly six years after the passage of Resolu-
tion 242:
"Despite the passage of time since the adoption of Resolution 242—and, perhaps,
because of it—I adhere to the view that the Resolution does provide the basis
to achieve a peaceful and accepted_settlement between the parties, provided
they will come to share the will and courage to achieve a just and lasting
peace, which is the goal of the Resolution."
In a statement made at a news conference in Washington, D.C. on May 27, 1977, the
official spokesman of the U.S. Department of State reiterated this position - in the
following terms:

"Let me simply say that our position for the basis of the negotiations in the
Middle East is unchanged, and these are Security Council Resolutions 242 and
338. They do represent the currently accepted point of departure for us, and
our efforts to work for a reconvening of the Geneva Conference are based on
those two Security Council Resolutions. The basis, the current operative basis,
for negotiations in the Middle East are Security Council Resolutions 242 and

How do the Arab leaders react to the situation? What would satisfy them? What are
the implications of the proposals for the establishment of a twenty-second Arab state to
be called a Palestinian State? A United Press report of June 15, 1977 possibly throws
light on these questions. The item, which follows, speaks for itself:

Syrian President Assad said yesterday to Danish journalists accompanying the For-
eign Minister of Denmark, that he is not obliged to -recognize Israel even if she with-
draws from all the territories and carries out all the decisions of the UN, although he
will be ready to cease the state of belligerency.
"There is no treaty or international law which obligates one state to recognize an-
other. However, international laws and treaties do obligate every state which has
conquered territories of other states to withdraw from them."
The PLO is the only body entitled to conduct negotiations concerning the estab-
lishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In addition, Assad
said that this state "will not be able to absorb the entire Palestinian nation" and there
are refugees•who have the right "to return to the -larid which they were forced to leave
in 1948.

It is evident from such repeated opinions by the major Arab leaders—Assad has had
support from other Arab chieftains in the views he has expressed—that the intention is
to start with another Arab state on Israel's borders and then to demand that Israel re-
turn to the borders of 1948. They have even said on occasions that they would limit Is-
rael to territory composed only of Tel Aviv and environs, and some speak of cutting off
the environs.
That is why Menahem Begin adheres to a position that. Israel will not negotiate for a
These facts must not be hidden from the discussions that have predominated with em-
phasis on withdrawals, Palestinian statehood and their related problems. Who dares ask
Menahem Begin to abandon his firmness for a sovereign and secure Israel?

Menahem Begin the Strong Man Is Reminiscent of Ben-Gurion

Menahem Begin is a strong man. His opponents are be-
) coming acquainted with him. The world at large is learn-
ing more about the proud Israeli through him than was
ever before providdd in the functions of the Jewish state.
He reminds one of. David Ben-Gurion. They fought each
other bitterly, yet they were alike in many qualities.. There
was antagonism personality struggle between them, and
even in their antagonism. they may have been alike.
As a matter of fact, Ben-Gurion often was accused of
adopting Begin's policies when he acted firmly against the
British, challenging the threatening Arabs, rebuking the
prejudiced in the United Nations.
"Menahem Begin is the Boss" is the way an article by
Asher Wallfish described him in the Jerusalem Post. Wall-
fish wrote in part:
MENAHEM BEGIN'S position at the head of Is-
rael's Government is far more secure in terms of per-
sonal authority over his Cabinet than Yitzhak_Rabin's
or Shimon Peres's position would have been at the
head of a Labor-led coalition.
Admittedly, a troika comprising the Prime Minister,
the Defense Minister and the Foreign Minister exists
for certain functions. But it is not a troika of partners.
Begin is the undisputed boss. He is the one who di-
rects Ezer Wiezman and Moshe Dyan, who are depend-
ent on him personally as well as politically.
Neither of them will complain if he rules with a rod

of iron. Neither of them will try — publicly or priva-
tely — to undermine Begin's position and authority.
Neither of them will allow his aides to give interested
journalists the sort of information that could further
his own political ambitions at the expense of the
Prime Minister.

In this sense the Cabinet system in Israel and the
unchallenged rule of the Prime Minister within his
Cabinet as well as within his political orbit will re-
semble the orderly arrangement prevailing in most
Western democracies. Better government, and more
credible government, will probably result.

WHEN WEIZMAN left the IDF with the rank of Gen-
eral and joined the Gahal bloc (eventually the Likud),
he had a number of disagreements and confrontations
with Begin, the uncontested leader of the Herut Party
since its inception.

Begin crushed Weizman then in the political sense,
and Weizman went into political hibernation. After he
returned to activity — as a loyal and disciplined col-
league of Begin — to sweep the Likud to victory in the
May 17 elections, he told journalists: "I burnt my fin-
gers once and that was enough."

Moshe Dayan entered the government without many

political supporters or personal friends. And the Likud
doesn't owe any of its vote to him. He joined the
troika at the top on a "have-tooth brush-will-travel"
basis, and consequently is utterly dependent on the
Prime Minister for his authority. Accordingly, he will
not quickly seek a_ confrontation with his patron.
Dayan will do as he is told.

Another Cabinet personality, outside the troika but
only just, is the ebullient and boyish Ariel Sharon, Min
ister of Agriculture. He has big political and miry
isterial ambitions, which have not yet been realized.
His election campaign demand that he be named Min-
siter of Defence had no chance of being met, but it
probably still lurks in his breast.

Sharon will not rock the Cabinet boat, any more
than Weizman or Dayan, because he too depends on
Begin: The latter was good enough to let Sharon's
two-man faction join the Lik'ud after the elections. Sha-
ron, like Dayan, cannot claim that he brought the Li-
kud masses of voters.

Wasn't David Ben-Gurion similarly the strong man who
bossed his cabinet and his followers?
Menahem Begin follows a pattern of strength. How well
Israel can be served by it!

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