BMUN XIV – SPECPOL

The question of settler colonialism in Palestine (SPECPOL)

 

Welcome from your Chairs:

Hello delegates! We are very excited to be chairing in this year’s BMUN. I’m Mimi, your head chair, and I go to Benenden and have been attending MUN for a while. I study History, Politics, and Philosophy. I’m also hoping to study Politics and an MFL at uni.

My co-chair Zahra is in the lower sixth and this is her first year at Benenden, though she has participated in MUN before. Something about her is that she enjoys pineapple on pizza… it’s questionable, but hey! We hope to have some fruitful, open-minded debates in SPECPOL this year. We would like to remind you all to try and remain objective during debates. Remember, you are representing the government of your country and not your personal opinions!

 

Introduction to the Committee

The United Nation’s General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, SPECPOL (or the Special Political and Decolonization Committee) is one of the main committees in the UN’s general assemblies. It explores a broad range of decolonisation-related issues. Regarding the Palestine-Israeli struggle, SPECPOL assesses the impacts and effectiveness of relief agencies for Palestinian Refugees such as UNURWA and considers how Israeli settlement activities are affecting the rights of Palestinians and other Arab nations around the territory. The primary issues to crop up in SPECPOL are decolonisation and the Middle East.

 

History of the topic

May 15th marks the day the Palestinian Nakba – Arabic for “catastrophe”- occurred in 1948. More than 700,000 Palestinians were forcefully removed from their homes by the Israeli government after years of encouraged Israeli immigration into the country by the Jewish state.

The Palestinian struggle did not start or end with this date, but it determined the people’s future of occupation and displacement. 73 years have passed since the Nakba, but it remains a crucial part of Palestinian and Israeli identity. During the beginning of 2021, the Israeli court upheld eviction orders to force sixteen Palestinian families from their homes in the villages of Sheik Jarrah and Silwan. Most of these families have lived in their homes for decades as owners or long-term tenants. Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory stated that, “The eviction orders are not random but appear to be strategically focused on an area in East Jerusalem known as the Historic Basin. They [the Israeli government] seem to be aimed at clearing the way for the establishment of more illegal Israeli settlements in the area and physically segregating and fragmenting East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.” Following the forced evictions, protests erupted within and outside the country. Photos were spread across the web showing the arrests of Palestinian activists, residents, and journalist protesting in the affected villages. Eventually, this led to further conflict between the Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas, a Palestinian militant organisation. Many citizens were killed, and it left devastating effects on the communities. Later, a ceasefire was announced, and more than 90 protests were held in the US in support of Palestine and the martyrs killed during the attacks.

 

Considerations for debate

When researching on your county’s opinions on the matter, we highly recommend that you consider the different perspectives of the issue. This includes, but is not limited to, geographical (e.g., territory and borders), political (governmental, political, fiscal, and religious relationships), and wealth-related perspectives.

Other issues to consider would be, the Israeli settlements and their current plans for expansion, the autonomy and individual rights of a country or community, religion, and fundamentalism (Jewish and Islamic), history, governance, and possible solutions.

 

 

Countries that support Palestine:

(Includes but is not limited to)

 

Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen

 

Countries that support Israel:

(Includes but is not limited to)

The USA, the UK, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan, Morocco, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece.

 

Recommendations to delegates (e.g., research tips)

Since the issue of settler colonialism in Palestine is very multifaceted, there are many aspects to consider such as the suggested solutions.

  1. A two-state solution, https://www.vox.com/2018/11/20/18080094/what-are-the-two-state-solution-and-the-one-state-solution
  2. Administrative areas. This was established after the Oslo accords (1993-1995) were signed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Israeli government. This established the PA (Palestinian Authority) who were granted limited powers of governance in areas A and B, while Israel was administers area C (see image below). The issue about this is that area C coveres 60% of the West Bank and Israel’s military had control over the entirety of the West Bank. Since then, Israel have continued to expand their settlement in occupied Palestinian territories, though it is regarded as illegal under international law.
  3. Should Palestine be recognised by the EU? For years, the EU has been divided on the subject of recognising Palestine internationally. In the UN General Assembly, there was a vote of 67/19 to recognise Palestine as a non-member observer state. Many European states have claimed to being on their way to recognising Palestine. This promise has been a modest one, and most states seemed to depend on France’s own response which, when it was announced, was in favour of Israel. The first EU member to recognise Palestine wasSweden in 2014. This decision was not tolerated by Israel, as they sent out a harsh response Sweden, possibly in hopes of deterring other European states from recognising Palestine as well. In the Berlin Declaration of 1999, the EU had expressed its “readiness to consider the recognition of a Palestinian State in due course”. However, in 2010, nearly a decade later, the EU’s promptness to recognise Palestine was downgraded to “when appropriate” (AlJazeera).

  1. The UN partition plan from Resolution 181. On November the 29th, 1947, a resolution was called by the United Nations General Assembly to partition the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish and Arab state, with 33 countries voting in favour, 13 countries against, and 10 countries abstaining. The Jewish community in Palestine considered the resolution to be a crucial part of the establishment of Israel, but it was rejected by the Arab community. Since the beginning of British administration in Palestine in 1922, Jewish immigration into the region increased, and the tensions between Arabs and Jews had grown (Britannica).
  2. Palestinian administration or the Palestinian National Authority
  3. Ending settlements beyond the walls
  4. Alleviating restrictions on movement and access

 

Further reading & Bibliography:

Video explaining the history of the conflict: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRYZjOuUnlU

 

Background to the conflict: https://www.britannica.com/event/Arab-Israeli-wars

 

Lots of peace treaties have been proposed and signed…

UAE-Israel peace treaty – Bahrain was involved too (2020) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-53805828

Egypt-Israel peace treaty – Camp David accords (1979) https://www.britannica.com/event/Camp-David-Accords

Jordan-Israel peace treaty (1994) https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/10/23/25-years-on-remembering-the-path-to-peace-for-jordan-and-israel/

Middle-Eastern nations on the conflict: https://www.vox.com/2018/11/20/18080074/israeli-palestinian-conflict-saudi-arabia-iran-turkey-egypt-jordan-syria-lebanon