HKMUN 2012: Chair Report Forum: Special Political and Decolonization Committee Issue: A Roadmap Towards Peace Between Israel and Palestine- The Path Forward Student Officer: Mira Naseer Positions: Deputy Secretary General; President of the General Assembly Note: This document serves as an introduction to the topic. All delegates are strongly advised to supplement this document with independent research. ___________________________________________________________________________
Introduction The formation of Israel has been steeped in controversy ever since it was first proposed in 1947 by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine. The proposal called to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with independent Arab and Jewish States and the special administrative region, the city of Jerusalem, which would be monitored by the UN. This plan was implemented by the UN General Assembly on 29th November, 1947 as Resolution 181. As the nation came to be, this was the first time in modern history that the occupants of a country were removed to make space for another. Millions of Muslim Palestinians who previously occupied the region were uprooted to the West Bank and Gaza and millions of Jewish immigrants came to present day Israel. Since then, the right to present day Israel, especially Jerusalem has become one of the most controversial topics of all time. Now, more than six decades later and after the deaths of thousands on both sides, the conflict continues, but both parties have yet to agree upon a concrete solution.
History The Holocaust, which lasted from 1939 till 1945, accounted for the systematic killing of six million Jews worldwide. On November 29th, 1947 the United Nation General Assembly voted for the partition of Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel. This new state was to become a safe homeland for all Jews and grant them refuge from repetition of such events. The British government relinquished their mandate over Palestine, which prior to 1947 did not allow Jews who faced persecution in Europe to enter Palestine. The partition plan that was drafted by the UN purposed the formation of independent Palestinian and Israeli states and called for the area of Jerusalem and Bethlehem to become an internationally administered region. However, the partition plan that was drafted was never adopted because in 1948 the first Arab-Israeli war broke out. The Israeli forces proved much stronger and many Palestinians were forced to flee to Lebanon, Egypt and the West Bank. The Jewish armies won most of the major areas in Israel such as Negev, Galilee, West Jerusalem and much of the coastal plain. In 1948, the declaration of Israel came into effect with the Jews controlling 55% of the land. Since then
several other wars such as the Six Day War between Israel and neighboring Arab countries have allowed Israel to expand its borders even further. It is now in control of 78% of the land. Today, the Gaza strip and the West Bank are the only areas controlled by the Palestinians. Land Claim The Jews have a strong religious claim to Israel. This is the land that they were brought to by Moses after their persecution in Egypt. The Temple Mount is also a very important site to Jews as it is considered to be the holiest temple. Just like the Palestinians, the Israeli’s believe that Israel and Jerusalem are rightfully their religious homeland and they believe that Israel deserves to be ruled by a Jewish authority. The Arabs in Palestine believe that present day Israel is rightfully their land as this group has previously lived there continuously for many centuries. Like the Jews, Palestinians also have a strong religious claim to Jerusalem, as they believe that the Prophet Mohammad ascended to the heavens from the dome of the rock. Before praying in the direction of Mecca, Muslims used to pray towards the dome of the rock.
