Under the United Nations Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Since 1948, the Council has addressed the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian question on many occasions. When hostilities broke out, the Council has called for, or ordered cease-fires to prevent further hostilities. It also dispatched military observers, the first operation out of which the very concepts of United Nations peace-keeping evolved, and deployed United Nations peace-keeping forces in the region to help reduce tensions and keep opposing forces apart. The Council has set forth the basic principles for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East, known as the "land for peace" formula, by its resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
Since then, the Security Council has, inter alia, on numerous
occasions expressed concern about the situation on the ground, declared
null and void the measures taken by the Israeli government to change the
status of Jerusalem, called for the cessation of Israeli settlement activity,
which it determined to have no legal validity, reaffirmed the applicability
of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Palestinian and other Arab territories
occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem and called for
the return of Palestinian deportees. Recently the Council expressed its
support for, and called for the immediate resumption of the negotiations
within the current Middle East peace process with the aim of achieving
an early final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
22 November 1967
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Resolution 242 (1967)
of 22 November 1967
The Security Council,
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,
Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,
1. 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:
(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 recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
2. Affirms further the necessity
(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.
Adopted unanimously at the 1382nd meeting.
Resolution 338 (1973)
of 22 October 1973
The Security Council
1. Calls upon all parties to the present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately, no later than 12 hours after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions they now occupy;
2. Calls upon the parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts;
3. Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations shall start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.
Adopted at the 1747th meeting
by 14 votes to none. 1/
1/ One member (China) did not participate in the voting.