Economic and Social Council
Issue 403: Working towards social and economic integration within the
Gaza Strip Student Officer:Eric Rauschkolb Position:
Head Chair of the Economic and Social Council
Introduction The Gaza Strip is a narrow piece of land between Israel and Egypt. It is approximately a 360 square kilometer area home to over 1.5 million Palestinians. Originally the strip was under Egyptian control; however, following the ArabIsraeli war of 1967, Israel took over the strip and has been in control ever since. By 1994, Israeli troops began to leave the strip. The PLO began to gain influence in Gaza, Becoming the Voice of the Palestinian people. The situation took a turn for the worse in 2007, when an islamist militant group called Hamas took over the strip, ousting the PLO faction of Fatah as representative of the Palestinian people within the strip. After this occurrence, Israel placed strict restrictions on the entry and exit to Gaza. This has proven to be prejudicial to the people within Gaza, as the volume of supplies within the strip decreased dramatically. It has been estimated by the Red Cross that only 25% of resources actually make it into the strip, causing severe shortages of goods. In addition, exports were banned from Gaza, creating a paralyzed and unfruitful economy. The situation became worse in September of 2007. After continuous rocket attacks on southern Israel, Israeli officials decided to call Gaza a “hostile entity” and began cutting fuel imports into the strip. The shortages of fuel have led to failures in sewer systems, waste collection, water supplies, and medical stations. In addition, these rocket attacks into Israel have led to retaliation by part of the Israelis. Israel
is responsible for numerous airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, resulting in many civilian casualties. The current situation in Gaza has caused the creation of many refugee camps within the strip. There are 8 large refugee camps within Gaza. The UN is responsible for providing basic education and first aid supplies to these camps. Recent studies by the UN have concluded that these refugee camps have some of the highest population densities in the world. In addition these people live primitive and risky lives. Violence is constant within the camps, and it is estimated that 20% of camps are not connected to a sewage system. Waste flows along the streets of the camps.
Definition of Key Terms Gaza Strip A narrow piece of land between Egypt and Israel. It is approximately an area of 360 square kilometers and home to over 1.5 million people Hamas An Islamic militant organization founded in 1987 as a Sunni Islamist group. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by nations such as Israel , the United States and Canada. Other nations such as Russia however consider Hamas to be a legitimate organization. The classification of Hamas is a widely disputed and unresolved issue. Hamas has a strong influence due to its position as one of the two primary Palestinian political factions within Gaza.
PLO The Palestinian Liberation Organization is an organization with a mission to create an independent Palestinian state. It is the official voice of the Palestinian people in the United Nations. Fatah The largest political faction of the PLO. Founded in 1964 By Yasser Arafat, it is a major Palestinian Political Party. Refugee Camps A place where refugees can find shelter and basic aid. Although very primitive in Gaza, they have helped save many lives. There are eight main refugee camps established by the UNRWA called Beach, Bureij, Deir el Balah, Jabalia, Khan Younis, Maghazi, Nuseirat, and Rafah.
General Overview Situation In Gaza The situation in Gaza Strip has been a complicated one ever since Israel began occupation in 1967. Although international pressure has been put on Israel to withdraw from the strip, Israel has not done so. After Hamas took over the strip, Israel sealed off the entrances, and controlled very limited import and export from the strip, in an effort to “Maintain security”. It was after this control was set up that Gaza began to really suffer. The control allowed small amounts of food and supplies, creating much scarcity in the Strip, and limiting economic prosperity. The situation turned for the worst in 2007 after Israel began cutting fuel imports into the Strip. This further crippled the Strip, as many important industries such as the water purification plants, hospitals, and sewage systems began to falter due to a
lack of fuel.
Hamas In 2006, Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, ousting the Fatah party of the PLO to become the “voice of the Palestinian people within the strip.” This occurred in an event that would later be called the Battle of Gaza. Following this takeover, Hamas was able to take complete control of the Gaza strip. After this, a state of emergency was declared by the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, along with Israeli officials. Since the takeover, Israel implemented the strict border regulations, and has been engaged in violent confrontations with Hamas which have resulted in many civilian casualties.
Refugee Camps within Gaza The situation has caused the formation of large refugee camps within Gaza. As of this moment there are eight, each with large population densities. These camps are: Jabaliya (106,691), Rafah (95,187), Shati (78,768), Nuseirat (57,120), Khan Younis (63,219), Bureij (28,770), Maghazi (22,266), Deir alBalah (19,534). Despite humanitarian efforts within these camps, conditions are less than favorable.
Violence within the strip Despite international efforts to maintain peace, violence is still common within the Strip. Israeli forces are constantly engaged with Hamas freedom fighters, in what has turned into a bloody stalemate. Hamas is blamed for several rocket attacks against Israeli cities, which has resulted in forceful retaliation from Israel. Within the strip, Hamas is also infamous for numerous human rights abuses, along with murders and abductions.
Major Parties Involved:
Israel Israel has officially been in control of the Strip following the Arab Israeli War of 1967. However in 1994, Israeli personnel including soldiers and workers began leaving the strip. Israel considers this a withdrawal from Gaza; however the nation still maintains strict border control in Gaza, regulating all imports and exports. Many nations do not consider Israel’s actions as an official withdrawal from Gaza, as the regulations set by Israel still have profound effects on the strip.
