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STUDY GUIDE

High School Committee


Simulating the General Assembly
Topic: The Israel-Palestine Conflict

Zurich Model United Nations


April 23rd to 26th 2015
Zurich, Switzerland

Vanessa Fabris and Dominic Scherz


Zurich Model United Nations
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Introduction of Chairs and Welcome


Distinguished delegates, we are highly excited to be chairing the High School Committee this year and
are pleased to see so many of you enrol to join us for ZuMUN! We believe that Model United Nations
is an amazing platform to both learn about and discuss contemporary issues from around the globe and
are thrilled to have you on board. In order to help you better prepare for the conference as well as
introduce ourselves, we have put together this short Study Guide, which we hope you will take the time
to read.

The High School Committee will simulate the General Assembly and discuss the Israel/Palestine
conflict. The political issues between Israel and Palestine offer an interesting insight into different
aspects of armed conflict for newcomers to international relations, such as the historical background,
the clashing of cultural heritages, public interests of various states, power games, dependence on
resources and refugee problems. High Schoolers are not expected to understand and consider every
aspect of the conflict, but merely to produce an overview of the most important questions that might
arise and possible solutions these situations.

Vanessa Fabris
My Name is Vanessa Fabris and I am going to be chairing the
committee together with Dominic Scherz. I just completed my
Bachelor of Law and have decided not to do a Masters therein,
as I believe that Law is just too theoretical. Therefore, I am now
taking several classes in economics to improve my knowledge
and skills in Marketing Management. I am also currently
working fulltime as an intern at the Worlds Finest Clubs.
I joined our MUN Team in September 2013 after two years of
studying because I didnt have the courage to do so at the
beginning of my studies. It was definitively a decision I will
never regret! After being the Vice-Head Delegate at
WorldMUN 2014 in Brussels, I was elected as Head of
Fundraising in March 2014. After a couple of months, I became
president of the MUN UZH team. I am very proud of the fact
that our board was able to arrange so many different events and
socials throughout the year such as panel discussions, attendance of four international conferences and
two crisis sessions together with the ETH MUN. I chaired at the JunesMUN 2015 conference in
Lausanne, the biggest national MUN conference, so this will be my second time chairing a committee
at a conference. But I am nevertheless very excited to be your and am very much looking forward to our
committee and all fruitful discussions we are going to have!

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Dominic Scherz
My MUN experience started last year when I started my Minor
in Political Science at the University of Zurich. Struggling at
first with the decision of what to study, after a year of studying
English part time, an internship at a translation agency as well
as a year in Geneva where I picked up Chinese, I had finally
found the right combination for me. Still fascinated by
languages, I am currently in the second year of my Bachelor of
Arts in English and sinology. MUN improves rhetorical and
negotiation skills, but also forms social bonds at a university,
national and international level something I consider as a
vital prerequisite for a successful time in tertiary education.
Nevertheless, I think that MUN should become more
accessible to high school students, which is why I am pleased
to be chairing the High School Committee for ZuMUN 2015
the first international MUN conference in Zurich, hosted both
by MUN UZH and MUN ETH. This is the first MUN conference I will be chairing, so it will be a new
and exciting experience for me! However, I believe I am ready to take up the challenge and I look
forward to meeting all of you!

The General Assembly


The General Assembly combines every member state of the United Nations which count 193 countries
in total. It provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the entire spectrum of international
topics and issues which the UN-Charter covers. The GA is the most deliberative policymaking and
representative organ of the UN and also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and
the codification of international law. The Assembly meets in regular session intensively from September
to December each year, and thereafter as required. The discussed topics are voted at the end of a meeting
whereby the decision require either a two-third majority (grave issues) or a simple majority. Each state
has only one equal vote. Out of the 193 nations represented in the UN, 192 have full membership and
therefore equal voting rights in the General Assembly. Palestine, currently the only state with Observer
Status in the UN, does not have voting rights. This universal membership and equal voting rights is
another reason why the GA symbolizes a unique forum. It is not only a generator of ideas but also a
place of international debates and recommendation of new concepts or/and practices within the organs
of the UN. The United Nations GA is one of the principal organs of the UN and represents the biggest
council of the United Nations.

