Conceived in Law: The Legal Foundations of Resolution 242
UN Security Council Resolution 242 endorsed the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and called for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied” in the June 1967 war. Since then, a debate has raged over whether these provisions call for a complete Israeli withdrawal, a minor revision of borders, or license for Israel to retain sovereignty over some of the conquered lands. This article argues that the resolution must be read through the lens of international law. A principled legal interpretation clarifies 242’s ambiguities on withdrawal and re-establishes the importance of universal rights to a just and durable peace in the Middle East.
Michael Lynk is an associate professor of law at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. He is indebted to Shannon Webb and Danna Morrison for their research assistance and to Jill Tansley for her wise counsel. This paper was part of the IPS panel at the November 2007 Middle East Studies Association conference.