This letter, from IJV Steering Group member Dr Tony Klug, was published in the Guardian on April 26th 2011:
Andrea Teti (Letters, 23 May) makes light of the absence of the definite article in the English version of UN resolution 242 of 1967 that called for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces “from territories occupied in the recent conflict”. Yet the principal author of resolution 242, Lord Caradon, told me in 1973 that the ambiguity of that phrase was deliberate to avoid either a US or Soviet veto on behalf of their respective allies. The big prize was the hard-earned consensus on all the other provisions of the resolution, and they weren’t going to allow a three-letter word jeopardise all that. The “secure and recognised boundaries” called for in the resolution would ultimately have to be agreed between the parties in any case.
The real failing of resolution 242, as Lord Caradon also acknowledged, was that it regarded the Palestinian Arabs as merely homeless refugees, not a stateless nation, and the underlying assumption was that the West Bank (or the bulk of it) would, to the dismay of many Palestinians, be returned to Jordan rather than be turned over to the Palestinians themselves, along with the Gaza Strip, to form their own state. It took another 35 years for the UN security council eventually to acknowledge, in resolution 1397 of 2002 that called for two states, that self-determination for both the Palestinians and Israelis was the indispensable condition for resolving the conflict. However, by then, one of the states had ingested so much of the minuscule territory of the putative other that even the most pragmatic Palestinians were starting to turn away from the only solution that ever made any sense.
It is easy for the international community to point the finger at the Israelis. The harder part is for it – collectively and individually – to reflect also on its own gross irresponsibility over those wasted decades. If it is not yet too late to resolve the conflict, it soon will be unless the international community belatedly acts swiftly, wisely and with steely determination.