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Palestine Israel Conflict

Introduction to the Arab League

The Arab league was first created in 1945. The headquarters are in Cairo, Egypt. The Arab league is made up of 22 countries whose people are either mainly Arabic speaking or where Arabic is the official language. The majority of these countries are in northern Africa or the Middle East, with the exception of Comoros. At the time of its creation the Leagues main agenda items were to free Arab nations under colonial rule and prevent the Jewish community in Palestine from becoming a Jewish state.1 Historically the Arab league has not been very active on the world stage, taking little action except economic sanctions against Israel from 1948-1993. Divisions within the league over religious differencesbetween Sunni and Shia majorities in various nations (see Bloc Positions for more detail), divisions over which Cold War camp nations fell under, and hostilities between traditional monarchies - such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco - and new republics, such as Egypt under Gamal Abdel Nasser, Baathist Syria and Iraq, and Libya under Muammar Gaddafi.2 Recently though, the Arab League has become much more active on the world stage. During the revolts in Libya the Arab league suspended Libya from its membership and asked the United Nations Security Council to look into a no-fly zone. Syrias membership of the Arab League was also suspended in November, 2012 and in addition they adopted sanctions banning the travelling of top Syrian officials and figures to Arab countries as well as freezing their deposits, banning transactions with the Syrian central bank, freezing the financial assets of the Syrian government, halting financial transactions, freezing the funding of projects on Syrian

territory and stopping flights to and from Syria.3

League of Arab States
1 2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/country_profiles/1550797.stm http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Opinion/Article.aspx?id=2552343 http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Opinion/Article.aspx?id=255234

Topic A: Implications of UN general assembly resolution on upgrading the Palestinian status Introduction
On November 30th 2012 the United Nations General Assembly voted in favour of resolution 67/19, recognising Palestine as a non-member observer state with an overwhelming majority of 138 in favour and 9 against. The upgrade of Palestinian UN status provoked mixed reactions, ranging from positive acceptance to doubtful consideration. Some have argued that Palestines new position and possible participation in the International Criminal Court could complicate the issue at hand instead of resolving it. The Palestinian territorial conflict is an issue that has been dealt by the United Nations since the very beginning. This study guide will show the chronology of the issue at hand, examine the key points to be considered and propose possible solutions

Brief Timeline: Palestines bid for statehood

Past and recent developments

1947 The United Nations Partition Plan proposes that Palestine be divided into an Arab and a Jewish state with Jerusalem under special international jurisdiction. The State of Israel is proclaimed within the territory determined in the partition plan. The Arab-Israeli war begins. An armistice agreement creates separation lines between the two states. Israel gains Palestinian territory under this agreement. The West Bank is under Jordanian control while Egypt controls the Gaza strip. The Six Day war breaks out. By the end of it, Israel claims the West Bank and Gaza. Under resolution 3236, the UN GA recognises Palestines right to

self- determination. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation becomes a UN observer. The PLO claims state independence in the occupied territories. Yasser Arafat is the provisional head of state. The Oslo peace accords initiate talks between Israel and the PLO. The Israeli army is ordered to withdraw from parts of the West Bank and Gaza. The Gaza-Jericho agreement gives Palestinians authority over the Jericho area and parts of the Gaza strip. Newly elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calls for talks to establish a Palestinian state. Israel clears all Gaza Strip settlements. The radical Palestinian Hamas movement wins the parliamentary elections. Hamas gains control of Gaza, leaving a government headed by Abbas in charge of the West Bank. Bilateral negotiations are launched and are close to conclusion after a year when Israeli PM Olmert resigns. Benjamin Netanyahu, the new Israeli Prime Minister supports a two-state solution. Talks break down in 2010 over the extension of an agreement to stop construction of West Bank settlements. Abbas asks the UN for full membership for the Palestinian state. The request fails. UNESCO accepts Palestine as a member. The UN GA upgrades Palestine to a non-member state, in effect ratifying Palestinian statehood (Khan, 2012)

2007 (Aug.)

2011 (Oct.) 2012

Arab League involvement

One of the primary occupations of the Arab League has been to deal with the Arab- Israeli conflict. While in later years the members of the Arab League have been more reluctant to militarily support Palestinian land claims, the entire committee fully endorsed Palestines bid for statehood. Shortly before the vote, the Chief of the Arab League stated that It is time for Palestine to be a member state at the UN (Times of Israel, 2012). 1940s: In 1945 the Arab League decided to boycott all Jewish businesses in Palestinian territory. In a wave of solidarity, all Arabs were called upon to refuse to produce, distribute or consume any products made by Jewish businesses. In 1948, the day after the British Mandate was due to expire, the original six members organised a march into the territory in question and through a UN resolution pushed for the creation of a Palestinian state. 1960s: Until the Six Day war in 1967, the territory of Palestine was redistributed among core Arab League members (Egypt, Syria and Jordan). Under an Arab League initiative in 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was formed. Despite the support shown towards Palestine by the Arab League members, the creation of the PLO was criticised as an excuse to attack Israel. It has been implied that the Arab Leagues support at the time was aimed towards destroying Israel

rather than improving the situation of Palestine. The council formally recognised the State of Palestine in 1988 when it was proclaimed by the Palestinian National Council. 2000s: Saudi Arabia proposed a return to the 1949 Armistice line as a solution to the issue. While fully backed by the entire League of Arab States, suicide attacks attributed to Palestinians undermined the implementation of the Saudi proposal. In 2007, for the first time, the Israeli government held a meeting with an official Arab League delegation. Despite its support throughout the years, there have been issues between the Arab league members and Palestine. Jordan in particular experienced a large influx of refugees as Palestinian land diminished. The occurrence of the Arab Spring, and its effect on a number of Arab League members (Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria) has also affected how the League has dealt with the issue. Since a number of its members are experiencing radical and sometimes violent changes of government, they can devote fewer resources to the support Palestinian claims.
Current territory of Palestine: the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

