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2011 10-11and2011-10-18-theisraelipalestinianconflictandthehumanitariancrisisingaza-111005090530-phpapp01 (3) 2011 10-11and2011-10-18-theisraelipalestinianconflictandthehumanitariancrisisingaza-111005090530-phpapp01 (3) Document Transcript

  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza"
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 1 Table of Contents An overview of the Conflict ..................................................................................... 2 Issues ................................................................................................................. 4 Areas a Resolution Must Address ............................................................................... 7 Sources for research (optional)................................................................................. 8
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 2 An overview of the Conflict At the end of World War I, British officials occupied the area that is present-day Israel. Pressured by "Zionist" leaders, the Britain announced that it would create a state in the Middle East region of Palestine, the biblical cradle of both Jewish and Arab civilizations. This state, Israel, would be a national home for the Jewish people. Many Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s were not permitted to enter other nations, both because these countries were overwhelmed with refugees and because many nations harboured anti-Semitic feelings. This lack of alternative, coupled with the Zionist movement, prompted a mass migration of Jews to the new Middle Eastern state. Clashes soon broke out between the immigrating Jews and the Arab population, the Palestinians, who had lived there previous to the establishment of Israel. In 1947, Britain gave control of most of the region over to the newly formed United Nations. Later that year, General Assembly Resolution 181 recommended that Palestine be divided into two separate states, one Jewish and the other Palestinian Arab. The city of Jerusalem, a religious centre for both groups, was to be internationalised and controlled by the UN. The plan, however, was rejected by the Palestinians who did not want to lose their homeland. By 1948, British forces left the area entirely and Israel declared itself an independent nation—an action that angered neighbouring Arab countries. Several of these Arab states staged attacks to regain the land Israel had claimed as its own. These attacks ended with armistices that, among other things, redrew the boundaries of Palestine. In 1949, Israel signed separate Armistices with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordon and Syria. The Armistice Demarcation Lines afterwards known as the ‘Green Line’, as set by the agreements, saw the territory under Israeli control encompassing Figure 1: UN 1947 partition plan for Palestine Zionist: Those who seek an independent Jewish homeland Resolution 181: The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a resolution adopted on 29 November 1947 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Its title was United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine. The resolution noted Britain's planned termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and recommended the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with the JerusalemBethlehem area being under special international protection, administered by the United Nations. Armistice: An agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time; a truce.
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 3 approximately three-quarters of Mandate Palestine. This was about onethird more than was allocated to the Jewish State under the UN partition proposal. Egypt and Jordon occupied the Gaza Strip and West Bank respectively. Meanwhile, occasional fighting continued along many borders. By 1967, Egypt and Jordan appeared to be mobilizing troops for an attack, and Israel launched a pre-emptive strike to defend its land and claim other disputed areas. The war, which lasted only six days, resulted in Israeli occupation of all Palestinian territory. Israel refused to acknowledge the Security Council’s calls for withdrawal. The occupied territories are in two sections: the West Bank to the East, and the smaller Gaza strip, is along the Mediterranean Coast. The two areas are separated by Israel and Palestinians do not travel freely between them. Palestinians in the area have retained small sections of land within the occupied territories. Israelis continued to build new settlements in the regions they claim as their own, but many nations saw this as an effort to illegally expand Israel’s territory. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, who is now dead, several times declared an intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation, to little success. Palestinian suicide bombers ravaged Israeli settlements while Israeli troops continued to invade Palestinian areas—both parties are responsible for many civilian deaths. The UN has affirmed the Palestinians' right to an independent state and has tried to establish peace in the region, but key points in the conflict remain unsettled. Intifada: The Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, beginning in 1987 Key points in the conflict: The division of land, ownership of major religious sites, continued attacks on civilians and terrorist activity in the region all complicate the peace process.
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 4 Issues ‘Two State Solution’ The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict, most recently at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007. The proposal is supported by many international figures and agencies. A two-state solution is in practice a proposal for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. The main point on which the two-state solution formula differs from those for an independent Palestinian state is that the two-state solution calls for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. To achieve a two-state solution, a number of difficult issues need to be resolved, including the borders of the Palestinian state, the citizenship of the new Palestinian state, the status of Palestinian refugees outside the final borders, and the status of Arab citizens of present-day Israel, besides the future of East Jerusalem. The refugee crisis Figure 2: Palestinian refugees in 1948 Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the territory of the State of Israel, and Egypt and Jordan who took control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively. Some displaced Palestinians resettled in other countries where their situation is often precarious. Many retained the refugee status and continue to reside in refugee camps, including in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian refugees and their descendants form a sizable portion of the Palestinian diaspora.
