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October 22: UN Resolution 338

Lawrence Bush
October 21, 2016
The United Nations Security Council, 14-0 (with China abstaining), adopted Resolution 338 on this date in 1973, calling for a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War to take place within twelve hours, for the 1967 Resolution 242 (demanding recognition for Israel and withdrawal of Israel from occupied lands) to be obeyed, and for negotiations to begin “under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.” Israel’s repulsion of a Syrian attack on the Golan Heights, and its establishment of a bridgehead on the Egyptian border of the Suez Canal, had secured Israel’s safety following more than two weeks of intense warfare, at which point U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had flown to Moscow to seek a cooperative effort at ending the conflict, in which the USSR had threatened to intervene. Egypt and Israel accepted UN resolution 338; Syria, Iraq, and Jordan rejected it until Soviet pressure forced a change in their policies. Violence continued until October 25, when UN Resolution 340 imposed a peace on the warring countries. More than 2,500 Israeli soldiers died in the war, close to 900 were wounded, and nearly 300 were captured (some of whom were tortured in Egypt and Syria). Arab casualties are estimated at more than 15,000 dead, 35,000 wounded, and nearly 9,000 captured. “[T]he conditions that produced this war were clearly intolerable to the Arab nations and that in the process of negotiations it will be necessary [for Israel] to make substantial concessions. The problem will be to relate the Arab concern for the sovereignty over the territories to the Israeli concern for secure boundaries. We believe that the process of negotiations between the parties is an essential component of this.” --Henry Kissinger

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.