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” 1Table of ContentsAn overview of the Conflict ..................................................................................... 2Issues ................................................................................................................. 4Areas a Resolution Must Address ............................................................................... 7Sources 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 Zionist: Those who seek an present-day Israel. Pressured by "Zionist" leaders, the Britain announced independent Jewish homeland 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. Resolution 181: The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a resolution Many Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s adopted on 29 November 1947 were not permitted to enter other nations, both because these countries by the General Assembly of were overwhelmed with refugees and because many nations harboured the United Nations. Its title anti-Semitic feelings. This lack of alternative, coupled with the Zionist was United Nations General movement, prompted a mass migration of Jews to the new Middle Eastern Assembly Resolution 181 (II) state. Clashes soon broke out between the immigrating Jews and the Arab Future Government of population, the Palestinians, who had lived there previous to the Palestine. establishment of Israel. In 1947, Britain gave control of most of the region over to the newly formed United Nations. Later that year, General The resolution noted Britains planned termination of Assembly Resolution 181 recommended that Palestine be divided into the British Mandate for two separate states, one Jewish and the other Palestinian Arab. Palestine and recommended the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and The city of Jerusalem, a religious one Arab, with the Jerusalem- centre for both groups, was to be Bethlehem area being under internationalised and controlled special international protection, by the UN. The plan, however, administered by the United was rejected by the Palestinians Nations. 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, Armistice: An agreement Lebanon, Jordon and Syria. The made by opposing sides in a Armistice Demarcation Lines war to stop fighting for a afterwards known as the ‘Green certain time; a truce. Line’, as set by the agreements, saw the territory under Israeli control encompassingFigure 1: UN 1947 partition plan for Palestine
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 3approximately three-quarters of Mandate Palestine. This was about one-third more than was allocated to the Jewish State under the UN partitionproposal. Egypt and Jordon occupied the Gaza Strip and West Bankrespectively.Meanwhile, occasional fighting continued along many borders. By 1967,Egypt and Jordan appeared to be mobilizing troops for an attack, andIsrael launched a pre-emptive strike to defend its land and claim otherdisputed areas. The war, which lasted only six days, resulted in Israelioccupation of all Palestinian territory. Israel refused to acknowledge the Intifada:Security Council’s calls for withdrawal. The occupied territories are in The Palestinian uprising againsttwo sections: the West Bank to the East, and the smaller Gaza strip, is Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, beginningalong the Mediterranean Coast. The two areas are separated by Israel in 1987and Palestinians do not travel freely between them.Palestinians in the area have retained small sections of land within theoccupied territories. Israelis continued to build new settlements in theregions they claim as their own, but many nations saw this as an effort toillegally expand Israel’s territory. The Palestinian Liberation Organization Key points in the conflict:(PLO), under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, who is now dead, several The division of land, ownershiptimes declared an intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation, to of major religious sites,little success. Palestinian suicide bombers ravaged Israeli settlements continued attacks on civilianswhile Israeli troops continued to invade Palestinian areas—both parties and terrorist activity in theare responsible for many civilian deaths. region all complicate the peace process.The UN has affirmed the Palestinians right to an independent state andhas tried to establish peace in the region, but key points in the conflictremain unsettled.
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 4Issues‘Two State Solution’The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the consensussolution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to theconflict, 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 anindependent Palestinian state alongside Israel. The main point on whichthe two-state solution formula differs from those for an independentPalestinian state is that the two-state solution calls for directnegotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. To achieve atwo-state solution, a number of difficult issues need to be resolved,including the borders of the Palestinian state, the citizenship of the newPalestinian state, the status of Palestinian refugees outside the finalborders, and the status of Arab citizens of present-day Israel, besides thefuture of East Jerusalem.The refugee crisisFigure 2: Palestinian refugees in 1948Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and theirdescendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled orwere expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War,within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that warbecame the territory of the State of Israel, and Egypt and Jordan whotook control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively.Some displaced Palestinians resettled in other countries where theirsituation is often precarious. Many retained the refugee status andcontinue to reside in refugee camps, including in the Palestinianterritories. Palestinian refugees and their descendants form a sizableportion of the Palestinian diaspora.
