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May 10, 1991 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-10

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The Finest Expressions
Of Love Come From . . .

Resolution's Polluted Numerals
Demand Further Explanation


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FRIDAY, MAY 10, 1991

he three numerals 2-4-
2, that have become
sensationalized as the
United Nations resolution
that could force submissions
to pro-Arab anti-Israel
demands, demand clarifica-
tion. They are constantly
resorted to in an effort to
prove that Israel fails to co-
operate in U.N. actions.
They are used as a condem-
nation of Israel in portray-
ing the Jewish state as op-
pressively resorting to un-
just tendencies. The in-
justice of such treatment of
basic issues keeps deman-
ding explanation to prove
that accusations pollute the
U.N. actions. The truth must
be brought to light.
Eugene V. Rostow,
presently a fellow at the U.S.
Institute of Peace, who as an
under secretary of state
(1966-1969) helped write the
Security Council Resolution
242, presents the facts in a
New York Times op-ed arti-
cle (March 19, 1991) entitled
"Don't Strong-Arm Israel :
Its Claim on the Territories
Is Valid." Mr. Rostow
defines the original inten-
tion in the Security Council

Secretary of State James
Baker, back from the Mid-
dle East, discovered that
the Arabs are as reluctant
as ever to make peace with
Security Council Resolu-
tion 242, approved after the
1967 war, stipulates not on-
ly that Israel and its
neighboring states should
make peace with each
other but should establish
"a just and lasting peace in
the Middle East." Until that
condition is met, Israel is
entitled to administer the
territories it captured —
the West Bank, East
Jerusalem and Gaza Strip
— and then withdraw from
some but not necessarily
all of the land to "secure
and recognized boun-
daries free of threats or
acts of force."
The practical reasons be-
hind both halves of that
bargain remain valid to-
day. The first requires no
withdrawal without peace
— a rule often wrongly
described as "trading land
for peace." Actually, it is
quite different. It
prescribes that there

should be no withdrawal
until peace is made; then
there can be a complete
withdrawal, a partial one,
or none, depending on
what the parties decide.
The second reason is that
Israel's new boundaries
need not be the same as the
armistice lines of 1949. This
provision specifically ad-
dressed the problem of
peace with Jordan. No
state has title to the land
between Israel and Jor-
dan. Jordan's claim to have
annexed the West Bank,
never generally recogniz-
ed, has been abandoned.
The rulers of the Ottoman
Empire were the last
recognized sovereigns in
the territory.. .
From the viewpoint of
security alone, it was ab-
vious in 1967, and still is,
that Israel must retain a
substantial part of the West
Bank for defense, consider-
ing the uncertainties about
future Syrian, Iraqi and
Iranian designs. Beyond
security, there is the moral
claim established by law

The United States has
sought to block or limit set-
tlements on the ground
that they would discourage
the peace process, a
dubious proposition, since
only Egypt has made
peace with Israel since
This does not mean
Israel will or should insist
on the entire West Bank.
There is room for com-
promise: Israel has always
maintained that it would
make sacrifices for peace
and wishes to remain a
predominantly Jewish
state. The West Bank Arabs
are mainly Jordanian
citizens and should have
the right to live in Jordan
if they wish; today, Jordan
denies this right. . . .

Media and diplomacy have
the duty to take legitimate
interpretations of 242 into
plans for peace making.
Harry V. Lerner, a scholarly
Bethesda, Md., attorney, has
compiled facts clarifying all
the confusions that have
resulted from disputes. A
debt is due to the Wall Street
Journal for publishing his
essay (Apr. 12) under the
title "Read the Law: Gaza Is
Not Kuwait." Here is a brief
quotation from that article:
Under international
law, an occupying power
is a state that holds ter-

ritory taken from its legit-
imate sovereign in an act
of aggression. Occupation
is by definition illegal,
and an ocupying power is
obliged to withdraw. Iraq
in Kuwait was an occupy-
ing power in the classic
sense of the term. Israel in
the West Bank and Gaza is
Mr. Lerner wrote this in
relation to "occupation:"
The only possible basis
for concluding that Israel
is an occupying power in
the conquered West Bank
and Gaza is by leaning on
the fact that Resolution
242, without characteriz-

The injustice of
such treatment of
basic issues keeps

ing Israel as an occupying
power, refers to those ter-
ritories as being
"occupied." But it's gen-
erally accepted that the
term means something
different when applied to
the West Bank and Gaza
than it did when applied
to Kuwait. When an atlas
says that a country oc-
cupies the coastal plain,
or when you occupy a
chair, the term does not
have the same political
meaning as it does in
international law. The
only proper meaning for
"occupied" as used in 242,
consistent with the histo-
ry and context in which it
is used, is "possessed," or
" taken into possession."
In his treatment of the
manner in which resolution
242 is misinterpreted, Mr.
Lerner draws upon impor-
tant personalities who are
involved in the debates dip-
lomatically. Former Secre-
tary of State William P.
Rogers was seriously in-
volved in the matter. Mr.
Lerner calls attention to him
in reference to the speech
Mr. Rogers gave Dec. 9,
1969, in which he made clear
the Nixon administration's
view that "Israel was not an
agressive, conquering or oc-
cupying power." Mr. Rogers
The boundaries from
which the 1967 war began
were established in the
1 9 4 9 armistice
agreements ... Those
boundaries were ar-
mistice lines, not final po-

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