The Truth of 242
(an open letter to President Bush)
By by Boris Shusteff - April 14, 2002
War is peace. … Ignorance is strength.
George Orwell, 1984
Dear Mr. President,
It is now the year 2002, but according to the
world's attitude to Israel it is the 1984 of George Orwell. "War is
peace," the world community tries to convince the Jews. It does not
matter that, since the fall of 1993, more than 700 Jews have been
killed, and an additional 2,500 injured, maimed and crippled. Nobody
notices these Jews because these numbers are overshadowed by the
thousands more dead and injured Arabs. And all of this together is
labeled the "Oslo Peace Process."
"Ignorance is strength." The ignorance of the world is the strength of
the Arabs. "Egypt decides to freeze relations with Israel," announces
the media. Israeli MK Michael Kleiner rightfully wonders, "How can one
freeze ice?" The world does not notice the rabid anti-Semitism of the
Egyptian press, does not see the morass of weapons that Egypt is
preparing for its final assault on the Jewish state.
As in Orwell's 1984, truth is supplanted by lies. These lies are
repeated so often that people accept them as truths. Nobody remembers
any longer the original meaning of the word "Palestinian." Jews who
live in Judea, a primordial Jewish land, are labeled the "occupiers" of
this land. UN Resolutions which pertain to the conflict, among which
are Resolutions 242 and 338, are so distorted that almost no one notices
that nowadays they are used as a fig leaf for efforts directed towards
the eradication of the only Jewish state in the world, under the
pretenses of false peace, equality and justice.
Mr. President, in your statement in the Rose Garden, which dealt with
the situation in the Middle East, you said that "Israeli settlement
activity in occupied territories must stop, the occupation must end
through withdrawal to secure and recognized boundaries, consistent with
United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338."
Perhaps you are not aware
that this proclamation contains three huge inaccuracies that can only
exacerbate the current situation. The term "occupied territories" is
incorrect. One may call them "disputed" territories, but certainly not
"occupied". Two American Secretaries of State - James Baker and
Madeline Albright - have both unequivocally confirmed that this is
"disputed" land. While it is possible to argue that one of the two
packaged principles of Resolution 242 calls for the "withdrawal of
Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict,"
the word "occupied" in this particular context does not contradict the
fact that the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are disputed lands.
Thus, while it is correct to call Israel the "occupying power," it does
not change the fact that some of the lands that she occupies are
The second principle of Resolution 242 speaks of the "acknowledgement
of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of
every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure
and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." The only
"Palestinian" state that existed at the moment when the Resolutions were
written was Jordan. There were four other states covered by these
Resolutions - Israel, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. It simply does not make
sense and goes against any and all international laws to make the
Resolutions retroactive, by creating a second Palestinian state in
Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and then demanding that Israel withdraw from
its territory, based on the provisions of resolutions that were drafted
30-40 years prior to the creation of this state.
Moreover, Eugene V. Rostow, Professor of Law, who was the Chairman of
the Interdepartmental Control Group responsible for preparing,
proposing, and supervising the execution of the U. S. Government's plans
for dealing with the Middle East crisis at that period, explains that,
"until the states concerned in the dispute make peace in accordance with
Resolution 242, the Security Council decided, Israel could remain in the
territories it held after the Six Day War as occupying power. The
legality and legitimacy of its presence as occupying power is thus
certified by the Security Council" (1).
This means that Resolutions 242 and 338 have been turned upside down.
In reality, according to these Resolutions, Israel must FIRST achieve
peace and is only THEN called upon to withdraw from some, but not all,
of this territory. Rostow likewise explains that "one of the things the
international community said clearly in Resolution 242 was that this
time Israel would not be required to withdraw without a prior agreement
of peace" (1).
Rostow quotes from Ambassador Goldberg who explained that, when on June
7, the second day of the Six Day War, the U.N. Security Council
unanimously voted for a cease-fire, it was not conditioned upon the
withdrawal of Israeli armed forces.
"They were, in effect, to stand in place, pending further development.
In U.N. history, this type of cease-fire is virtually unique. Generally
when a conflict brakes out, it is almost a 'boiler plate' for the United
Nations to adopt a cease-fire resolution embracing withdrawal of the
contending forces to the positions they occupied before the conflict"
Secretary of State Rogers, on January 29, 1970, confirmed that the
withdrawal of the Israeli forces was not intended prior to the
achievement of the peace agreement. He stated,
"We have never suggested any withdrawal until there was a final,
binding, written agreement that satisfied all aspects of the Security
Council Resolution. In other words we have never suggested that a
withdrawal occur before there was a contractual agreement entered into
by the parties, signed by the parties in each other's presence, an
agreement that would provide full assurances to Israel that the Arabs
would admit that Israel had a right to exist in peace" (1).
Mr. President, Israel has tried in many ways to relax the conditions
set by Resolutions 242 and 338. She withdrew her armed forces from huge
portions of Judea. Samaria and Gaza prior to getting "full assurance"
from the Arabs. The result is well known. We may call it the Oslo War
Process. More than 700 dead Israelis cannot fall into the category of
life in "peace …free from threats or acts of force."
Israel's decision to reoccupy the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza was
absolutely legitimate and falls completely in line with Resolutions 242
and 338. The goal of these Resolutions was to achieve peace. By
prematurely withdrawing from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Israel in effect
violated the Resolutions, since as a result the mere threat of war has
been transformed into actual war.
Resolutions 242 and 338 do not require Israel to part with the lands of
Judea, Samaria and Gaza at all. They do not belong to any state.
Jordan and Egypt, which ruled over them from 1948 until 1967,
voluntarily surrendered their rights to this territory. Israel has
peace treaties with both Egypt and Jordan. She has "recognized
boundaries" with these states. Neither Egypt nor Jordan have any
claims to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Thus Israel remains the only state
that participated in the 1967 and 1973 wars, which still has claims to
this land. That means that she can legitimately keep them.
After the Arabs attacked Israel in 1948, trying to eliminate her, the
U.N. Security Council ruled that the Arab countries committed aggression
against the Jewish state. The armistice lines, which gave the Jews more
territory than was recommended in 1947 by the General Assembly, are
clear proof of this. Rostow writes that by this action the Arab
countries "were being punished for their 1948-1949 aggression, and their
refusal to make peace" (1).
Since "no system of law fails to provide penalties for its violation"
(1) it is a must for Israel and for the world to punish the Arab
aggression of 1967 and 1973 as well. This punishment is implicitly
included in the text of Resolutions 242 and 338, which speaks of secure
borders. As President Lyndon Johnson said on September 10, 1968, "We
are not the ones to say where the other nations should draw lines
between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear,
however, that a return to the situation of June 4, 1967, will not bring
peace. There must be secure… borders" (1).
Mr. President, you are absolutely right in demanding secure borders for
the Jewish state. It is a mandatory requirement of Resolutions 242 and
338. You must also be aware of the fact that on June 29, 1967, then US
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to
submit a position paper outlining the MINIMAL TERRITORY Israel would
need to protect herself "without the regard of political factors."
The Pentagon recommended,
"… that Israel retain four-fifths of the territories (not counting the
Sinai). This includes most of the West Bank and all of the Golan
Heights. The only area that the Pentagon thought Israel could afford
NOT to annex was the eastern slope of Samaria facing the Jordan River."
This point of view was forcefully elaborated on in November 1991 by
Lt.-Gen. Thomas Kelly, the Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs
of Staff during the Gulf War. He was quoted in The Jerusalem Post on
November 7, 1991, saying, "I do not know about politics, but if you want
me to defend this country, and you want me to defend Jerusalem, I've got
to hold that ground" (2).
Mr. President, you said in your statement, "Progress is impossible when
nations emphasize their grievances and ignore their opportunities. The
storms of violence cannot go on. Enough is enough." These are brilliant
words. It only remains to derive the correct conclusions from them.
The storms of violence cannot go on, but it is secure borders, and not
empty words, or useless pieces of paper called "peace accords" that can
stop the violence. These are the secure borders indicated on the map
drawn by the Pentagon in 1967. Israel does not have to ignore the
opportunity given to her by the Security Council in Resolutions 242 and
338. She has the right and she must annex the lands of Judea, Samaria
and Gaza, guaranteeing for herself "the MINIMAL TERRITORY Israel would
need to protect herself."
The Arabs must stop inflaming and using the grievances of the
Palestinian Arabs to strengthen their hatred for Israel, and must absorb
these mistreated people among themselves. It is time to reject the
automatic approach that the world takes to the Arab-Israeli conflict in
pushing Israel to relinquish primordial Jewish lands. The only correct
solution was recently offered by the English journalist Peter Hitchens,
"If peace is what the Arab world wants, America is now in a unique
position to arrange it. Her military and diplomatic power is at its
zenith. Instead of asking Israel to give land for peace, why do we not
ask the Arabs who have so much more land to give some of theirs, so that
Israel's borders are no longer an invitation to invasion" (3).
Mr. President, former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban had a very
graphic name for the armistice lines of 1948-1949 that are commonly
known as Israel's pre-1967 borders. He called them the "Auschwitz
borders." It is time for world leaders to stop playing dirty politics
and show real statesmanship. In your response to the barbaric terrorist
attack on America of September 11 you demonstrated that you can do this.
Enough is enough. Israel is the most devoted ally that America has.
It is time for America to support Israel in her quest for the primordial
Jewish lands. As senator Jim Inhofe said on March 4 speaking in the
Senate, "I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that
it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because
God said so." It is your God Mr. President. You should listen to Him.
1. Eugene V. Rostow. The Illegality of the Arab Attack on Israel of
October 6, 1973. American Journal of International Law, Volume 69, Issue
2 (Apr., 1975).
2. Benjamin Netanyahu. A Place Among the Nations. Bantam Books. 1993.
3. Peter Hitchens. The Only Way to Peace. Mail on Sunday (UK).
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the
Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.