US support for a United Nations Security Council resolution to replace 242 would conflict with commitments given to Israel by Washington going back to 1973, former Foreign Minister director-general Dore Gold told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“I remember that after the ’73 war the United States gave Israel commitments that it would not allow for a change in UNSC resolution 242,” Gold said.
“While we have tactical disagreements from time to time, I believe that America will stick by its commitments to Israel,” Gold said. He spoke of UNSC resolution 242 that was first approved in November 1967, some five months after the Six-Day War.
It is the basic backbone on which the entire Israeli-Palestinian peace process is structured. Most significantly its vague text that spoke of an Israeli withdrawal from territory it captured during that war, did not specify that his would be a full withdrawal.
“All the peace agreements [and initiatives] were based on this resolution,” Gold said.
The Palestinians have long pushed for a revision of UNSC 242, to explicitly state that Israel must return to the pre-1967 lines.
In the past the US has opposed such resolutions. As one of five UNSC member with veto power, it has been able to thwart past efforts to replace 242.
Israel has been fearful that United States President Barack Obama, however, might back and even initiate his own revision to UNSC 242 in the two months window after the November 8th election in the United States, before he leaves office in January.
US hints that Israel does not have its automatic support at the UNSC, have helped fuel this fear.
The idea would be that Obama might want to place his stamp on the peace process by pushing for and or approving a UNSC resolution that set new parameters for the peace process, including specifying the territory from which Israel must withdraw.
On Wednesday night, in response to a Channel 2 story, about possible Obama moves in his last two months, Netanyahu said he expects that the US position would remain the same. But he added that he hoped Obama would not follow in the path of past presidents who used that time to set forward new initiatives.
Israel has maintained that a UNSC resolution that imposes the terms of a peace deal, discourages the Palestinians from pursuing a negotiated one.
In speaking to the conference, Gold said, that those in the international community who support the idea of replacing 242 have to decide if they want to encourage or discourage a negotiated peace deal.
UNSC 242 “did not envision a full Israel withdrawal from the territories that were captured for a very simple reason, it was a war of self defense, and Israel had claims to secure and recognize boundaries,” Gold said. “Jerusalem was not even mentioned in 242,” he said.
“What is clear given the chaos in the region that exists today, is that Israel has every right to resist calls to withdraw to the1967 lines,” Gold said.
He also spoke about another option that Israel fears, a UNSC resolution against West Bank settlement activity.
“A settlements resolution would be a blunt instrument. It would not distinguish between unauthorized outpost and the hearts of Jerusalem,” Gold told the Post.
“It would violate a core commitment in the Oslo agreements that all permanent status issues must be negotiated,” Gold said.
While speaking to the conference he said that under the 1993 Oslo Accords there were six such issues and that it was not possible to just deal with one of them.
Gold clarified that under Oslo, Israel was not prohibited from engaging in settlement activity because it was presumed that it would be addressed in a final status agreement.
“The adoption of a UNSC resolution on just on that question [of settlements], breaks down the peace process and makes resuming serious peace negotiations in the future much more difficult,” Gold said.