This massive organ is divided into six different Main Committees, whereby each of these councils has
its own individual task and specific purpose. These include, in numerical order, the Disarmament and
International Security Committee (DISEC); the Economic and Financial Committee (EcoFin); the
Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee (SOCHUM); the Special Political and Decolonization

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Committee (SPECOL); the Administrative and Budgetary Committee and the Legal Committee. They
are mostly referred to either by their number (1st Committee, 2nd Committee etc.) or by their Acronyms
(DISEC, EcoFin etc.). Each of the six Main Committees has to report its work and decisions/reports to
the GA Plenary in order for them to be officially adopted by all Member States. The GA Plenary itself
doesnt release any reports but requests the reports of the others, including those from the Secretary-
General. The main tasks of the General Assembly Plenary are the admission of new UN members and
the election of members to other UN organs.

The General Assembly as a whole was established and constituted in 1946 by the Charter of the United
Nations. According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:
Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of
Member States;
Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United
Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the
Secretary-General;
Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining
international peace and security, including disarmament;
Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or
situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it;
Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the
scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations;
Initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the
development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and
fundamental freedoms, and international collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian,
cultural, educational and health fields;
Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly
relations among nations;
Consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs.

NB: The High School Committee, as a simulation of the General Assembly Plenary, (albeit with less
Member States present!) will be discussing the Israel-Palestine Conflict at its current stage. The
following should give you an introduction to the topic however delegates are strongly encouraged to
do individual research on the topic in order to be fully prepared for this debate!

The Israel Palestine Conflict


The roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lie already in the late 19th and early 20th century. The conflict
was caused by the birth of major nationalist movements among the Jewish as well as among the Arabs
whereby both aimed to create a sovereign state for their people in similar regions in the Middle East. At
that time, there was global nationalist movement going on as people from around the world began to
identify themselves as nations and strive to become independent. Furthermore, members of the Jewish
diaspora (this refers to the Jews that had been exiled from their kingdoms as far back as 733 BC) sought
to create their own state with real borders, rather than being a nation spread around the world. After the

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Second World War, this new movement in which they tried to identify a place where Jews could come
together to form an independent nation grew stronger. The region of Palestine with important religious
sites such as the city of Jerusalem seemed, for many, to be the best location. The Jewish nationalist
movements, also known as Zionist movements, had already started in 1882 with the first mass
immigration of European Jews. Conflict started to boil up in 1947 with the emergence of Palestinian
nationalism which has its roots in the 1920s, and escalated when other Arab states started to get involved.
The conflict developed into a crisis between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis in the region.

After having been under Ottoman rule for many years, the area came under British rule during the 1st
World War, as stated in the Sykes-Pikot Agreement between Britain and France in 1916. The British
planned to divide the territory into a made two parts the Arab state Transjordan (as promised in the
McMahon-Hussein Correspondence in 1915) and the Jewish Palestinian state (as promised in the
Balfour Declaration of 1917). Although several attempts were made to reconcile both sides to implement
this decision such as the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the London Conference (1920) and finally the
San Remo Conference (1920), no agreement was ever lastingly achieved. The Faisal-Weizmann
Agreement, which established the British Mandate and called for a demarcation of the borders for these
areas by a special commission therefore was signed by all parties in 1919 but never implemented. Under
arising conflicts and in the aftermath of World War II, the British government decided to terminate their
mandate in 1947 and referred to United Nations for all matters regarding the future of Palestine. In
reaction to this, the UN formed the United Nations Special Committee on the Status of Palestine
(UNSCOP). This committee deliberated during three months until
finally proposing what became known as the UN Partition Plan to the
UN General Assembly. The proposal recommended a partition with
Economic Union of Mandatory Palestine to follow the termination of
the British Mandate. On 29 November 1947, the U.N. General
Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and
implementation of the Plan as Resolution 181(II). The recommendation
in the resolution included the creation of the independence of the two
states, Israel and Palestine, and an International Regime (Corpus
Separatum) for the city of Jerusalem.