KCL Model United Nations Society 2011/2012 "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza” 5The potential for terrorism: HamasHamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or political party that governsthe Gaza Strip. Based on the principles of Islamic fundamentalism gainingmomentum throughout the Arab world in the 1980s, Hamas was foundedin 1987 (during the First Intifada) as an offshoot of the Egyptian MuslimBrotherhood. Since June 2007 Hamas has governed the Gaza portion ofthe Palestinian Territories, after it won a majority of seats inthe Palestinian Parliament in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentaryelections and then defeated the Fatah political organization in a series ofviolent clashes.More controversially, Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killingnearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks,according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2001 through May2008, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortarattacks into IsraelHamas uses both political activities and violence in pursuit of its goals.For example, while politically engaged in the 2006 Palestinian Territoriesparliamentary election campaign, Hamas stated in its election manifestothat it was prepared to use "armed resistance to end the occupation".Because of this, several major international actors (includingthe European Union, the United States ,Canada, Israel and Japan) classifyHamas as a terrorist organization,while nations such as Russia, Turkeyand Switzerland do not.JerusalemUnder the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine passed by the UN in1947, Jerusalem was envisaged to become a corpus separatumadministered by the United Nations. In the war of 1948, the western partof the city was occupied by forces of the nascent state of Israel, while theeastern part was occupied by Jordan. The international communitylargely considers the legal status of Jerusalem to derive from thepartition plan, and correspondingly refuses to recognize Israelisovereignty in the city. On 5 December 1949, the State of Israels firstPrime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Jerusalem as Israelscapital, and since then all branches of the Israeli government—legislative, judicial, and executive—have resided there. At the time of theproclamation, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan and thusonly West Jerusalem was proclaimed Israels capital. Following the Six-DayWar, Israel annexed East Jerusalem, and a provision stipulating that thecity was the united capital of Israel was added to the countrys Basic Law.The status of a "united Jerusalem" as Israels "eternal capital" has been amatter of immense controversy within the international community.On 28 October 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 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” 6Palestine if peace is to be achieved. In 2010, Israel approved legislationgiving Jerusalem the highest national priority status in Israel. The lawprioritized construction throughout the city, and offered grants and taxbenefits to residents to make housing, infrastructure, education,employment, business, tourism, and cultural events more affordable.Settlements in the West BankThe West bank of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical easternpart of the Palestinian territories - to the west, north, and south, theWest Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. Since 1967, most of theWest Bank has been under Israeli military occupation and is referred toas Judea and Samaria Area by Israel.Legal argumentsThe United Nations Security Council, the United Nations GeneralAssembly, the United States, the EU, the International Court ofJustice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross refer to it asPalestinian territory occupied by Israel. General Assembly resolution58/292 (17 May 2004) affirmed that the Palestinian people have the rightto sovereignty over the area. According to supporters of Israels rights,since the area has never in modern times been an independent state,there is no legitimate claimant to the area other than the presentoccupier, which is Israel. This argument however is not accepted by theinternational community and international lawmaking bodies, virtually allof whom regard Israels activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as anoccupation that denies the fundamental principle of self-determinationfound in the Article One of the United Nations Charter.Political PositionsThe future status of the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip on theMediterranean shore, has been the subject of negotiation between thePalestinians 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 independentPalestinian state in these territories living side by side with Israel.The Palestinian Authority believes that the West Bank ought to be a partof their sovereign nation, and that the presence of Israeli military controlis a violation of their right to Palestinian Authority rule. The UnitedNations calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied territories.The United States State Department also refers to the territoriesasoccupied. Many Israelis and their supporters prefer the term disputedterritories, because they claim part of the territory for themselves, andstate 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” 7Areas 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” 8Sources 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/dod- 101/ops/war • UN Integrated Regional Information Networks – News - www.irinnews.org • UN News Centre - www.un.org/NewsNews Sources OnlineDelegates are encouraged to follow news sources regularly for up-to-date information on thetopic areas. • The New York Times - www.nytimes.com • CNN.com - www.cnn.com • BBC Online - www.bbc.com • Guardian News - http://www.guardian.co.ukIn-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