September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Impact of Conflict Minerals

Country: Palestinian Authority
Delegate Name: Ishaan Muchumarri

The issue of conflict minerals plagues the entire global market. Currently, armed militant groups have exploited the natural resources of their environment and the local people present to generate revenue for their own benefit. Though not confined solely to this region, The Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC) is globally infamous for the control armed militant groups exert over the local populaces. In regions such as the DRC, these armed groups can sell conflict minerals at lower than market costs due to not following the same environmental and ethical regulations in acquiring these minerals. In 2008, the largest producer of Tantalum, an Australian mining company known as Talison Minerals, was forced to shut down due to an inability to compete with operations in Central Africa. These armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have profited large amounts in their mining operations, with gold mining alone profiting over $1 billion annually and denying the government vital tax dollars to aid its people. This large source of revenue has facilitated what has been considered some of the deadliest conflicts since WW2 in the DRC. Though a large amount of conflict minerals are mined in the Congo, it must be stressed that this is a global issue, in more ways than one. Locations like Afghanistan, Columbia, and Myanmar have been the targets of armed groups for the minerals to be extracted. On the other hand, conflict minerals are a global issue in that they are crucial components of goods used in many countries across the globe, such as cars, smartphones, jewelry, and more. Many consumers purchase these goods while being unaware of the source of the components, and unknowingly fund the militant groups. Though some previous attempts to stop this have been made, a new solution that alleviates the struggles of affected people needs to be found.

Though lacking any resources that are considered conflict minerals in their territory, the Palestinian people are all too familiar with an unwanted party exploiting the resources of their lands and using them for their economic gain. The State of Israel has, numerous times, exploited the rightful resources and materials of the Palestinian people and done so through its abhorrent regime of occupation and apartheid. With exclusive mining permission from the global community, the company ICL Group Ltd. extracts large amounts of Bromine, Potash, and Magnesium from the Dead Sea in occupied Palestinian territory, denying Palestinians $918 million to their economy annually. Furthermore, Israeli settlers and military personnel have, multiple times, clashed with the Palestinian people to attack Palestinian water supplies, which has resulted in the death of several Palestinians over the years. Lastly, the Israeli government has prohibited the Palestinian people from accessing natural gas and oil in Palestinian lands, denying them a crucial source of income. All this together, Palestinians have been exploited for their resources through violent military oppression and have been barred from sharing in the benefits.

The Palestinian Authority hopes to change the situation in areas where conflict minerals are extracted but is hesitant on any solution that ignores alleviating the issues of the people in question. Though the efforts to ensure ethical sourcing of materials and minerals have limited the ability of these armed groups to function, it has done little to alleviate the people in the affected areas. Any solution to this issue needs to involve acquiring approval from the people acquiring/mining the resources in question. At the bare minimum, a solution should mandate a portion of profits be driven towards the wages of the workers to encourage the armed groups to increase the payment and treatment of the people in these regions.