Country: United Kingdom
Delegate Name: Kayla Turner
Country: United Kingdom
Delegate: Kayla Turner
School: Williamston High School
Conflict between the states of Israel and Palestine has lasted for over a century, resulting in bloodshed and loss of life. This May we were reminded of the urgency of this situation when missiles were fired on the Gaza Strip and Tel Aviv, killing an estimated 13 Israelis and at least 119 Palestinians. Among countless others have been injured, and schools, hospitals and housing were destroyed, worsening the already dire humanitarian crisis. The UK condemns this use of violence by Hamas, PIJ and the Israeli government but also understands both parties believed they were justified in providing for protection of their citizens. This event marked the escalation of tensions between the groups after a chain of successively more aggressive retaliatory actions were taken by the groups following the Sheik Jarrah incident. This event, whereby the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, served as the catalyst for May’s conflict. What is especially concerning about this is that said families were awarded this housing by UNRWA, which Israel overridden in its decision to evict. This clearly illustrates a need to resolve misunderstandings in the jurisdiction of the UN in this area. While these events certainly served as catalysts for violence, broader underlying issues are at work to create tension between Israel and Palestine, including: the historical conflicts between the two groups, the geographical separation of Palestinian territory in West Bank and Gaza, the uncertain limitations of Israeli authority, the lack of a single governing entity for Palestine and accommodation of displaced Palestinians. Violence will only continue to escalate if a permanent solution is not reached by the UN.
Possible solutions to this issue have been intensely debated for decades, but attempts to quell the violence have so far been unsuccessful. The 1978 Camp David accords failed in their failure to provide for a self-governing body for the Palestinians. At first it seemed the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords would solve the issue, with both parties signing open negotiations and starting action on those agreements, it too eventually failed. This is due mainly to the lack of support from both Palestinian and Israeli citizens, who believe they were not being fairly provided for the agreements and therefore acts of violence were taken which further degraded relations. Confidential peace talks led by the USA in 2001 under President Clinton and again in 2013 by Secretary John Kerry failed because of their self-imposed deadlines, which prematurely ended diplomatic negotiations between PM Netanyahu and President Abbas. The US and all countries of the UN must take into account a need for long-term, sustainable foreign policy when creating future agreements. It is clear that individual countries have been the primary choice for negotiations over the UN, but this does not necessarily have to continue. In regards to the humanitarian crisis in the area, the UNRWA has been created expressly for this purpose and should continue to do so in the future. The UK provided £3.2 million to the UNRWA Emergency Flash Appeal in May, and is happy to continue providing financial support.
The United Kingdom aims to create a solution which works where past resolutions have failed. Pacifying diplomatic statements alone are not enough, and real international action must be taken if we wish to come to any real agreements. A multi-tiered approach is needed to not only facilitate peace in the present but to create a stable political arrangement in the territory. Firstly, this means more decisive action must be taken by the most influential nations, including answering the question of recognizing Palestine as a sovereign nation. If it is decided that Palestine should become an independent nation, clear diplomatic messages must be sent to the international community such as the admittance of Palestine into the UN as a member state, and the authority to use international mechanisms such as the ICC. Secondly, clear legal boundaries need to be established on the limitations of the Israeli and Palestinian governments’ authorities. This includes not only geographical boundaries but military occupation and the right to occupy land, and most notably the division of Jerusalem. Enforcing these rules must also be considered: the USA, UK and other countries of notable military and economic power must examine possible sanctions which could be imposed if these restrictions are not followed. Thirdly, the rights of Arabs living within Israel territory need to be clearly defined. Let me make clear that the UK will not stand for a partial citizenship and apartheid of peoples living in the Israeli territories and if full citizenship is not granted other measures such as the relocation of populations must be taken. Prevent conflict with early warning systems. Finally, if a two state solution is to be pursued, reasonable discourse between the Palestinian Authority of Hamas and Israeli government must be established and a solid political structure set up for Palestine to function as an independent nation. The UK would be willing to provide aid in order to help a legitimate Palestinian government get underway and provide humanitarian aid for all peoples suffering in the area due to armed conflict and destruction of infrastructure.
The UK wishes to something and acknowledges that compromises must be made in order to achieve relative peace. Despite the deep history the two states have, Israel and Palestine must create a strong diplomatic relationship to facilitate negotiation if there is to be any peace. Although the UK will encourage the UN to consider the sovereignty and rights of Palestinian peoples, it will stand firmly by the sides of its allies and will not take any action which would jeopardize the future of Israel as a state or Jerusalem as a city for all peoples.