September 16, 2019
 In 2023-De-escalation of Sectarian Conflict

Country: Palestinian Authority
Delegate Name: Ishaan Muchumarri

The issue of Sectarian Conflict is one of great gravity and is plagued by significant amounts of struggle. Sectarianism, by definition, refers to any conflict between political, cultural, or religious conflict between two groups and usually involves violence, discrimination, exclusion, and hatred. Though this has been prevalent throughout all of history, like the struggle between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims which has existed from the early days of Islam’s existence to the current day, it has proven to be a serious issue in the modern world. For example, an ongoing conflict between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists in Northern Ireland over whether to remain a part of the United Kingdom or join the Republic of Ireland saw large amounts of violence and police brutality throughout the later 20th century as a result of power being held by mostly Protestant Unionists. This violence ultimately spread into various places beyond Northern Ireland, such as the rest of Ireland, England, and various other locations in Continental Europe. Though this was somewhat resolved in 1998 with a new treaty, over 3,000 lives were lost and tensions remain high between the two groups. This is just one example, and conflicts like this are taking place in every part of the world. In every case, escalation on either side only results in a harsher response from the other side, which in turn prompts further escalation in an endless spiral that yields only death and destruction. For this reason, it is crucial that tensions within Sectarian conflicts be pacified, as it is the only way to ensure a sense of long-term peace and resolution between the two populations.

The Palestinian Authority’s entire existence has been strained due to sectarianism. The State of Israel has subjected the Palestinian people under its occupation to several conditions that have been labeled as apartheid by many NGOs, including Human Rights Watch in April 2021 and Amnesty International in February 2022. In 2003, Israel instituted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which targeted peoples from specifically Middle Eastern countries and the occupied Palestinian territories and limited their ability to acquire citizenship in Israel. Furthermore, the State of Israel has, for years, been pursuing a policy of Hafrada, which argues for the separation of Israeli and Palestinian populations, which has been considered the equivalent of apartheid. This has resulted in multiple actions by the Israeli government that have separated the Palestinian population and limited their ability to move throughout not just the entire territory that Israel controls, but specifically targets areas in the occupied Palestinian territories to protect Israeli settlers. This has come in the form of The Israeli West Bank barrier and the associated controls on the movement of Palestinians posed by West Bank Closures. Speaking of the Israeli settlers, over 800,000 Israeli settlers currently reside in occupied Palestinian territories, and the hostility they have exerted against local Palestinians has taken multiple forms, including but not limited to attacks against Palestinian Water supplies, attacks against Palestinian electrical infrastructure, commitments of arson against Palestinian houses and cars, murders of Palestinians, and much more. Lastly, the Israeli Military itself has committed numerous attacks against Palestinians in occupied territories. On top of also partaking in everything that the settlers have done above, they have also committed crimes against humanity against Palestinians. One example is Israel’s extensive use of white phosphorus munitions during its 22-day military operations in Gaza, from December 27, 2008, to January 18, 2009, named Operation Cast Lead. Though the use of white phosphorous is not entirely banned by international law due to its legal uses, it is banned in the Geneva Conventions from being used against civilian targets. As such, The Israeli government violated the Geneva Conventions when it fired at least three white phosphorus shells at a UN-run school (which was serving as a refuge for 1600 people) on January 17, 2009, and they continued to commit such crimes throughout their operation. Another such example is during the 2018–2019 Gaza border protests when the Israeli military fired at Palestinians and killed 214 civilians, including 46 children. Ultimately, the current one-state situation in the region has caused significant amounts of suffering amongst the Palestinian population, and change is needed desperately.

The Palestinian Authority strongly advises that the United Nations reaffirm Article I of the Charter of the United Nations, which argues for the right of self-determination amongst all people of the globe. Furthermore, new restrictions must be placed on all nations that involve multiple different groups of people living within their borders that mandate all these groups have the ability to take office in these states or that guarantee the rights of the peoples in question to leave and form their own state if they feel the current state is not serving them to the fullest of their abilities.