Eli E. HertzEli E. Hertz is the president of Myths and Facts, an organization devoted to research and publication of information regarding US interests in the world and particularly in the Middle East. Mr. Hertz served as Chairman of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting.
UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 have never branded Israel as an occupier or aggressor. As a matter of fact, the UN rejected every draft resolution that attempted to brand Israel as aggressor and those calling on Israel to withdraw from all the territories.
The wording of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 clearly reflect the contention that none of the territories were occupied territories taken by force in an unjust war.
Because the Arabs were clearly the aggressors, nowhere in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 or 338 – the cornerstones of a peace settlement – is Israel branded as an invader or occupier of the Territories.
It is imperative to view Resolution 242, as finally approved, in distinction to draft resolutions that were more critical of Israel and of which none received the needed votes to become effective:
Yugoslavia introduced a draft resolution which called for Israel to withdraw behind the lines established in the General Armistice Agreements of 1949.
A draft resolution introduced by the Latin-American Nations, required Israel to withdraw “from all the territories occupied ...”
The Soviet draft resolution on 18th June, 1967 called Israel actions “… previously prepared aggression …” was defeated on 4 July 1967, by 36 votes in favor, 57 against, and 23 abstentions.
The same day, an Albanian draft resolution branding Israel actions “aggression” and “occupation” was defeated by 22 votes in favor, 71 against, and 27 abstentions.
Professor Eugene Rostow, then U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, went on record in 1991 to make this clear. He testified:
“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.”
The text of these drafts indicates that the UN undoubtedly debated and considered the scope of Israel's withdrawal, and ultimately rejected a return to the 1949 Armistice lines.