Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's letter to the National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu
Party states that "What is said in the government guidelines regarding UN
resolutions 242 and 338 is subject, of course, to the Israeli interpretation
of these resolutions. Relating to this I would like to refer you to the
recommendation of the Attorney General's [Elyakim Rubinstein] recommendation
of 28.6.00 attached to this letter, which I accept, that summarizes the
Israeli position relating to this, as it was also presented in diplomatic
The following is IMRA's translation of Rubenstein's letter as forwarded by
the Attorney General's Office to Susie Dym:
In light of various comments concerning UN Security Council Resolution 242
as it relates to the negotiations with the Palestinians, the Attorney
General would like to make clear - from a legal standpoint - as follows, in
(1) Resolution 242 was not intended to apply to a Palestinian entity, since
at the time of its adoption such an entity did not exist and its
establishment was not even on the agenda. Palestinians are not mentioned in
the Resolution (with the exception of mention of the refugee problem).
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
(2) It was agreed in the past with the Palestinians that Resolution 242 will
be the basis for an arrangement with them and that the permanent agreement
will lead to the implementation of the Resolution. But along with this,
basing on Resolution 242 does not mean, from a legal standpoint, that
arrangements along the lines of those taken with Egypt, with Jordan, or
relating to Lebanon (Resolution 425), should be adopted vis-a-vis the
Palestinians, and this in light of the highly significant differences that
make it impossible to implement the Egyptian precedent or another precedent
on Israel's borders in the Palestinian track.
A. The interpretation and implementation of the Resolution should be in
light of the aforementioned fact that it was not originally intended to
apply to the Palestinian entity.
(3) Beyond this it is proper to emphasize that the inclusion of Resolution
242 within the framework of the invitation to the Madrid Conference, that
was the first table where Palestinians sat in formal negotiations with
Israel, was based to a large extent on that a joint Jordanian-Palestinian
delegation was set there.
B. The instructions of the Resolution, in principle, relate to states.
C. The Resolution relates to secure and recognized borders. There are not,
nor ever were, such borders with the Palestinians, in contrast to the
historical situation - in various forms - regarding the states on Israel's
borders. It goes without saying that the "Green Line" of the cease fire
agreement was not an international border.
D. The status of the territories of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip are
substantially different than the standing of the Sinai Peninsula, for
example, since these areas were not under a recognized sovereignty of any
state in the period of the outbreak of the Six Days War. That is to say,
there never was a recognized border between Israel and the areas of Judea,
Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
E. Resolution 242 talks of withdrawal "from territories" and not "the
territories", and this was set in order to allow for withdrawal from only
part of the territories.
F. The negotiations should be based, among other things, on the historical
and religious ties to the areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza; on geographic
data and their effect on Israel's security needs; the size of the
settlements; and the tight ties to Israel and Israeli national interests.
(4) As mentioned, "secure borders" should be emphasized according to its
(5) The result is that from a legal standpoint the way that Resolution 242
was implemented in arrangements with the Egyptians has no relevance to the
Palestinian track. Resolution 242 in no way applies in the Palestinian
context in a way that is the same as it applies to states in the region
covered by this Resolution, that had a common international border with us.
It applies only to the extent that its principles are relevant to the
(6) There is no similarity between the this situation and that in Lebanon
relating to Resolution 425, as there was a historic international border.
(7) The aforesaid does not exhaust Israel's legal arguments on the subject.
(8) This is also Israel's negotiating position, and it was expressed also in
the positions presented by prime ministers in the past.