Israeli-Palestine Conflict


Diego Hughes


Julia Oliva

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Although it is commonly believed that the Israeli-Palestine conflict has roots extending back to centuries, it is a rather recent issue. Tracing back to the early 20th Century, the conflict between the two states has been the setting of multiple violent acts from both sides. Since the year 2000, more than 10,000 have died, 9,000 of them being Palestinians. In certain occasions, the conflict has even turned into humanitarian crises, as the Israeli government imposes incredible sanctions upon the Palestine people The urgency of the matter has come to the attention of the U.N multiple times, but all attempts, either by international organizations or individual national efforts, have failed to achieve a multilateral peace agreement. 

In the early 1900s, the Ottoman Empire ruled over the current Israeli Peninsula and Palestine. The demographics of the era demonstrated a high Muslim concentration compared to the Christian and Jewish populations. After WWI and the disbandment of the Ottoman Empire, the British established a colony in Palestine with the objective of maintaining control until the Palestinians could govern themselves. Once this colony was established, Jewish people from around the world started to migrate towards Palestine due to the holiness of the territory. The Jewish population went from being a minority to constituting almost 30% of all people in the new colony. Once the Palestinians tried to take control of what was their own territory, the Israelis sided with the British and oppressed them, widening the tension between both groups. Once WWII concluded, the Jewish population in Palestine increased dramatically, and the responsibility of the issue was handed to the newly-created United Nations. The first U.N proposal was called the “Palestine Partition”, which consisted of dividing the Palestinian territory into two roughly equal territories, one for the Jewish and one for the Arabs. This proposal did not last long and, a year after its submission, the Israeli-Arab war broke out. The first major conflict between the two groups ended with an Israeli victory and armistice, where Israeli gained control over ⅓ of what was supposed to be Palestinian Land.

The Palestinians became a stateless nation as a consequence of Israel taking control of their territory along Jordan and Egypt. Almost one million Palestinians were forced to flee their homes and become refugees in neighboring countries. This situation remained as the status quo until 1967, when the “Six-Day War'' broke out between Israel and neighboring Arab nations. Once again, Israel won and took over even more land that was rightfully not theirs, according to U.N law, but held significant importance to the Jewish people. The conflict slowly became less of an Arab-Jewish conflict and morphed into a Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Shortly after, the PLO --led by Yassir Arafat-- was created. The Palestinian Liberation Organization strived to reclaim their land through peaceful methods, although they sometimes sponsored acts of terror against Israel. As a response, Israelis began illegally settling in Palestinian territory in order to hold control of even more land. To this day, there are almost 350,000 Israeli settlers that are illegally living on territories of the West Bank. In the 1980s the Palestinian patience ran out and the “First Intifada” began. These series of protests ultimately culminated in violent repression by the Israeli military forces. As years passed on, the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians only escalated. Since the First Intifada, Hamas (an ultra-nationalist Palestinian militant organization that operates from the Gaza strip) have committed terror acts in the name of defense from Israeli oppression. Both sides justify their actions by claiming to respond to the other’s provocation. Israel has even built walls surrounding Palestinian populations, depriving them of vital supplies and causing humanitarian crises within Palestinian territory. Thousands of Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli forces, and some Israeli have died due to ultra-nationalist terrorist attacks. 

The United Nations Security Council, supported by the delegations of numerous nations, have repeatedly attempted to reach peace between both sides of the conflict. The U.N’s closest attempt to reaching peace came with one specific resolution (see U.N Resolution 242) but did not get implemented. U.S Presidents James Carter and Bill Clinton both held monumental peace talks that have resulted in the proposal of viable ideas but not their proper implementation (see Camp David Talks and Oslo Accord). 

It is in the United Nations Security Council’s best interest to peacefully resolve this long-lasting conflict. The interests of both groups are to be respected at all times, as both claim sovereignty over the overlapping territory. The U.N acknowledges the complexity of the issue at hand and encourages all delegations to work together in order to achieve this committee's purpose... peace. 

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