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 was – WHICH 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?
That question was without an answer in the final text of 242 for one very simple reason.Through the Johnson administration the Zionists succeeded in getting the definitive article “the” dropped from the text. As a consequence Israel’s armed forces were required to withdraw “from territories (not the territories) occupied in the recent conflict.”
If 242 had stated that Israel’s withdrawal from “the territories” was required, the meaning would have been that, in exchange for recognition and legitimacy, Israel was required to withdraw from all the territories it occupied in the 1967 war. But that was not on so far as the gut-Zionists were concerned. They wanted the freedom to be the ones, and the only ones, who would determine, on a take it or leave it basis backed by brute force, the extent of any Israeli withdrawals. Resolution 242 in its final form gave them that freedom. Effectively 242 put Zionism in the driving seat with a veto on any peace process.
The other thing the Security Council should have done was to insert into the text of 242 a statement to the effect that Israel should not seek to settle or colonise the Occupied Territories, and that if it did the Security Council would enforce international law and see to it that Israel was isolated and sanctioned by the whole international community.
Question: Why did the text of 242 not contain such a declaration?
Those responsible for framing the resolution were very much aware that Israel’s hawks were going to proceed with their colonial venture come what may, in determined defiance of international law and no matter what the organised international community said or wanted. Put another way, some if not all of those responsible for framing 242 were resigned to the fact that, because of the history of the Jews and the Nazi holocaust, Israel was not and never would or could be a normal state. As a consequence, there was no point in seeking to oblige it to behave like a normal state - i.e. in accordance with international law and its obligations as a member of the UN. Like it or not, and whatever it might mean for the fate of mankind, the world was going to have to live with the fact that there were two sets of rules for the behaviour of nations – one for Israel and one for all other nations. Because of the way Israel was created, mainly by Zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing and without legitimacy in international law, the UN system now had a double standard built into it, and because the political will to confront Zionism did not exist, there was nothing anybody could do to change that reality.
Some years ago a very, very senior UN official said to me, “Zionism has corrupted everything it touched, including this organisation in its infancy.” I knew, really knew, that he was reflecting the deeply held but private conviction of all the top international civil servants who were responsible for trying to make the world body work in accordance with the ideals and principles enshrined in its Charter. (As I said in my book when I quoted him, I will not name the man because he would not have made the comment to me if he had imagined that I would ever quote him by name, at least while he lived. He would not be embarrassed by public association with his truth: but he would not want, and would not deserve, all the hassle of being falsely labelled by Zionism’s character assassins as an anti-Semite).
Contentious though it is to say so in public, I think the corruption charge is supported by the facts. In 1947 the Zionists and their allies in the U.S. Congress subverted the General Assembly of the UN to get a rigged and bare minimum majority for the partition plan which was subsequently vitiated. In 1967 the Security Council was effectively subverted by the Johnson administration’s Zionist-driven refusal to hold Israel accountable to international law and its obligations as a member of the UN.
And thus it was, at least so far as the Arab and wider Muslim world (and me, too) are concerned, that the UN said goodbye to its integrity; and the door to a two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict was closed, slammed shut. Forty five years ago.
* Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflictswherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. He blogs on www.alanhart.net and tweets onwww.twitter.com/alanauthor