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This article is intended to take note of the fact that Security Council Resolution 242 is twenty-five years old. There seems to be a good deal of doubt in various capitals of the world about whether we should celebrate the anniversary or don mourning for the occasion. The Western nations doggedly repeat that peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab states must be based on Security Council Resolutions 242 of November 22, 1967, and 338, of October 22, 1973, which made Resolution 242 legally binding under Article 25 of the United Nations Charter. Resolution 338 commands the parties to start negotiations "immediately, and concurrently with the cease-fire," in order to establish a just and durable peace in accordance with the terms of Resolution 242.

Representatives of the Western Allies do not always interpret Resolution 242 in exactly the same way, however. And the Arab nations, with the notable exception of Egypt, claim, somewhat inconsistently, that Resolution 242 is hopelessly ambiguous, and that it dearly means the opposite of what its language was universally understood to mean when it was debated, negotiated, and adopted. It is not yet clear whether Russia and the other successor states of the Soviet Union have abandoned the pre-Gorbachev Soviet position on Resolution 242, which was identical with that of the Arabs.

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