Resolution 242 was formed as a response to the Six Day War in June 1967, which culminated in Israel’s capture of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Apart from the Sinai Peninsula, the territories remain occupied.
Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, told Arab News: “These resolutions float around for years and people don’t pay heed to them. Since this resolution, we have seen more Israeli acquisitions and more settlements. Israel has continued with its expansionist policy.”
Hassassian hit out at the toothless nature of the resolution and said that the “only way” to stop Israel from building more settlements would be to issue international sanctions for each new illegal Israeli settlement in Palestine.
Pietro Stefanini, a researcher and advocacy coordinator at The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) agreed that the half-century-old resolution has been ineffective and called for international sanctions over Israel’s “illegal” behavior.
He said: “The takeover will only stop with political force. Israel’s aggression and continued occupation is a continuation of the ethnic cleansing that began in 1947. When countries flout international law as Israel has done with its illegal annexation of Palestine, then it is a justified and reasonable response to issue sanctions as was the case when Putin tried to annex Crimea.”
Stefanini said that he deemed the resolution to be “deliberately vague” which promoted inaction and obfuscation.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign Director, Ben Jamal, said in a statement to Arab News: “In a year of milestones for the Palestinian struggle for justice, the fiftieth year since the passing of UN Resolution 242 is a sobering reminder of the failure of the international community to exert the influence required to secure a just peace.”
Jamal added: “The simple reason for Israel being able to deny the will of the international community and defy international law is the unwillingness of international bodies to hold it to account through meaningful sanctions. Only pressure exerted on governments by civil society through the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is likely to change this dynamic.”
Tareq Shrourou, a lawyer and director for Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, told Arab News that Israel had “actively disregarded” the resolution through “its ongoing and accelerating construction and expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, the transfer of Israeli settlers into occupied territory, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the forcible displacement of Palestinian civilians.”
Shrourou said: “Israel’s relentless pursuit of its settlements policy is not only glaringly incompatible with UN Resolution 242 and international humanitarian law, but significantly violates a range of basic human rights of Palestinians, including severely impeding their fundamental right to self-determination.”