Forum:The Security Council
Issue:The Situation of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Student Officer:Sherissa Wu
Position:Deputy President of the Security Council
The Israeli-Palestine conflict is rapidly becoming one of the largest territorial self determination disputes in history. The conflict is a centuries-old strife over the rights to self determination in a region of land originally known as Palestine. While popular opinion dates the conflict back thousands of years, the conflict actually began with the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the late nineteenth century. Both parties laid claim to a region of land known internationally today as Palestine.
Palestine is a small region located along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It shares borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. Palestine is rooted with deep Jewish ties and ancestry as the historical site of the ancient Jewish Kingdoms of Israel and Judea. These kingdoms were considered to be the birthplace of Judaism, the Jewish monotheistic religion first practiced among ancient Hebrews. Following World War II and a massive diaspora, large numbers of Jews fled to Palestine to escape European anti-Semitism. The native Palestinians rejected the Jewish settlement, having laid their own territorial claims prior to the modern day Jewish presence. The creation of their own states for territorial interests were the main motive of both parties to lay claim to the land. Palestine was eventually partitioned into three regions: The West Bank, the State of Israel, and the Gaza Strip. This struggle for land sparked massive conflict and caused the rise of multiple insurgency groups over the years. Neither group has come to terms with the idea that complete military and political control by one-party does not guarantee the reconcilability of the competing territorial claims; this represents a major obstacle to establishing a successful two-state system. Israel’s dominance and expansion into Palestinian territory, coupled with their resulting permanent military occupation, has pushed Palestinian Arabs into the fringe of society and effectively oppressed and marginalized them. It has left in its wake the bloodiest and most violent war between the two groups in the history of the conflict. After the failure of multiple attempted peace accords, the margin for reconciliation continues to shrink with each day the war continues.
Definition of Key Terms
Zionism is a massive religious liberation movement in Israel. Its fundamental goal is to reestablish Palestine as its historical land because of its ancient ties to Judaism. To Zionists, Judaism is not merely a religion, but a nationality. To Jews, Israel once existed as a beacon of freedom and a symbol of religion. However, since the evolution of Israel into an oppressor, with its consistent abuse and marginalization of Palestinians, the liberal faction of the Jewish community views it as the moral low-ground. Israel’s forceful military occupation of Palestine is the root problem. The insistence of expansion and military presence has transformed the Zionist movement into one of colonialism and purge. Within the Jewish community, there exists a great amount of internal struggle and distinctions between right and wrong in the name of religion.
The West Bank is a region of land east of Israel. Originally governed by Jordan, it was won by Israel in the 1967 war waged against Syria, Egypt, and Jordan under claims of preempting an imminent Egyptian aggression. After Israel took control of the West Bank, it permitted Jewish settlers to move onto the territory. In theory, Jewish presence in the West Bank is positive for the Jews and the region, rich with Jewish sites, relics, and culture. Conversely, in practice, Israeli control of the West Bank has led to military institutionalization of Palestinians who have no intention of living under Israeli jurisdiction. Palestinians, along with the majority of the international community, still consider the West Bank to be illegally occupied Palestinian land.
Gaza / Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip is an area of self-governing Palestinian land that was previously occupied by the Israeli before they withdrew in 2005. After Israeli forces withdrew, Gaza was governed by Hamas and its militant group beginning in 2006. Hamas’ territorial grab of Gaza led to the Gaza Strip being forced into an Israeli blockade. Israel cracked down on the flow of materials and commercial goods, justifying these actions by claiming Hamas was building weapons to use against Israel. However, the Israeli blockade also extends to basic living necessities like water, electricity, food, wood, medicine, etc., resulting in widespread humanitarian havoc.
The founder of Hamas, Yassin, began as a vigilante political leader. The political party led by Yassin gained power, winning the 2006 elections and earning administration over territories such as the Gaza Strip. His ascent to political influence saw the rise of Hamas, his namesake “terrorist organization”. International views on Hamas are divided; the group brought a sense of security and freedom to abused Palestinians, as well as a much needed order. However, they have also challenged the views of the Palestinian Authority and terrorized civilian Israelis countless times. Over the years, the group Hamas has evolved into a Islamic fundamentalist organization, whose goal is the liberation of Palestine. Hamas also has a social service wing, which has provided over $70 million in welfare and aid to Palestinians.
