Introduction . . .
Today is the fortieth anniversary of the air strikes that started the Six Day War. If you've seen even a sampling of the journalism that's being published to mark this occasion then you've likely come to understand that, in the Agnostic West at least, Israel's 01967 victory is increasingly viewed as a tragic one. Today, less than a year after Israel's Lebanon defeat and twenty years past the First Intifada, Israel is arguably at its lowest point in how the rest of the world views its role in the conflict.
But the 'roadmap to peace' in the Middle East appears as ever without a compass. Just as the current negotiation terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were largely introduced in 01967, in many ways so were the obstacles to an honest considration of those terms. One major snag came in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted unanimously on November 22, 01967 as a direct result of the Six Day War. For this web log's own recognition of the Six Day War's fortieth anniversary, I've chosen to gather a broad collection of reports, documents, and analysis regarding 242.
I've chosen 242 because I think it's a good point of incision for anyone, such as myself, who is geographically removed from the conflict yet would like to peak beyond the animus - which is already well broadcast. Considered in the black and white in which it was inked, 242 exposes the cumbersome terms of negotiation each side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict brings to the table. If we live to see a peaceful end to this horrific struggle, it's these terms that will have to be satisfied.
So, to this aim, it seems neccessary to understand 242 within the divide of its drafters' considerations and intentions on one side - and the document's interpretations and consequences on the other. By no means am I saying the drafter's intentions are the terms by which the document should be applied. I simply don't know if that's true.
Ironically, though, atomizing 242 in the way I propose should place it more firmly in the context of the conflict's History - thereby clarifying the ways in which the resolution has been used to undermine its own purpose.
Thanks to the polemicist's science of semantics, 242 is most commonly used as a convienient tool in aiding all conceivable positions on the essential land dispute it takes on. In other words, 242 is a Diplomat's black hole and a zealot's refuge. To avoid this mess, the two questions I hope to answer for myself over the course of these six posts are:
1)Why, in November 01967, was the UN compelled to draft 242?
2)How has 242 helped and/or hurt the cause towards the resolution's stated goal, 'the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East'?
Simple enough? We'll see.
The next two posts mind the first question and until the fourth post I will take care to keep my eye on that particular ball.
That said, we begin tomorrow by looking at the Six Day War and its background in summary. Please remember that my text is meant to be explored via its hyperlinks. My assumed role in this analysis is that of an editor and for the sake of objectivity, I've taken pains not to state anything that isn't well supported by key Western media sources such as The Economist, the Guardian, the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, der Spiegel, and others.