CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted correction of a Jerusalem Post article which erroneously reported that U.N. Resolution 242 “calls for Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 lines.”
In fact, the drafters of the resolution were very careful not to call for a withdrawal to pre-1967 lines. The resolution itself calls for “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” Significantly, the resolution does not call for withdrawal from “the territories,” thereby leaving the extent of the withdrawal to be determined in negotiations.
Lord Caradon, chief architect of the resolution, said, “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers of each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them.”
George Brown, Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in 1967, stated in 1970 “The proposal said, ‘Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied,’ and not from ‘the’ territories which means that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories.”
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Arthur Goldberg stated that there would be “less than a complete withdrawal” from the territories because “Israel’s prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure.”
In response to communication from CAMERA, Post editors commendably amended the passage. It now states:
Both John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI reiterated calls for “justice” for the Palestinians and respect for UN Resolution 242, which calls for Israeli withdrawal from territories conquered in 1967.
(The Post did not append a correction to the article noting readers of the change, per standard journalistic practice.) Other prominent media outlets had previously corrected this exact error. For example, The New York Times’ July 14, 2000 correction states:
The chart on Tuesday listing issues to be discussed in the Middle East peace talks at Camp David referred incorrectly to Resolution 242 of the United Nations Security Council, which was approved after the Middle East war of 1967. It calls for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces “from territories occupied in the recent conflict”; it is the Palestinians who associate that language with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Similarly, a May 30, 2003 correction in The Boston Globe stated:
Because of an editing error, a story on Wednesday’s World page about the Mideast peace process incorrectly described past United Nations resolutions on the issue. Security Council Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from territories occupied in the 1967 war, without identifying the territories or specifying the extent of the withdrawal.
A May 11, 2004 Wall Street Journal correction stated:
United Nations Security Council resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw “from territories occupied” in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, but doesn’t specify that the withdrawal should be from all such territories. An International page article Friday incorrectly stated that Security Council resolutions call for Israel to withdraw from all land captured in the 1967 war.