The Partition Plan, a four-part document attached to the resolution,


provided for the termination of the British Mandate, the progressive
withdrawal of British armed forces and the delineation of boundaries
between the two States and Jerusalem. Part I of the Plan stipulated that
the Mandate would be terminated as soon as possible and the United
Kingdom would withdraw no later than 1 August 1948. The new states
would come into existence two months after the withdrawal, but no later
Land in the lighter shade represents
than 1 October 1948. The Plan sought to address the conflicting
territory within the borders of Israel objectives and claims of two competing movements: Arab nationalism
at the conclusion of the 1948 war. in Palestine and Jewish nationalism. The Plan also called for Economic
This land is internationally
recognized as belonging to Israel. Union between the proposed states, and for the protection of religious

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and minority rights. The Plan was accepted by the Jewish public, except for its fringes, and by the Jewish
Agency despite its perceived limitations. Arab leaders and governments rejected the plan of partition in
the resolution and indicated an unwillingness to accept any form of territorial division. Their reason was
that it violated the principles of national self-determination in the UN charter which granted people the
right to decide their own destiny. Immediately after adoption of the Resolution by the General Assembly,
the civil war broke out. The partition plan was not implemented.

In 1967, the Six-Day War broke out in which Israel took the West Bank, Gata Sinai, East Jerusalem and
the Golan. Regarding these threats and invasions, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution
242 sponsored by the United Kingdom. It stressed five different principles: withdrawal of Israeli forces,
peace within secure and recognized boundaries, freedom of navigation, a just settlement of the refugee
problem and security measures including demilitarized zones. The last Security Council action was in
1973 adopting Resolution 338 which called for a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War, which broke out in
1973 and constituted an attempt by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel from
October 6 to 25. With the exception of isolated attacks on Israeli territory on 6 and 9 October, the military
combat actions during the war took place on Arab territory, mostly in the Sinai and the Golan Heights.
Egypt's stated goal for the war was the expelling of the Israeli forces occupying Sinai. In 1974, the UN
General Assembly Resolution 3236 recognised the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,
national independence and sovereignty in Palestine. This was another milestone in the international
realm that officially acknowledged the UNs contact with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO)
and made them the official representative of the Palestine people to the UN, as well as adding the
Question of Palestine to the UN agenda. Even though U.S. action is still preventing Palestine from
becoming an official member state, something the PLO is still fighting for, they were granted Non-
member Observer Status on the 29th of November 2012 by the United Nations Member States. The move
was considered mostly symbolic, and although United States and Israeli Governments strongly contested
this measure, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed support for it.

The first key issue of the Israeli-Palestinian


conflict is the territorial dispute according to
the establishment of the Palestinian State. The
Jewish population have continued to set up
settlements in the West Bank even though the
territory belongs to Palestine. Furthermore,
another key issue concerns the status of East
Jerusalem and whether or not it shall be a part
of Israel or become a part of Palestine.
Secondly, the status of Palestinian people have
been ignored several times and have hence
became another main problem in the conflict.
According to Article 13 of the UN Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has Israeli settlements continue to encroach on what was recognised as
Palestinian Grounds in the Partition Plan
the right to return to their home country of

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origin. The Israeli however didnt give allowance to the Palestinian refugees to return to their country
of origin, as in doing so, they would have lost the majority of their population. A third issue is the
political split in Palestine which led to a division in Palestine itself. The politics have remained divided
between the Hamas, who have control over the Gaza Strip and the Fatah who are in control of the West
Bank. The Hamas are politically inclined towards a peaceful solution whereas the Fatah believe that
Palestinian Arabs need to be liberated by their own actions. Both parties declared themselves as the
legitimated representatives of the Palestinian population. As fourth and final key issue the lack of clean
drinking water in the region can be identified. Israeli are only able to have a one third water consumption
compared to Palestine whereby only 4% are seen as drinking water. 50% are used as agricultural water
and therefore cannot be used as drinking water. The scarcity has become worse over the last years.

The Israel-Palestine conflict, also called as the Question of Palestine, has concerned the UN since the
organizations foundation in 1947. It has remained in their agenda until today and remains highly
controversial. Questions posed by the conflict concern the development of modern statehood, the
necessity of international recognition, the security of state borders as Palestine remains occupied
territory. Moreover, the availability of drinking water is limited in many areas and therefore further
increases tensions between the local populations.

