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United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 is important because it represents a major statement of international opinion as to how the conflict between Israel and its neighbors should be resolved. The resolution is interpreted in different ways by different sides of the conflict.
This resolution was passed by the Security Council in the wake of the Six Day War of 1967. In that war, Israel took huge areas of land from its neighbors. These included the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and the West Bank. Resolution 242 says that Israel needs to withdraw from the areas that it took during that war. However, it also says that all states in the area have to recognize each others' right to exist and their boundaries. Therefore, the resolution makes demands on the Israelis (withdraw from the land acquired) and on the Arabs (accept the existence of Israel). Neither side has done this to date.
The resolution continues to be important because it serves as a statement of what the sides in this conflict should do to achieve peace.
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