Should Israel Go Back to 1967 Borders? Michael KordunovHist 100 Professor Garcia 12/11/17 Would rearranging or completely reverting to the pre-1967 borders improve the situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis and bring peace and security to the region? In 1967, a nineteen-year-old country in the Middle East fought for its existence in a conflict known as the Six Day War. Israel, under attack from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria managed to capture the additional territories of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. After their defeat, the Arabs wanted their land back, and the UN got involved, passing a resolution that divided the land won. Yet, the Arabs remain unhappy; they demand that the land be returned to how it was before the 1967 resolution. The Israelis, however, will not allow this because the risks and consequences that would entail. At the heart of the Palestine-Israel conflict lies the debate of which group has the right to the contested land. The collision of Palestinian nationalism and Jewish colonization, whose proponents both claim the same territory, forms the foundation of this decades long conflict. When Israel first became a state, the United Nations land partition in 1947 attempted to resolve this issue by proposing a two-state solution, but did not yield a lasting settlement, as the surrounding Arab countries refused to accept the reality of a Jewish state at all. This tension led to the War of Independence in 1948. The Israelis would not give up their right to a country; thus, some sort of compromise needed to be arranged to make peace between Jewish and Arab states. The UN 242 was a compromise in 1967, agreed upon by the Palestinians and the Israelis, in which the borders were altered. The compromise brought stability to the region, and to retract the resolution would bring about many negative ramifications, including, but not limited to: stunting Israel’s technological advancement, hurting international commerce, the dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people, and the rise of terrorism and unrest. The borders, which Israel upheld until they changed again in 1967, were agreed upon in the 1949 Armistice Agreement by the Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Syrian and the Israelis. In it, the Palestinians controlled the Gaza Strip, The West Bank, The Golan Heights, and Jerusalem’s Old City.The UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967 remains the most vital peacemaking resolution in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Despite the fact that it was negotiated 50 years ago, following the Six Day War, it has been the basis of all peacemaking undertakings, from the Egypt-Israel peace treaty to the Jordan-Israel peace treaty, to the “Oslo Agreements” and the “Madrid Peace Conference.”1 Historians and researchers of the Middle East understand that the UN declaration did not establish the extent that Israel needed to abandon territories they obtained during the war in exchange for peaceful relations with its neighboring nations. Nonetheless, over the past few years, a number of press organizations have erroneously reported that the United Nations’ resolution necessitated Israel to entirely leave Gaza and the West Bank. An AP (Associated Press) article claimed that “Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 calls on Israel to withdraw from all territory captured in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, which includes East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Golan Heights.” The Arabs want the Jews to leave Israel, but at least to stop building settlements in the West Bank. They also want Jerusalem back, which Israel will never give up. The Palestinians argue that the Israelis stole their land and live there illegally. Israel wants security for its people, and peaceful relations with its neighboring countries. The Israelis constructed a security fence that goes deep into the neighboring Palestinian territories; the Israelis justified the creation of the fence by explaining it keeps Palestinian suicide bombers at bay. By increasing settlement expansion and constructing this fence, Israel has a major control over who comes in and out of Israel’s territories. To deconstruct this fence again would endanger all Israelis, not only those in the immediate area. Since the 1967 war, Palestinian nationals have come to agree to the reality of Israel, but strictly within the 1948 boundaries. The dispute has now shifted to Israel’s occupation of the land taken from the Arabs in 1967. The United Nations 242 resolution required Israel to pull out from these territories. Israel did leave the Gaza Strip on the 12th of September 2005, but continued to build numerous Jewish settlements in the other territories, advancements considered illegal by practically all Arab states. The Madrid Conference and the 1993 Oslo Accord, attempts did not help the Israelis and Palestinians in reaching an agreement. The UNs standpoint on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a middleman, was a hard task because both sides were not negotiating with each other. Also adding that neither was budging on change or willing to make meaningful concession as the Arabs and Jews didn’t see eye to eye. Furthermore thus making it harder for the UN to get them to the table and to agree on something. In the past, diplomats from the Arab nations have had a preference for using international bodies such as the UN and the United States government to push their agenda and force Israel to make more concessions. The Israelis have more strict concessions, while the Arabs usually have negligible concessions in comparison. The US possesses real power to force the compliance of the Palestinians and Israelis. Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president even stated that, “the United States holds 99 percent of the cards in the peace process”, prior to him signing the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979. The position the U.S holds in border relations between the Palestinian and Israeli is key to the peace agreements. The Arabs make demands of Israel through the US, which insinuated itself into the peace process. The United States and the UN support the Middle East peace deal by acting as a middle-man in negotiations between the two parties, as well as the president, secretary of state, and other government officials publicly declaring the US position on any progress or actions of each group. The problem preventing compromise lies with Palestine and the Arab nations adamantly refusing to settle for less than a full withdrawal from the 1967 territories. “The United States Declaratory Policy” has an impact on whether Israel-Arab differences can eventually be resolved at the time of negotiation. Currently, however, such meetings are held too infrequently to make much of a difference. Over the years, successive administrations of the United States have issued official statements about Israel returning to the 1967 border lines. They maintained that Israel cannot safely revert to the 1967 border lines while maintaining secure borders. Nonetheless, a careful scrutiny of the position the U.S holds developmentally on the 242 resolution shows that this “maximalist” interpretation of policies from the U.S is essentially misguided. In reality, successive governments of the U.S after the 6-day war have shown substantial elasticity over a long period of time with regards to the degree of retraction anticipated of Israel, as they recognize Israel as their own independent nation. Sometimes, it is true to state that the State Department official procedure — especially envoys attached to the “Middle Eastern Affairs” division that was in contact with the Arab nations– abided to the uncompromising view of the requirement of Israel to retract completely. It is essential to remember that “Resolution 242” was the creation of Arthur Goldberg, the U.S ambassador and Lord Caradon, the British ambassador to the United Nations. One clause directed Israel to retreat “from territories” and not “from all the territories” or “from the territories” as demanded by the Soviet Union. The editing oversight leaves this statement open to interpretation and is the cause of major controversy resolution was taken to the uppermost ranks of the U.S administration and was debated by the the Kremlin and the U.S Government. Lyndon B. Johnson,–the President of the US, said it was essential to uphold this phrasing, regardless of the pressure from Alexei Kosygin, of the Soviet Union, who sought to integrate firm additional language that required Israel’s from the territories.Yet, evidence suggests that this loose wording was not a mistake. Joseph P. Sisco, tasked with serving as the “United States Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs”, mentioned at a “Meet the Press” interview regarding Resolution 242 some years later that, he “was engaged in the negotiation. That resolution did not say ‘total withdrawal. ” The ambiguous statement was deliberate. George Brown, who worked as the foreign secretary of Britain in 1967 during the administration period of Harold Wilson, straight out explained the Resolution 242 like this: “The proposal said, ‘Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied,’ not ‘from the territories,’ which means Israel will not withdraw from all the territories.” The Israeli government/state has been divided over the last few years regarding the returning to the 1967 lines, with land adjustments/swaps with varying levels of support from the Israeli public. However, the Israeli government is unwilling to revert to the 1967 borders as they were then, unaltered. A few historians believe when presented within larger negotiations about territories and peace, Israelis are mostly supportive of the idea with the distinctive majority. They are aware of the Jewish state’s need for peace with its neighboring countries and for that to be accomplished better defensible borders are a requirement. Jerusalem and Israel as is an influential and important ‘something!!’ to many religious sects beyond just the Jews.With a disruption of security and borders that could negatively affect those beyond just the Israelis, and affect the world and those in world religions more as a whole. Jerusalem would return to Islamic hands with a complete reversion to the pre-1967 borders. That will put all other religious sights and landmarks at risk from regionally and internationally. With the return to the old borders, perhaps Israel as a state on would be questioned and reversed. The precedent would be set to it being politically ok to undo resolutions and international decisions. Israel was given to the Jewish people post WW2 and Holocaust as a homeland to protect themselves from future persecution and Israel was created in May 14, 1948 after Britain left. If the Palestinians were to be given the borders back, it might be questioned if they will stop asking for more then. History shows a precedent with such appeasement policy with Germany in World War II, that even after being granted Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia by Neville Chamberlain for their ‘living space’ they did not stop their quest there. So we can’t be certain the Palestinians won’t do the same after getting the old borders back. It has also been seen that even with the return of Gaza to