Egypt Egypt was formally in control of the strip before losing it in 1967 to Israel. After losing the strip, Egypt placed much international and diplomatic pressure on Israel to abandon their presence in Gaza. Relations with Israel have been very tense over the years, although many diplomats believe that peace can be achieved between both nations.
United States, China, Great Britain, France, Russia Being the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, these countries have played a large role on the developments in Gaza by unanimously passing resolution 242 which called for the withdrawal of Israel in the strip. These nations have been largely responsible for the humanitarian efforts in Gaza by providing resources.
Hamas The Islamic resistance movement has been accused of many atrocities within the strip. Considered a terrorist organization by many nations, Hamas has claimed to provide protection for the people of Gaza. After Hamas’ possession of the strip, Israel placed the blockade on the strip which caused many of the problems seen in Gaza today.
Up until 2006, the PLO controlled much of the strip. However, the organization soon found itself locked in conflict with Hamas as both considered themselves the representatives of the Palestinian people. Hamas ended up defeating the PLO, making them the new controllers of the strip. This conflict caused much violence and abuse in the strip.
Timeline of Events 1949 A splinter of territory comes under Egyptian military rule following the 1948 ArabIsraeli war. It lies between the borders of Egypt and Israel as defined by the ceasefire lines. Egypt proclaims the strip held in trust for the Palestine Arabs. This territory would later be known as the Gaza Strip. 1956 Following the SuezSinai War (in which Egypt fought Israel, France and England), the Gaza Strip is occupied by Israel, but it withdraws its troops in 1957 as a result of international pressure. 1967 Israel recaptures the strip during the ArabIsraeli war of June 1967, called the SixDay War. Israel doesn't annex or incorporate the West Bank and Gaza into Israel proper.
1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and other territories. 1987 Hamas, a radical Islamic organization operating mainly in the Gaza Strip, is formed. 1994 By mid1994 Israel has withdrawn most of its troops from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority assumes administrative control of the region; there is a reduction in violence. 2001 The Gaza Strip becomes the center for violent clashes. Israeli helicopters attack Palestinian targets in Gaza. In April, Israeli tanks briefly invade northern refugee camps in Khan Younis and Beit Hanoun. In July they attack Rafah, located in the south. 2004 Following a wave of kidnappings, the Palestinian National Security Council declares a state of emergency in the Gaza.
2007Hamas gains power and influence in the Gaza Strip. Israel places strict restriction on the entry or exit of Gaza. Later that year, Israel cuts fuel imports into the strip following rocket attacks.
UN Involvement and Relevant Resolutions The UN has been strongly involved with the situation in the Gaza Strip. Following the takeover after the six days war, the UN drafted resolution 242 with the purpose of forcing Israel to withdraw from all occupied territories captured during the war. The UN has also been involved in trying to create a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in an effort to stop the violence and civilian casualties. This is seen in the drafting of resolution 1860. The UN has also been deeply involved on a humanitarian aspect within the Strip. Many organizations such as the UNOCHA, Red Cross, and UNRWA have worked to improve the lives of people within the strip. People have been provided with basic necessities, such as clean water and shelter. These organizations are largely responsible for the creation of the refugee camps within Gaza, which have saved the lives of millions of people
United Nations Security Council resolution 242
This resolution was adopted on November 22nd 1967, following the culmination of the six days war. The resolution called for the withdrawal of Israel from all territories claimed during the war. Although Israeli presence is still present in Gaza with the border controls, it withdrew from many of the occupied territories. This is an important resolution, as it showed the first steps to a peace between Israel and the Arab states. Israeli officials claimed to be in agreement with the outline of the resolution, and were open to negotiation. The resolution was not received well by the PLO; however, as it claimed that such resolution would vanquish hope for the creation of a Palestinian state.
United Nations Security Council resolution 1860
This resolution was adopted on the 8th of January 2009, with the purpose of enforcing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The resolution was passed with 14 votes in favor and one abstention. This resolution was important as it showed an international effort to end the fighting within the strip, but was largely unsuccessful since both Israel and Hamas continued to fight, even after the passing of the resolution.
Evaluation of previous attempts to solve the issue The UN has tried countless times to establish a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in an effort to stop the fighting and avoid civilian loss of life. These attempts have been largely unsuccessful, as previous resolutions have been “ignored” by both parties, and violence continues to this day. The UN however has been responsible for encouraging many of the peace negotiations between the Arab states and Israel, which has managed to subside some of the violence. On a humanitarian side, the UN has been slightly more successful, as they have managed to create eight large refugee camps to house refugees. Although these camps offer primitive living conditions, they have managed to save countless lives. More than 300,000 people are currently living in these refugee camps. Here they are provided with basic needs such as water, food, shelter, and basic education.
Possible Solutions Delegates should find ways on removing the blockade on Gaza Strip, as the blockade is currently preventing the entrance/exit of vital resources necessary for humanitarian aid and economic growth. By eliminating the blockade and allowing resources to flow in and out of the strip, the economy of Gaza could improve, along with living conditions. In addition, Hamas must be driven out of the strip, as the organization has proven detrimental to the strip. The people will not be safe within Gaza while
Hamas is present. Finally, delegates should look for ways to improve the living conditions of the people living in refugee camps, as it will take time for Gaza to develop.
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