U.N. Security Council Resolution 338
October 22, 1973


After the Six Day war of 1967, Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights, declaring that these territories would be returned as part of peace negotiations. President Sadat of Egypt made overtures in this direction, but Israeli PM Golda Meir believed, apparently erroneously, that these overtures were a continuation of the policies of Gamal Nasser, who had stated that he was willing to make peace in return for the Sinai peninsula, but more than hinted that this peace was to be only the first stage in the liquidation of the State of Israel.

In 1973 there was increasing evidence that Egypt was planning a war, and President Sadat in fact vowed that Egyptian soldiers would cross the canal and return the Sinai to Egyptian control. These warnings were ignored by the Israeli government, led by PM Golda Meir, and on the advice of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. The Israelis were convinced of the invincibility and invulnerability of the Israeli army.

On the Jewish day of Atonement, Yom Kippur of 1973, Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal and caught the Israeli army by total surprise. The government and upper echelons of the Army had ignored U.S. intelligence advisories as well as reports by Israeli Army Intelligence up until the last minute and after. The problem was confounded by the poor state of readiness of equipment and the fact that the attack was made on the Day of Atonement, a solemn holiday in which, in ordinary times, there is no automobile traffic and no radio broadcast activity. The IDF suffered heavy losses, but was able eventually to carry the war back into Egypt and Syria.

At this point, international efforts to stop the fighting intensified. US Secretary of State Kissinger flew to Moscow on October 20, and, together with the Soviet Government, the US proposed a cease-fire resolution in the UN Security Council. The Council met on 21 October at the urgent request of both the US and the USSR, and by 14 votes to none, adopted resolution 338 below, after midnight.

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The Document
U.N. Security Council Resolution 338
The Security Council,

Calls upon all parties to 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 after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions they now occupy;

Calls upon all parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts;

Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.