Memo to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon: The door on a two-state solution was closed 45 years ago

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the General Assembly at the start of this week that “the door may be closing for good on a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.” He added: “The continued growth of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory seriously undermines efforts toward peace. We must break this dangerous impasse.”

The truth of history, which most if not all world leaders know but dare not state, is that the door Ban Ki-Moon sees closing, was actually slammed shut 45 years ago. The precise date of the closure was 22 November 1967. What happened on that day?

In the aftermath of the Six Days War of that year, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted, after much agonizing over five drafts, Resolution 242. At the time it was hailed as the key to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It could never have been that and here’s why.

Leaving aside the fact that 242 does not mention the Palestinians by name (it called only for a just settlement of “the refugee problem”), the key to understanding why the resolution was fatally flawed and bound to be a disaster for all who work seriously for justice and peace is in the fact that the 1967 war was a war of Israeli aggression, not as Israel asserted, and still asserts, a war of self-defense by way of a pre-emptive strike. (As I document in detail in Volume Three of the American edition of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the Arabs did not strike first and never had any intention of initiating war with Israel, a fact that was known to Israel’s leaders. In my book I quote a number of them saying so).

Because it was a war of Israeli aggression, and given that 242′s preamble does pay lip-service to the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war“, there is no question about what the Security Council should have done. It should have demanded Israel’s unconditional withdrawal from the newly occupied Arab territories. That didn’t happen because President Johnson, guided by his Zionist advisers, refused to have Israel labelled as the aggressor.

There was, in, fact, a precedent for what ought to have happened. When Israel colluded with Britain and France in 1956 to invade Egypt in the hope of toppling Nasser, President Eisenhower insisted that Israel should withdraw from the Sinai without conditions. At the time the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress were seeking to tie Eisenhower’s hands and prevent him from reading the riot act to Israel. He responded by going over the heads of Congress with a prime time television address to his fellow Americans. Among the things he said was this:

Israel insists on firm guarantees as a condition to withdrawing its forces of invasion. If we agree that armed attack can properly achieve the purpose of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of international order. We will have countenanced the use of force as a means of settling international differences and gaining national advantage… If the UN once admits that international disputes can be settled by using force, then we will have destroyed the very foundation of the organization and our best hope for establishing real world order.”

In November 1967, by not demanding that Israel withdraw without conditions, the Security Council, bullied by President Johnson on Zionism’s behalf, did what Eisenhower had warned against – it turned back the clock of international order and destroyed the hope the UN represented.

The question without an answer in 242 wasWHICH ISRAEL were the Arab states required to recognise and legitimize in order to comply with their obligations for peace as set down in the resolution?

  • The Israel of the 1949 Armistice Agreements, in other words Israel as it was on the eve of the 1967 war (and probably with mutually agreed border modifications here and there); or
  • a greater Israel in permanent occupation of all of Jerusalem, and chunks, if not all, of the West Bank and pieces of Egypt and Syria?

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