The most important resolutions which have been passed by the UN are the following:
Resolution 181 (Future government of Palestine)
Resolution 242 (aftermath of the Six-Day War)
Resolution 338 (the Yom Kippur War)
Resolution 3236 (Palestinian people's right to self-determination)

Preparation & Position Paper

Preparation
Your task in this committee is to discuss possible solutions in working papers during committee sessions
and build on these in order to form possible draft resolutions, which can then be adopted by the
committee as formal resolutions. You should discuss further steps and recommendations concerning the
ways in which conflict prevention and/or resolution can happen. In order to help you to better understand
the complexity of the conflict at hand as well as the position of the party you are representing, we suggest
you take a look at the Position Paper Guide, which has been sent to your Head Delegate or Teacher.
Resolution Writing Guides will be handed out during the conference. Keep in mind that for a resolution
to be truly effective, it needs to take a pragmatic approach on resolving the long lasting conflict.
Furthermore, we provide you with questions a resolution must answer, in order to structure debate and
define the points a possible resolution should answer.

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Position Paper
As a first preparation, you need to write a position paper! This paper will help you to find out the
position of your country and requires you to do your first round of research. It includes the key points
of your countrys history to the specific topic. You have the task to show to the other delegates in the
committee why your country is affected by the topic to be discussed and what their stand is on the
subject. The most important questions which need to be asked are:

What history does your country have to justifying its opinion?


What actions did your country took in the past to improve the situation?
What are the aims of your country?
What key points for your country shall be addressed within the subject?
What points need to be included in the final resolution?
Did your country sign or release any Resolution of the UN already?

For your position paper try to outline your countrys history and how it has influenced their actions
taken both in the past and in the present. Finally, highlight what points are most relevant for your
country in the future, and what measures it wants to take to improve the situation. Try to include at
least two different Resolutions of the United Nations regarding the discussed topic which your country
has signed in the past. Reading past resolutions also helps you to understand how these are written and
will then aid you later on in committee when you will be writing your own draft resolutions!

Format of the Position Paper


The Position Paper should be:
A4 page long
12pt Font Times New Roman
1.5 line spacing
Simple design (no country flags, large titles, pictures etc.)
At the top, include your Name, Email Address, and Assigned Country, and the school you
go to
If you use literal citations, please provide your sources.
PDF format.

The deadline for the Position Paper to be sent in is set at the 14th of April 2015 at 00.00. Please send it
to the following email address: elsa.lengeler@zumun.ch.

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Bibliography
"A/RES/181(II) of 29 November 1947". United Nations. 1947. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
"A/RES/181(II) of 29 November 1947". United Nations. 1947. William B. Quandt, Paul Jabber,
Part II. Boundaries recommended in UNGA Res 181 Molinaro, Enrico The Holy Places of
Jerusalem in Middle East Peace Agreements, pp. 78
Article "History of Palestine", Encyclopdia Britannica (2002 edition)
The Question of Palestine: Brochure DPI/2517/Rev.1: Chapter 2, The Plan of Partiton and end
of the British Mandate
Ann Mosely Lesch The Politics of Palestinian Nationalism, University of California Press, 1973
p.7.
Benny Morris (2008). 1948: a history of the first Arab-Israeli war. Yale University Press. pp.
66-75.
Sami Hadawi,Bitter Harvest: A Modern History of Palestine, Olive Branch Press, (1989)1991
p.76.
Itzhak Galnoor (1995). The Partition of Palestine: Decision Crossroads in the Zionist
Movement.
SUNY Press. pp. 289. ISBN 978-0-7914-2193-2.
Ernst Nora and de Watteville Edouard (2011), Position Paper for WorldMUN 2011
Disarmament and International Security Committee
ETH Model United Nations (2011), How to write a Position Paper
Moens Vince and von Negenborn Colin (2010), Position Paper for World 2010 Disarmament
and International Security Committee
Oxford International Model united nations (2010), Position Paper Guide

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