What was the international community's response to the 1967 War?


The 1967 War provided the United Nations with its first opportunity to articulate a clear position on the once-accepted practice of victorious nations simply keeping, as a colony or to expand existing territorial control, the nations it conquered and occupied. This practice was finally deemed unacceptable, and Security Council resolution 242, on which most future Israel-Palestine negotiations would be based, asserted "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." It was an unequivocal position.

Other parts of the resolution were less precise. While almost every nation agreed that Israel should return all of the captured territories it was occupying, there was some diplomatic wrangling with the U.S. The final result was a dodge: the French version called for the return of "the territories," implying all that Israel held; the English version spoke of returning "territories," leaving open the possibility that partial return might be acceptable. From that moment, Israel adopted the position that it was not obligated to return all the territories. With the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt after the [first] Camp David Accords of 1979 between Israel and Egypt, Israel claimed that since the virtually unpopulated Sinai desert represented the largest percentage of land it had occupied in '67, its return to Egypt should be sufficient to meet the UN's demand. Any further return of occupied land, to Palestinians or Syria, would be at Israel's choice and on Israel's terms.

From 1967 until today, the UN has passed numerous resolutions calling for an end to Israel's occupation, but those resolutions remain unfulfilled.