The Palestinian Authority
Following the famous 1993 Oslo Accords and newfound peace between Israel and Palestine, the Palestinian Authority was created. The primary mandate of the PA was to establish a self appointed interim government in the Gaza Strip and certain areas of the West Bank. The PA began holding elections in many of their administered areas. In 1996, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) chairman Yasir Arafat was elected, with the majority of the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) occupied by members of his Fatah party. After his death in 2004, prime minister Mahmoud Abbas took his place as president and chairman of the PLO. During his term in office, Abbas managed to negotiate an armistice with the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, effectively ending the Intifada, the Palestinian uprising that had begun half a decade prior. The 2006 presidential elections were held, and much to Abbas’ surprise, Hamas won the majority of the votes over the Fatah party. Despite Fatah and Hamas’ formation of a coalition government, violence escalated between the two forces in the Gaza Strip.
History ; Developments
While religious differences largely fueled the conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist (now Israeli) Jews, the struggle for land and power acted as the catalyst to a modern day strife dating back to the late nineteenth century. After World War I, the land that both parties laid claim to was internationally recognized as Palestine. Jews claimed that they had cultural and historical religious ties to the land while Palestinian Arabs claimed that they had rightful claims as settler colonialists.
In this period, following rapidly emerging European trends, religious and political parties had begun to identify themselves as individual countries with national rights. Foremost were the rights to self-determination, self-sovereignty, and self-rule under a state and government of their own. Both parties had begun to develop and realize a national consciousness. Jews, already spread across the world, fled Europe seeking to establish a homeland in what was then Arab territory under the Ottoman and late British Empire. Descending from Jewish origin, Palestine became an optimal and culturally appropriate place for the Zionist settlement. In the early twentieth century, Palestine had difficulties with competing against alternate political agendas and territorial claims. European powers had begun spreading and strengthening their influence along the eastern Mediterranean, including Palestine, in response to the crumbling Ottoman Empire. After the Arabs agreed to a tenuous alliance with Britain to help defeat the German-backed Ottoman Empire, Britain agreed to help facilitate the creation of an Arab State. However, due to oversold promises and shifting allegiances, Britain failed to fulfill the bargain. In Palestine, the situation was only exacerbated when British promises to create an Arab state also coincided with the promise of British support in solidifying Jewish claims to land. Clashes and conflict broke out between the two parties, leaving both disorganized and desperately attempting recouping efforts during the crucial years in which the future of Palestine was the most unclear.
Figure #1: The distribution of land among the different factions pre and post 1967
Intervention: The UN partition plan
Following the creation of the United Nations and the end of World War II in 1945, hostilities between Arabs and Jews escalated over a common struggle for territory and autonomy. Upon investigating the situation, the UN concluded that the nation should be partitioned in order to satisfy the demands of both parties. Both had very different reactions to the plan. The Zionist movement maintained a façade of acceptance, though they had ulterior motives to expand into Arabian territory as large numbers of Jews immigrated into Palestine. The Palestinian Arabs rejected the plan, regarding it as a betrayal and wrongful claim of their rightful land. Fighting again ensued between the poorly organized Palestinian forces and the well-trained Jewish forces. The Zionist Jews managed to seize both the land allotted to them by the UN and other sectors, as they began conquering land beyond the partition borders. In 1948, The State of Israel was formed.
When Arabian powers such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan rushed to the defense of the Palestinian Arabs, the outcome of the first Arab-Israeli war was impossible to predict. After strategic alliances and arms shipments to Israel, however, the Jews managed to establish superiority and continue advancing. A year of fighting later, the Arab-Israeli war ended with armistice agreements. What was once known as Palestine was now divided into three regions, each under the influence of different political parties. Israel owned nearly 80% of the territory. Jordan claimed central Palestine (West Bank) and Eastern Jerusalem. Egypt occupied the coastal plains surrounding the city of Gaza (the Gaza Strip). The primarily Palestinian state imagined by the UN partition plan was never created. The UN withdrew, knowing that attempting to partition the land would not succeed with the perpetual risk of concentrated fighting and increasingly nationalistic desires for expansion. Eventually, the UN would return, but with talks of peace.
