Defusing the Syria–Israel conflict and resurrecting the primacy of Security Council Resolution 242 in resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict have emerged as positive outcomes from the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki this week.
President Putin expressed America and Russia’s joint resolve with this succinct statement
“The south of Syria should be brought to the full compliance with the treaty of 1974 about the separation of forces, about separation of forces of Israel and Syria. This will bring peace to Golan Heights. And bring more peaceful relationship between Syria and Israel and also to provide security of the state of Israel. Mr. President paid special attention to the issue during today’s negotiations. I would like to confirm that Russia is interested in this development and this will act accordingly. Thus far, we will make a step toward creating a lasting peace in compliance with the respective resolutions of security council, for instance the resolution 338.”Article 1 of the 1974 Syria-Israel Separation of Forces Agreement provides:
“Israel and Syria will scrupulously observe the cease-fire on land, sea and air and will refrain from all military actions against each other, from the time of the signing of the document, in implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 338 dated October 22, 1973.”Security Council Resolution 338 – adopted following the 1973 Yom Kippur War:
“Calls upon all parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts;Article 1 of Security Council Resolution 242 – adopted following the 1967 Six Day War:
“Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:When Security Council Resolution 242 was passed on 22 November 1967
(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”
1.The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was not the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs – having only being so appointed at the 7th Arab League Summit held in Rabat in October 1974.
2.Arabs living in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) (“Territories”) were Jordanian citizens and possessed Jordanian passports following these Territories being unified with Transjordan on 24 April 1950 and subsequently being renamed Jordan.
3.The PLO was expressly not claiming territorial sovereignty in the Territories or Gaza – Article 24 of the PLO Charter proclaiming: “This Organisation does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organisational, political and financial fields.
4.No additional Arab State in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – was contemplated.
5.Hamas had not been founded.Resolution 242 still contains the only internationally agreed formula for peacefully ending the 100-years-old Arab-Jewish conflict.
A conference to resolve this long-running conflict in accordance with Resolution 242 – co-chaired by America and Russia – would see Israel and every Arab State in the area attending but would exclude non-States PLO and Hamas. Such a conference now looms as a possible Trump-Putin initiative – putting Trump’s unannounced “ultimate deal” on the back-burner.
Going back to November 22, 1967 could indeed be the key to resolving the 100 years old Arab-Jewish conflict.
Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog