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Dear Delegates_


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Dear Delegates,

        Welcome to the UCLA MUN High School Conference! My name is Nick Wilson and I
am a 3rd year majoring in Political Science. This will be my fourth time as a director for a UCLA
MUN conference, but my first time since high school directing the Security Council. I just took
an awesome class on the Middle East so hopefully I’ll be a resource for you guys if you choose
to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lebanon, or Iran. However, feel free to talk about
whatever you’d like because SC is open agenda. And if you’ve never done Security Council
before, then don’t worry about it. We’ll go over format and all that fun stuff when you get here.

        Well, I think that about covers it for the MUN business in this introduction. Other things
about me… music is slowly becoming my life. Unfortunately, I have little music ability, but I
make up for it by attending a lot of concerts. Just this week, I’m going to two Warped Tour dates
plus a Brand New concert and seeing Say Anything open for Dashboard Confessional. I’m also
trying to watch a lot of movies this summer but Netflix keeps losing everything. I’m going to be
a Resident Assistant here next year (yay for free housing) and work in a student government
office (we like to call it ASB on steroids because they do some similar things, but at UCLA,
there is an $8 million budget to work with. Oh, and we have political parties that hate each other
very much) so if you have any questions about college or whatever feel free to talk to me. I’d
rather everyone come away learning something and with good memories than everyone getting
at each other’s throats just in hopes of walking away with a paper certificate or a cheap gavel (I
was a HS MUNer once, I know it happens).

       If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to e-mail me at
nick.wilson@ucla.edu and I will be more than happy to assist you in any way.

                                             Nick Wilson

                                             Director, Security Council


                           Topic 1: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

I. Background of Topic & UN Involvement

       The gravity and complexity of this enduring conflict need not be explained. While its

history is not always well-understood, its presence is always felt; rarely a week goes by when

some new development doesn’t plague the front page of every newspaper worldwide. This single

issue represents a polarization in the international community and exposes many of the flaws in

the current world community’s efforts to overcome collective action problems.

       The Jewish presence in Palestine can be dated back to the early 1880s. Anti-Semitism

began to grow in Western Europe in the 1880s and 1890s, and a notion began that the only way

for the Jews to solve this problem of maintaining their Jewishness and being a part of greater

society was to return to Israel. In 1984, the highest-ranking officer in the French army Captain

Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly convicted of treason. Theodor Herzel was covering the trial for a

newspaper and noticed a high degree of anti-Semitism in the crowd and it convinced him that

Jews could never be treated fairly in European society. Herzel soon became the great publicist of

modern Zionism. In Eastern Europe, anti-Semitism was even worse and Jews started to leave,

with most going to America but some choosing to go to Palestine. On the eve of World War I,

60,000 Jews lived in Palestine, which constituted less than 10% of the population of Palestine.

       The end of World War I was a critical moment for the Middle East as we know it today.

The Ottoman Empire made the lethal mistake of betting on the Germans in WWI, leading the

British and French to split up the empire following their victory. The region was especially

important for Britain because of their focus on protecting India and the British Navy’s eventual

switch to running on oil. Britain made many contradictory promises to both the Arabs and Jews

concerning the political future of the area, starting during WWI with the Hussein-McMahon
Correspondence. In hopes to start an armed Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, British

High Commissioner in Egypt Sir Henry McMahon seemingly promised to make Palestine an

independent Arab state. At the same time, Britain and France entered a secret agreement called

the Sykes-Picot agreement to split up the Middle East between the two powers. The following

year brought the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in which Britain promised to support a Jewish

“national home” in Palestine. This declaration not only contradicted the Hussein-McMahon

Correspondence, but set the groundwork for a Jewish state. Britain most likely issued this

declaration in hopes of keeping the Russians in the war (many of the political elites in Russia at

the time were Jews) and to get the United States to intensify their war efforts (Britain

overestimated Jewish influence in the US). Just as a British mandate is being established with the

Balfour declaration built in, Arab attacks on Jewish areas of Jerusalem begin. Britain begins to

recognize that they have a problem.

       In the 1920s, Britain made significant improvements to infrastructure in Palestine, Jews

continued to migrate and buy land from absentee land owners at inflated prices, and both Arab

and Jews attempted to lobby other countries and pressure Britain. In 1929, riots and other

outbreaks of violence occurred in Palestine. Britain set-up a commission to investigate what

happened, and the commission concluded that the Arabs were responsible for the riots, but they

were in response to economic fears prompted by the Jews. Violence continued from 1936-1939

during an Arab Rebellion that led to the British fighting the Arabs, therefore appearing to align

more with the Jews.

       The first suggestion for partition dates back to the Peel Commission in 1936. Although

the Jews are offered a rather small area of land, they reluctantly accept the partition. The Arabs

reject the offer because they want all of the land. The Arab Rebellion continues and another
commission decides that partition won’t work. The Arabs begin to flirt with the Germans, and

soon Britain issued the White Paper of 1939 which declared that Palestine would become an

independent state allied with Britain. It would end up being an Arab state because Jewish

immigration was currently strictly limited, and immigration in ten years would require Arab

consent. Jews said they would fight the White Paper because Jews had nowhere to go, and

needed to escape Hitler’s reach.

       The United States was brought into the conflict with the end of World War II and the

Holocaust. Jews couldn’t return home to Poland because they would still be killed, so Truman

sends Harrison to displaced persons camps. The Harrison Report found that most Jews wanted to

go to Palestine and suggested that Britain accept 100,000 Jews into Palestine. The Anglo-

American Committee of Inquiry was established and concluded that 100,000 will be admitted,

but Palestine will be a UN trusteeship with eventual bilateral state with an Arab majority.

Truman at first favors a trusteeship, but Chaim Weizmann, soon to become the first president of

Israel, convinces Truman to back a Jewish state. The next day, the American delegation to the

UN suggests the idea of a trusteeship because they believe Truman is in favor of it. The next

morning, Truman reads this in the newspaper and sends a secret message to Weizmann saying

that he still stands by his promise. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, also referred to as the

Israeli War of Independence, Truman recognized Israel because he felt like he needed to beat the

Russians to it. The Russians later recognized Israel, but with a stronger form of recognition. UN

Representative Bernadotte is sent to mediate the conflict and says that the Negev should go to the

Arabs and that Jerusalem should become an international city. Bernadotte is then assassinated by

the Stern Gang, an extremist Jewish militia, and is replaced by UCLA Alumnus Ralphe Bunche.

Bunche works out an armistice agreement and cease-fire lines are determined.
       In 1967, Egyptian leader Nasser is hurting in Yemen. In attempt to regain some support

in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East, Nasser beings talking about challenging Israel. Israel

begins to get nervous, especially with Syria taking target practice on Israel. Israel responds to

Syria by knocking down seven of their planes. Nasser raises tensions when he orders the UN out

of Egypt. Instead of going to the Security Council, Burmese UN Secretary-General U Thant

generally says, “Do you want all troops out, or just some?” Nasser then announces that he is

blocking Israeli access to the Gulf of Aqaba. Israel reminds US President Lyndon Johnson of the

promise Eisenhower made in 1957 that if the Egyptians ever blocked Israeli shipping, it would

constitute an act of war and America would back Israel. Johnson confirms this promise with

Eisenhower, but is fearful of getting involved because of the Vietnam War. Arab countries begin

pouring soldiers on Israel’s border. There was a general impression that Israel would be

overwhelmed and ultimately destroyed. Israel could not stay mobilized for much longer, so they

destroyed all of Egypt’s planes on a coffee break and ultimately captured Sinai and Gaza from

Egypt, the West Bank and the rest of Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Israel’s victory was more than anyone had imagined, and many Israelis saw it as divine

intervention. The Six Day War showed America and Russia that this was a dangerous game to

play, and both were determined to be more cautious. While Russia was supporting Arabs as well

as Israel, they now only supported Arab states. A result of the Six Day War was the Khartoum

Resolution agreed upon by eight Arab countries. The resolution became known for “the three

no’s:” no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.