The 1967 war
The armistice of 1949 did not last. With a new unification of the Arab world after Egypt’s crackdown on all Israel-bound trade ships passing through the Straits of Tiran, the incentive for Israel to preemptively strike dramatically increased. When the threat of increasingly powerful Palestinian guerilla warfare heightened Israeli-Arab political tensions, both countries descended into a fast-paced arms race to grow their military arsenals in order to arm themselves against bordering foes. The US became concerned that Soviet power and influence was also increasing too drastically in the Arab states, and retaliated by arming Israel. The first frontier was the Egypt-occupied Gaza Strip, as Israel countered Palestinian attacks from that region and combatted Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. Israel may have claimed the Gaza Strip earlier on had it not been forced to back down by overseas pressure from the international community, including even the controversial superpowers of the US and the Soviet Union (pre-Cold War). The pressure kept Israel at bay, though not for long. As the conflict unfolded, Israel preemptively attacked the Arabian powers, defeating their forces within a few days of the battle. Israel attacked with superior arms, more intensely trained soldiers, and the element of surprise. Palestine, on the other hand, had not yet fully recovered from previous conflicts and was still suffering from internal political issues between different factions. Consequently, Israel seized the West Bank owned by Jordan, the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. This victory reaffirmed Israel as the dominant regional territorial power.
The late twentieth and early twenty first centuries
The First Intifada
In 1980, the Arab-backed Palestinians launched the first of two Intifadas, which translate to “shaking off” in Arabic. The Intifada started with massive demonstrations, protests, boycotts, refusal to purchase Israeli products and services, refusal to pay taxes, the establishment of underground educational institutions upon the shutdown of local schools by the military, and political graffiti. After Israeli forces cracked down on the protestors, violence ensued. The first Intifada also saw the rise of Hamas, wholaunched the first suicide bombing against Israel in response to the attacks. Intifada activism and Israeli resistance drew unprecedented international attention to the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The most important and lasting legacy of the first Intifada, however, was the emergence of peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
The 1993 Oslo Accords
The establishment of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians culminated in the Oslo Accords, a peace process overseen by UN Security Council Resolution 242. Signed in Washington DC in 1993, the Oslo Accords were also referred to as the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements. Unfortunately, the Oslo Accords did not end up succeeding in the renegotiation of peace between the different parties. One of the main reasons for its failure was like that of many other failed peace treaties: both parties thought that it had not achieved the goals it had promised. Palestine expected the Accords to put an end to Israeli expansion and development of weapons along the border, while also facilitating mass Palestinian economic reform. Israel expected the Accords to internally combat terrorist groups like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad by reaffirming the Palestinian Authority as the only governing party. Israelis had grown to fear the unpredictable and intermittent attacks from Palestinian terrorist groups, and therefore aligned its own security concerns with the interests of Palestinian leadership.
The Oslo Accords did not live up to these expectations. The Accords were predicated upon a wave of hope from both parties that there was a possibility for peaceful co-existence. The mechanisms it attempted to implement to fulfill the bargain were ones that did not account for violations or a due process to satisfy claims of violations. The lacking success of the Accords led to a new tide of animosity and mistrust. Even though it did not succeed, it ultimately paved the way for modern-day attempts at Israeli-Palestine peace. One of the best outcomes of the Oslo Accords was the Camp David Summit. The Camp David Summit was a pivotal moment in solidifying Egyptian-Israeli peace. One of the main factors of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is the less-than-affable relations between Palestine’s allies and Israel, which oftentimes sparked disputes and conflict. In the Camp David Summit, because of the different opinions on the potential goals outlined in the Accords, the Summit did not achieve its desired goals. However, it did successfully create the bilateral framework and foundation for Egyptian-Israeli peace. It was applied as a standard and parallel for many other peace treaties in the future.
The 2006 presidential elections: The era of Hamas
After Yasser Arafat’s death in 2005, Hamas won a majority of the parliamentary seats in the 2006 presidential elections. At this time, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas had divided views on how to govern Palestine. The division between the two went to such an extent that with US-backed military programs and efforts, the Palestinian Authority attempted to oust Hamas out of the Gaza Strip. The coup did not succeed. Hamas predicted their move, and in turn pitched a battle against the PA forces, exercising its control in the region.
After Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2007, both parties acted as impulsive and reactionary forces, waging never-ending guerilla warfare against Israel that eventually developed into the use of missiles and rocket launches. In recent years, Hamas has frequently launched rocket attacks into Israel, who have responded with armed invasions into Palestine that have killed thousands of militants and innocent civilians.
From 1950 till present day, the Israeli-Palestine and Arab-Israeli conflict has a joint death toll of over 51,000 lives. The decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine reflects both parties’ inability to comprehend the other’s narrative. The Palestinians have been denied state status preceding the formation of Israel and are now forced to live under a military occupation. The Israeli Jews need a Jewish homeland, where they can continue the well-established trend of increasing their territory through military dominance and victory. They also live under constant military threat from their Arabian neighbors. The conflict is still in full swing, with Palestinian organizations launching attacks on Israel while Israeli military forces respond with equal fire and ferocity.