the Palestinians, they took the opportunities handed back to them in the land and squandered it, such things as infrastructure and fertile farmland land. Not long ago after Gaza was returned it fell into terrorist hands – Hamas.Furthermore the return to the pre-1967 border would entail dislocation of thousands of people. Refugee camps needed and people would be losing their jobs, as they are moved away from where their jobs are. Also, the region’s economy will be deteriorating which can lead towards a national economic depression of Israel as well. Beyond the loss of physical jobs and the fall of the national economy, this could spiral beyond to affect Israel on the international stage. On the Other hand if we give back the to pre-1967 borders, it could potentially create peace with the Arabs and there wouldn’t be any more hatred with one another. Once they get what they want maybe the Middle East will be peacefully. Borders how Israel is surrounded by its neighbor like Egypt in the west, Jordan, and Syria in the east and Lebanon is north. If Israel goes back to its borders it will get bombarded by all sides and won’t have protection. Furthermore, Israel is roughly the size of the state of New Jersey and as such does not have a very big land footprint, such adversity around them, potentially could be destroyed without the more secure borders they currently have. Military personnel would need to be stationed along the border of West Bank/Gaza Strip. The fence gives Israelis a sense of security and protection from the Arabs who have in the past wanted to harm the Israelis. This security feature, if were now to be removed, could potentially harm the Israeli Tourist market. Tourists would feel unsafe to come to Israel and see the famous holy city of Jerusalem or go to the Dead Sea. Businesses and international trade and stocks could and would be disturbed or even plummet with the added lack of security without the fence and of returning to the old borders in general.Major international apps such as Waze, Moovit and Mobile were developed and invented in Israel – by Israelis. Today Waze is used by approximately 50 million people in over 13 countries. As well many technological companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Intel have offices and building in Israel. If Israel were to have a disruption in their borders, these companies could potentially suffer and or pull out of Israel altogether. This could lead to job loss and overall economic depression and cause the state to fall. This would mean Israel would be in a bad position like its neighboring country, terrorism, anarchy and total unrest could come forth. Only with guaranteed safety is commerce and advancement able to advance and be productive. As it stands Israel is the only Democratic nation in the middle east and with the moving back to the 1967 borders that could possibly be threatened. If Israel were to be taken over by the Arabs, that would threaten the democratic system in place. The Arab countries in the area are primarily, theocracies, dictatorships and limited monarchies – King Abdullah II of Jordan, Theocratic government of Afghanistan and Bashar al-Assad the current dictator of Syria. Israel is the only true democracy of the Middle East. Israel is also the only ally that shares intel and weaponry for the international fight against terrorism. If we lose Israel as a democratic nation in the Middle East, one could only speculate the potential damage it can cause. Israel is the only liberal nation in Middle East and to disrupt their borders can potentially hurt that stance. The Arab nations as a whole are not liberal minded historically, if not outright hostile. Islam is unaccepting of those who identify as any and all forms of LGBTQ. To return the borders is to give back land that previously under Israel rule, where such people enjoyed these liberal benefits and rights. Freedom of speech, expression, press and religion are more limited – and would be more limited – in a country under Palestinian rule as in the past and currently, middle eastern countries censor internet use and the like. Civil rights as a whole will be better under a democratic country such as Israel.Israel cannot retract to the pre-’67 lines to achieve peace, because they will lose their ability to effectively defend their borders, because the Arabs will not stop asking for more land, because this requires the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their homes, because Israel will never give back the Old City of Jerusalem to the Arabs.. Clearly, shifting the borders back the way they were before the six day war is unrealistic and unfeasible, as well as dangerous and unfair. To facilitate the peace process, however, Israel should stop building new settlements in the West Bank. Palestine also deserves a right to exist, and a peaceful coexistence with Israel. I believe that the UN is against Israel and America is in favor for Israel. I agree that Israel border should not go back to pre-1967 because it is not worth to risk all potential hazard outcomes and loss of Israel’s positives aspects. https://www.knesset.gov.il/lexicon/eng/madrid_eng.htm https://www.goldenfrog.com/blog/internet-censorship-in-the-middle-east ReferencesArieli, Tamar. “Cross-Border Enterprises In Conflict Management: An Evaluation Of Israel-Palestinian Cross-Border Interaction Opportunities Of 1998-2000”. SSRN Electronic Journal (2008).Crowe, Colin. “The Making Of Resolution 242″. International Affairs 62, no. 1 (1985): 97-98.”UN Security Council Resolution 242 | CIE”. CIE. Last modified 2017. Accessed December 10, 2017. https://israeled.org/un-security-council-resolution/.
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