Proposed Solutions Israel: Within the Israeli government there are two proposed solution plans to the conflict. The current prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a member of the Likud political party, has proposed the first solution to the land dispute. His party completely rejects the idea of an independent Palestinian state. His proposed one state solution calls for Palestinians to live freely, under an autonomous self-rule, but does not grant them an independent, sovereign state. This plan also accounts for Jerusalem becoming a completely Jewish city and becoming the capital of Israel. Netanyahu’s policy also encourages Jewish settlements on the Gaza strip and the West Bank. The Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman who is from the Yisrael Beiteinu political party opposes the prime minister’s policies and is open to a two state solution. This solution plan allows the creation of an independent Palestinian state that would include the Gaza strip and the West Bank. However, it calls for largely Jewish populated areas of the West Bank to be given to the state of Israel. This plan also states that after the new borders of Palestine have been drawn all Arab citizens in Israel who do not wish to relocate must take an oath of allegiance. The legality of this plan, however, is still uncertain as it would be illegal under Israeli and international laws to strip Arabs of Israeli citizenship as a part of a population and territorial swap with the Palestinian Authority. Palestine: The Palestinians have also proposed two solutions. The first has been proposed by Mahmoud Abbas, the current president of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The PLO, which is in control of the West Bank, is far more secular than the Hamas government, which is in control of the Gaza strip. This plan would first involve the recognition of an independent Palestinian state by the Israeli government. It also demands that the Palestinian refugees should be allowed to return to Israel and be deemed Arab citizens. This plan also sets a division of land where
Israel will return to its pre 1967 Six Day War borders. As a result of this war between Israel and neighboring Arab countries Israel seized the Gaza strip, the West Bank, the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. The PLO purposed solution calls for these regions to be returned to their previous nations and the rest of the land to be divided between the Israelis and Palestinians. This plan emphasizes the need for an equal division of land in order to show equality between the two states. This plans also encourages Jerusalem to be divided so that it is the capital city of both nations. Other: The Hamas government, which is considered an extremist or terrorist group by the United Nations and several member nations due to its violent ideology, has put forth a one state solution plan. Hamas refuses to accept Israel as an independent Jewish state. The original Hamas charter, which was published in 1988, called for the total abolition of the Jewish state of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state in its place. In subsequent years the Hamas government was responsible for a long campaign of suicide bombings as well as other attacks on Israeli civilians in an armed struggle against the occupation. In recent years immense pressure has been put on the Hamas government by the PLO and foreign governments to accept Israel’s right to exist as a nation if it hopes to be a political partner in the future. In 2006, the Hamas government drew up a more ambiguous manifesto, which makes no reference to the destruction of the Israeli state. This new position however, still calls for an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Ghazi Hamad, a senior member of the Hamas government, also stated that Hamas is willing to reach its final goal of ending the occupation “by using all means, including armed resistance”. Resultant: Both of these proposed solution plans by the Israeli government are unacceptable to the Palestinian Authority. Likud’s proposal does not grant an independent Palestinian state. An agreement upon forming this state is crucial for a solution to be accepted by the Palestinians. Even though the Lieberman plan allows for an independent Arab state it gives the majority of the land to the Israelis. This plan does not allow Palestinians to live equally in Israel without revoking their Arab nationality and declaring themselves Israeli citizens. The Israeli government will not accept these proposed solutions. The two state solution plan suggested by the PLO calls for a return to pre-1967 borders. The Israeli government has not accepted this proposal because it will give Palestine control of several regions, which could act as key military strike points. The second solution put forth by the Hamas government is completely unacceptable to the Jewish authority in Israel because in addition to key strategic land it also gives Jerusalem solely to Palestine. ‘The Roadmap for Peace’: In July 2002, several UN member nations including the United States of America, member states of the European Union, Russia along with the UN outlined a roadmap for peace in the region of Israel- Palestine. The plan calls for actions on both Israeli and Palestinian sides. Palestine must prove conscious efforts to reduce and remove extremist actions against Israel within
their government and civilian body. While Israel is required to freeze settlement activity established after March, 2011 and lighten restrictions on Palestinian occupied regions. However, the implementation of this plan has still not been followed through, with continued action on both sides. In 2010, the United States of America, under the Obama administration has also encouraged direct talks between the two parties, calling for similar responsibility and compromise from both parties.
Key UN Resolutions General Assembly Resolutions: Note: This is not a complete list of UN Israel-Palestine resolutions.
1947 November 29: UN General Assembly Resolution 181: recommended the partitioning of the British Mandate on Palestine between Jews and Arabs. 1949 May 11: UN General Assembly Resolution 273: admission of Israel to membership in the UN December 10: UN General Assembly Resolution 356: Occupation of Jerusalem and the status of the city 1950 December 14: UN General Assembly Resolution 394 (V): Called for Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, and a solution for the situation of Palestinian refugees. 1955 December 3: UN General Assembly Resolution 916: Assistance to Palestinian refugees. 1974 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3236: Recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights, including the right to self-determination and the right of return. 1984: December 11: UN General Assembly Resolution 39/146: The situation in the Middle East
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