According to the UNRWA, 1.4 million registered Palestinian refugees have fled to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. The conflict is quickly descending into one of the largest and most prolonged refugee crises of the century. Both sides must come to grips with rejecting the idea of total military dominance and political influence over the other; otherwise, the Israeli-Palestine conflict will continue for many more years, resulting in reverberating effects across international foreign policy and the loss of millions of lives.
Since the British mandate in Palestine, multiple foreign actors have been involved in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Regional actors were the first to intervene, rushing to the aid of the dispossessed Palestinians. After the disputes gained more recognition and media attention from the growing severity of the strife, Western nations and international organizations also became politically intertwined in the crisis. Choosing sides based on individual agendas, the existing divide between many actors was only fueled by the proxy war that has escalated into the Palestinian and Israeli territorial conflict.
In the early history of the conflict, Syria was one of the Arabian powers allied with the Palestinian Arabs. Since then, Syrian-Israeli diplomatic relations have been forced at best. Israel’s historic seizure of the Golan Heights and its prolonged presence in the Syrian Civil War continue to breed distrust. Palestine’s Hamas had maintained close relations with Iran and Syria through their headquarters in Damascus. However, relations between the two nations collapsed after Hamas registered opposition to the crackdown on dissent of Assad’s regime. Depending on the political mood between the two nations, Syrian presence in the conflict is constantly changing. However, Syria has ample motive to be aligned with Palestine. If there were ever foreign threats to Syria, it relies on strong diplomatic ties with Arabian states to come to its aid.
In 2013, the Egyptian army overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. During Morsi’s term in office, Egypt and Palestine maintained extremely close ties. When the army took over, the friendly relations between the two nations rapidly deteriorated. Egypt accused Hamas of interfering with its personal affairs, as well as being allegedly involved in militant jihadist groups fighting against the Egyptian army. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly utilized the sudden shift in Egyptian policy to his advantage. He capitalized on coordination with Egypt as a key objective and continued to further this through the majority of his military campaign. However, the civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip bred animosity and rage in Egypt against Israel. Across Egyptian media, Egypt condemned the suffering of the Palestinian Arabs. The relations between Hamas and the Sisi government did not improve, with Egypt still regarding Hamas as detrimental to Egyptian national security. While Egypt is decidedly neutral, it hopes to weaken Hamas’ grip on Gaza by fueling the intervention in support of the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan’s role in the search for peace is premised on the belief that the Israel-Palestine issue is the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jordan provided a third party influence in the joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation in October 1991 which allowed Palestinians to negotiate with Israel. Furthermore, Jordan has been highly supportive of the Palestinian quest for assertion of their political and national rights. Three waves of Palestinian refugees in 1948, 1967, and most recently in the aftermath of the Gulf War have settled in Jordan. Currently, there are 1.7 million Palestinian refugees inhabited in Jordan who hold full citizenship rights, privileges, and responsibilities, accounting for a third of the total population.
The recent decision to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and proclaim Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked international outcry and Arabian outrage. The Trump administration has also deployed strong missile defense systems in Israel to help simulate missile threats from all fronts. These events may only be the beginning in an era of impenetrable ties. Trump’s alliance with Israel is one of the strongest in the world. American support is not because of sympathy from WWII, or Israel’s economic and military might. The relations between the two mainly consists of intelligence sharing and the common views they share on democracy. Israel has unparalleled insight into Middle Eastern events, which has proven to be extremely beneficial to the US. In order to infiltrate Iranian cyber infrastructure and slow nuclear development, the US and Israel joined forces to create Stuxnet, one of the most advanced and complex malware systems to ever be created. The US and Israel also have some of the most sophisticated missile defense systems to their names as well. The strong ties between the US and Israel has strained relations between the UN and the US. With the US’ adamant refusal to pass any resolutions condemning Israel, the UN continues to pass resolutions such as ones “reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people” and granting Palestine “non-member Observer State status in the UN” to spite the US. While the majority of Asian and African nations disagree with the US’ myopic views on the conflict, the US is too large of an international actor and too stubborn about its interests with Israel to be actively challenged.
The EU has consistently condemned the Israeli occupation of Palestine in alignment with UN resolution 242. It played a large and decisive role in achieving recognition for the Palestinians’ claim to self-determination and the right to statehood. While the EU is in very clear support of the two-state solution, it has contributed little to deciding the legal parameters of the action. Even though their motives are unclear, the EU has strived to remain aligned with popular international opinion, which is currently condemning Israel’s military occupation of the Gaza Strip and a large portion of the surrounding land.