League of Arab States

Key Facts Poverty in the West Bank: 16% Poverty in Gaza Strip: 33% 522 Israeli checkpoints stopping Palestinian movement. planned to be 708 km long. 38% of the West Bank is off limits to Palestinians

Palestinian GDP per capita (2010): $1,827 The West Bank separation wall is 630 km2 in Gaza and 5.460 km2 in the West Bank are occupied by Israel. Israeli settlers in Palestinian territory: 450,000

Key Definitions
Non-member observer state: Such states are recognised as sovereign states and can participate in the UN General Assembly. They do not have the right to vote on resolutions. Other than Palestine, the Holy See (Vatican) is also an Observer state. Observer states are allowed to become members of international organisations and international conventions. They can also hold hearings in

the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court. As a state, Palestine would be entitled to certain international law rights: immunity of the state, protection from use of force from other states, right of self-defence, plenary jurisdiction over its territory, membership in intergovernmental organisations, and the capacity to form treaties (Cerone, 2012). The upgraded status does not change the participation rights that Palestine enjoyed previously in the UN. However it symbolically emphasizes that the majority of the General Assembly recognise Palestine as a sovereign state. Occupation: when a foreign military force exercises complete or partial military control and civil- administrative control over the governance of a territory (+972 Resources, 2012). Despite the Oslo agreement, Israel still holds governing powers of the territory of the West Bank. The Israeli government have full control of Area C, Jerusalem as well as all water sources and control of the airspace and border crossings of the region.

Key Issues
o Possible participation in the International Criminal Court and other UN organisations One of the greatest implications of this upgrade involves possible changes in Palestines position within the ICC. As a state, Palestine has the right to allow the ICC to impose its rulings over crimes committed on Palestinian territory, particularly forcing Israel to respect the human rights of its citizens. However, there are legal ambiguities in place. It may be argued that Palestinian requests and declarations towards the ICC and ICJ may not be valid since they were submitted before the attainment of observer status. Although neutral international entities, both courts are subject to political pressure from both the supporters and enemies of the Palestinian territorial bid and any decision pertaining to the issue is likely to be criticised and disputed. So observer status does not solve all problems. The United States has argued that precisely because of this issue, reaching a feasible and peaceful solution between Israel and Palestine will be even harder than before.

o The Israeli settlements One of the critical issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict concerns settlements: the construction of small Israeli settlements within Palestinian territory in the West Bank. While not always government initiated, these settlements are based on the assumption that the Oslo accords did not disallow the presence of settlements in the area, and that the Palestinians entered into the Accords with full knowledge of these settlements. Despite repeated calls from international organisations to stop the increase in the number of these settlements, Palestinian territory is increasingly cut away with each chunk of land occupied by Israeli residents. Should Palestine become a party of the ICC, then the issue of settlements would be under the jurisdiction of international criminal law which states that such an occurrence is essentially a war crime. Therefore, Palestines new status might enable the creation of an effective solution concerning these settlements. o A two state solution with three governments involved (reconciliation with Hamas) Regardless of the recent change in UN status, and the numerous bilateral negotiations that have taken place one important issue still remains: that Palestine does not have one united government but rather two opposing governments: Hamas in Gaza and a Fatah-led in the West Bank. In 2011, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal and President Abbas signed an agreement of reconciliation, promising to cooperate and create a unified government to face Israeli occupation. However the Arab Spring led to more division since Hamas radicalism became popular. Previously to this agreement, the division was so deep that Gaza Strip residents did not identify with Palestinians in the West Bank and resented their acceptance of diplomatic solutions rather than military ones. This is a major problem. For Palestine to exist as a proper state, it needs to reconcile this deep political division. Both parties need to agree on a general approach. A two state solution cannot be reached when three governments are involved. The committee must take these key issues into account in order to produce a complete resolution on the topic.

+972Resources. 2012, Q&A: Implications of the recognition of Palestinian statehood. 972


Anonymous, 2012. U.N. Grants Palestine Status of Nonmember Observer State. The New York Times, Jan. 4. [Available from: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/pa lestinian_authority /index.html].

BBC, 2012, Palestinians win upgraded UN status by wide margin. BBC, November 30. [Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20550864].

Cerone, J., 2012, Legal Implications of the UN General Assembly Vote to Accord Palestine the Status of Observer State. American Society of International Law Insights, 16(37). [Available from: http://www.asil.org/insights121208.cfm].

Khan, F., 2012, Timeline of Palestinian bid for statehood. AAJ News, November 29, [Available

from: http://www.aaj.tv/2012/11/timeline-of-palestinian-bid-forstatehood/].

Parsons, D., 2011, Understanding the PAs unilateral bid for recognition. International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. [Available from: http://int.icej.org/legal-implicationspalestinian-statehood]. Resources: UN-The question of Palestine: http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/home.htm UN- Resolution 67/19: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_resolution_ 67/19#Reactions

Israel, Palestine and the United Nations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel,_Palestine,_and_the_United_Nations#Issu es

Arab League and the Arab Israeli conflict: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_League_and_the_Arab%E2%80%93Israel i_conflict