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 5 The potential for terrorism: Hamas Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Based on the principles of Islamic fundamentalism gaining momentum throughout the Arab world in the 1980s, Hamas was founded in 1987 (during the First Intifada) as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Since June 2007 Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories, after it won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections and then defeated the Fatah political organization in a series of violent clashes. More controversially, Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din alQassam Brigades. From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001 through May 2008, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks into Israel Hamas uses both political activities and violence in pursuit of its goals. For example, while politically engaged in the 2006 Palestinian Territories parliamentary election campaign, Hamas stated in its election manifesto that it was prepared to use "armed resistance to end the occupation". Because of this, several major international actors (including the European Union, the United States ,Canada, Israel and Japan) classify Hamas as a terrorist organization,while nations such as Russia, Turkey and Switzerland do not. Jerusalem Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine passed by the UN in 1947, Jerusalem was envisaged to become a corpus separatum administered by the United Nations. In the war of 1948, the western part of the city was occupied by forces of the nascent state of Israel, while the eastern part was occupied by Jordan. The international community largely considers the legal status of Jerusalem to derive from the partition plan, and correspondingly refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the city. On 5 December 1949, the State of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and since then all branches of the Israeli government— legislative, judicial, and executive—have resided there. At the time of the proclamation, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan and thus only West Jerusalem was proclaimed Israel's capital. Following the Six-Day War, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, and a provision stipulating that the city was the united capital of Israel was added to the country's Basic Law. The status of a "united Jerusalem" as Israel's "eternal capital" has been a matter of immense controversy within the international community. On 28 October 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon warned that Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 6 Palestine if peace is to be achieved. In 2010, Israel approved legislation giving Jerusalem the highest national priority status in Israel. The law prioritized construction throughout the city, and offered grants and tax benefits to residents to make housing, infrastructure, education, employment, business, tourism, and cultural events more affordable. Settlements in the West Bank The West bank of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories - to the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. Since 1967, most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation and is referred to as Judea and Samaria Area by Israel. Legal arguments The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the United States, the EU, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross refer to it as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel. General Assembly resolution 58/292 (17 May 2004) affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over the area. According to supporters of Israel's rights, since the area has never in modern times been an independent state, there is no legitimate claimant to the area other than the present occupier, which is Israel. This argument however is not accepted by the international community and international lawmaking bodies, virtually all of whom regard Israel's activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an occupation that denies the fundamental principle of self-determination found in the Article One of the United Nations Charter. Political Positions The future status of the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean shore, has been the subject of negotiation between the Palestinians and Israelis, although the current Road Map for Peace, proposed by the "Quartet" comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, envisions an independent Palestinian state in these territories living side by side with Israel. The Palestinian Authority believes that the West Bank ought to be a part of their sovereign nation, and that the presence of Israeli military control is a violation of their right to Palestinian Authority rule. The United Nations calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied territories. The United States State Department also refers to the territories asoccupied. Many Israelis and their supporters prefer the term disputed territories, because they claim part of the territory for themselves, and state the land has not, in 2000 years, been sovereign.
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 7 Areas a Resolution Must Address • The committee must assess the legitimacy of Hamas as a government. • The potential for terrorism to rise in areas such as Gaza are high, and it is necessary to address how this can be stopped. • The blockade on Gaza • Previous attacks against Hamas in Gaza by Israel • What steps must be taken to initiate the peace process overall?
  • KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 8 Sources for research (optional) Official Sources • UN Security Council - www.un.org/Docs/sc • CIA World Factbook - www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook • Federation of American Scientists: Military Analysis Network - www.fas.org/man/dod101/ops/war • UN Integrated Regional Information Networks – News - www.irinnews.org • UN News Centre - www.un.org/News News Sources Online Delegates are encouraged to follow news sources regularly for up-to-date information on the topic areas. • The New York Times - www.nytimes.com • CNN.com - www.cnn.com • BBC Online - www.bbc.com • Guardian News - http://www.guardian.co.uk In-depth News and Information on the Situation in Israel /Palestine • UN - Question of Palestine: Overview - www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpalnew/overview.htm • BBC Profile of Israel and Palestinian Autonomous Areas http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/country_profiles/803257.stm