The EU has historically shifting allegiances. In 1957, members of the European Commission (EU), the early EU, had close ties to Israel. In particular, France and the UK, who had intervened on Israel’s behalf in the 1956 Suez War, were important military allies when Israel expanded its military arsenal and developed military technology. At that time, the EC had extremely clear motives: Israel’s growing economic importance. In 2016, the total volume of trade had grown to €34 billion. However, after Israel’s rapid expansion and occupation of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, the UN Security Council intervened with Resolution 242, calling for the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”. The EU issued a joint statement calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the sieged regions, affirming their compliance and agreement with resolution 242.
Hamas is the largest Palestinian Islamist militant group and political organization currently involved in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Since the group’s formation in the Gaza Strip in 1987, Hamas has waged war on Israel with a variety of terror tactics. The group’s extremist ideology blends Palestinian and Islamist patriotism and primarily seeks to both replace Israel with a Palestinian state and create an Islamic State. Hamas utilizes its connections to Iran and Qatar to siphon social services in order to sway grassroots Palestinians, garnering support and consequently securing the group a win in the 2006 Palestinian presidential elections. Hamas is well known for both its militancy and its historic involvement in social welfare, where it built and staffed schools, clinics, and mosques in Gaza. The group is also internationally recognized as a terror network, religious party, and political organization. Hamas’ involvement in welfare and politics has only tempered its commitment to terrorism. Hamas still continues to fire rocket launchers on Israel, as well as hold a large number of Israelis captive in Gaza. Guerilla warfare and small skirmishes along the border are still daily occurrences between Hamas and Israel. Currently, Egypt is attempting to cautiously broker talks between Hamas and Israel over Gaza and encourages tentative optimism that they may reach lasting peace.
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
The PLO’s initial goals were to help establish peace among the Arab world, as well as assert Palestinian control over a portion of the Israeli-occupied land. Its original goals were largely centered around coexistence. The PLO currently runs the Palestinian Authority, a political group governed by Hamas’ main political opposition Fatah. While the PLO was historically a peaceful group, it has resorted to violence, terrorism, and extremist tactics. The creation of Israel, failed post-colonial era attempts at state formation, and other factors catalyzed anti-Western transformations and movements throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds. Using violent means of shootings, bombings, kidnappings, and hijackings, the subsequent deaths of Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics were among terrorism’s first casualties in the Middle East. These Palestinian groups became a model for numerous secular militants and offered lessons for subsequent ethnic and religious movements. The Palestinians created an extensive transnational extremist network, tied into which were various state sponsors such as the Soviet Union, certain Arab states, as well as traditional criminal organizations. By the end of the 1970s, the Palestinian secular network was a major channel for the spread of terrorist techniques worldwide. Its current guiding ideology outlined in the Palestine National Charter calls for the complete eradication of the State of Israel.
United Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the United Relief and Works Agency was established by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) in 1949. Its primary mandate since its creation has been to carry out relief programs for displaced persons fleeing the conflict. The UNRWA has saved numerous civilians. However, it is often unsuccessful because the continued violent conflict increases the danger and inability of UNRWA missions to save civilians where the fighting is most concentrated. Without a lasting sustainable solution to the Palestine refugee crisis, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate. Currently, approximately 5 million out of 7.2 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services, most of which include healthcare, humanitarian assistance, and education. After the hostilities of 1967, UNRWA established ten camps to accommodate the massive exodus of displaced persons.
Previous Attempts to Solve the Issue
The following two attempts are notable milestones in the history of peace processes regarding Israel and Palestine. While each process is in some way or other different, they are remarkably similar to previous peace treaties from the Oslo Accords and the Camp David Summit. The similarity between these various conferences and summits lends to the continued failure of the attempts. All make steps in the right direction, yet are not singularly unique enough to really elicit lasting positive change in ways that have not yet been tried, tested, and failed. A lesson to be learned from all of these cases is that convention, especially regarding autonomy and peace, must be replaced with substantive distinction.
The Madrid Conference of 1991 was perhaps the first time in history when all countries involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict gathered to negotiate peace terms. Following the failure of many covertly organized bilateral negotiations, the Madrid Conference hoped to maintain multilateral talks with the process largely overseen by then US president Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The primary mandates of the Madrid Conference largely reflected a plan proposed by Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, where Palestinians democratically elected representatives from both the Gaza Strip and West Bank. However, this plan failed after Israel became overly intertwined in Palestinian politics as they vetoed several candidates with alleged ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The aftermath of the Madrid Conference was perhaps less bloody than the majority of peace treaties: Israel and Palestine agreed to continue dialogue. However, the Madrid Conference didn’t achieve the stable, self governing Palestine goals it had promised.
Road map for peace
The road map for peace was a peace plan created by the Quartet: the US, the EU, the UN, and Russia. The road map for peace most prominently supported the “two-state solution”, the creation of an independent Palestine state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, alongside Israel. The road map for peace was a last resort to solve the conflict, prevent both nations from expanding their borders into the other, and mitigate centuries-long regional instability. It theoretically succeeded, insofar as creating a Palestine state. However, Israel responded by launching guerilla warfare upon Palestine, with Palestinian terrorist organizations responding in kind with rocket launches and acts of violence.
Relevant UN Treaties and Events
UN Security Council Resolution (242) – Calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces in all occupied areas of the conflict, as well as reaffirming the need to acknowledge the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of every State in the area.
UN Security Council Resolution (478) – Condemning Israeli refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions and its obstruction of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East
United Nations Partitions Palestine into Separate Jewish and Palestinian States
UN Emergency Force (UNEF) Arrives in Egypt to Supervise the Withdrawal of Britain, France, and Israel
UN General Assembly Resolution (3379) – Recalls UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and determines that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination
1993 Oslo Accords – included provisions for the environment, elections, civil affairs, and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from West Bank towns and cities
Camp David Summit – reaffirmed goals for peace across the entire region between Arab nations and Israel
UN Security Council Resolution (1405) – Calling for a Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel
Palestine Becomes 195th Full Member of UNESCO
Palestinian Authority to Seek Non-Member State Status at United Nations
United Nations Votes to Accept Palestine as a Non-Member Observer State
The most famous approaches proposed by international organizations and nations towards solving the conflict include the two-state and one-state solutions. The two-state solution establishes Palestine as an independent state in Gaza and the majority of the West Bank, existing alongside Israel and leaving the remaining land to Israel. The alternative is a one-state solution, in which all of the contested land becomes either one large Israel or one large Palestine. The one-state solution is becoming increasingly likely with the rise of political and demographic catastrophe. However, it is the less preferable of the two proposed solutions. With one party in complete military and political control of the other, massive conflict would ensue and be counterproductive to the goals of peace. While both are the primary modern day approaches to solving the conflict, both remain as theoretical discussions mainly gauging alternative outcomes. Neither have been fully implemented. What is certain is that before either solution can hope to be implemented to solve the crisis, actions must be taken. There are a lot of smaller solutions before Israel and Palestine can reach either outcome. Delegates should consider researching root causes and also what driving forces have made the conflict worse. A possible solution is to establish religious tolerance, cultural acceptance, and the understanding of a mutual want for self-determination between Israelis and Palestinians. This can help eliminate the use of hard power and arms as a method to assert dominance.
A common problem with the UN Security Council is the existence of P5 members, whose veto power often deters positive change and forgoes beneficial policies. The theme of this year’s SHASMUN exists as testament to the reoccurring issues that come back to plague us because of a lack of responsibility and accountability of international superpowers. With the help of the international community, actions could be taken to ensure an armistice. After this, another consideration for solving the conflict can be tactically and cautiously suggesting the continued supply of arms from external military forces, most of which exacerbate the conflict. In order to establish a sense of security, the development of offensive nuclear or missile projectiles can be precluded in exchange for added defensive technology. This solution could preempt a total blockade or crackdown on weapons in both regions. This may serve to assertively put an end to military conflict, yet delegates must still consider that implementation may face some challenges from outspoken and deeply involved P5 nations.
Another solution is peace negotiations. While at face value, this solution appears extremely cliché and ineffective, accords such as the Oslo Accords or the Camp David Summit were extremely close to succeeding had there not been disagreements about the number of intervening nations. A few detriments of peace negotiations include mechanisms that do not achieve the goals promised and oversold promises to both parties. In order to ensure the historic failures of the Oslo Accords or the Camp David Summit do not repeat themselves, the international community should set clearer standards on the expectations of the negotiations. By setting more attainable and realistic goals, agreements serve to more comprehensively solve the conflict. All of these solutions have multiple ways to be implemented. Regardless of which solutions delegates choose to expand on, immediate and comprehensive solutions are crucial to ensuring lasting affable relations and preventing full-fledged war in the status quo and future.
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