       The next few years are anything but quiet. The War of Attrition (or The Forgotten Arab-

Israeli War), Egypts immediate disregard for a cease-fire with Israel, Arafat’s failed attempt to

overthrow King Hussein of Jordan, Syria’s failed invasion of Jordan (failed in part thanks to
Israel’s mobilization of troops to scare of Syria), and Sadat’s rise to power following the death of

Nasser do nothing to calm the tensions in the region. With the Soviet Union’s support, Egypt and

Syria surprise attack Israel in October of 1973. Arabs hoped to catch Israel off-guard by

attacking on Yom Kippur, but this turned out to be a terrible mistake. Israelis were all either in

their homes or synagogues, thus easier to mobilize. It cannot be emphasized enough that the

Soviets play to win while the Americans play for a stalemate. Kissinger does not want an Israeli

win, so he goes to Moscow and leaves with a cease-fire. Israel is upset because they have

suffered casualties and economic hardships for a war started by Syria and Egypt, and now that

they are about to destroy Egypt, Kissinger pulls the rug from underneath them. The Superpower

Cease-fire eventually breaks down, and Arab-Israeli diplomacy now front and center for rest of

decade between the Soviets & the US. The Arab countries impose an oil embargo, pulling the

trigger on the “oil weapon.” OPEC institutes a four-fold increase in oil prices. Following

Kissinger’s initially-successful Shuttle Diplomacy, Nixon resigns, Golda Meir is ousted in

England, Rabin becomes the weak Prime Minister of Israel, and Arafat is elected leader of the

PLO (When visiting the UN Arafat famously said, “I come here with an olive branch in one

hand, and a gun in the other hand.”)

       In 1977, Egyptian President Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel.

Not only did he meet with Prime Minister Menachem Begin, but he also spoke before the

Knesset in hopes of reaching a permanent peace settlement. In the summer of 1978, US President

Jimmy Carter comes up with an idea on a walk to bring Sadat & Begin to Camp David. Both

leaders accepted and came for thirteen days. Sadat broke ranks with other Arab states by making

a separate peace. This led to Egypt’s suspension from the Arab League and Sadat’s eventual

assassination. Unfortunately, misunderstandings occur at the end of the Camp David Accords
and talks being to deteriorate in the months after Camp David. Carter goes to Middle East to

strike a deal. It does not go well at first, and Carter decides to leave because he is disgusted with

Begin. The plane, however, is not ready and is forced to spend the night. Israeli & US officials

talk and have a deal that night. Carter takes the deal to Egypt and it is accepted. Israel withdraws

from Sinai, but Carter makes several mistakes that ruins the hopes of a more lasting peace in the

Middle East.

        Ronald Reagan becomes the first American President to believe that Israel has something

to offer the US. Reagan believed that the Saudis and Israelis should be allies against the

communists. The Reagan Plan envisioned self-government by the Palestinians in association

with Jordan. Israelis were furious because they hadn’t been consulted. It was also bad timing

because this was in the middle of the Lebanon crisis. Hussein and Arafat ultimately couldn’t

agree, and the PLO moved headquarters to Tunis. December 9th, 1987 marked the beginning of

the first Intifada. This brings the Palestinian issue to the forefront and King Hussein opts out by

longer laying claim to the West Bank. In 1988, Arafat was struggling to get control of the

Intifada. Arafat realized he needed to change his approach and slowly began to renounce

terrorism. President Bush said he would deal with the PLO, but wouldn’t go very far because the

Intifada was seen as terrorism. The US didn’t think the PLO denounced the terrorism the right

way, but oil was still seen as more important to the US than buttering up to Israel. The US asked

Israeli Prime Minister Shamir not to retaliate when Saddam Hussein shot missiles at Israel, and

Israel did not retaliate. This is important because Israel had a strict policy to always retaliate.

        A great achievement of the Bush administration was the Madrid Conference in 1991. The

conference was co-chaired by President Bush and Russian President Gorbachev. This marked the

beginning of the Peace Process of the 1990s. Although the bi-lateral talks didn’t really go
anywhere in the Madrid Conference, the multi-lateral talks were seen as successful, coverings

issues ranging from arms control and regional security, economic development, refugees, water,

and the environment.

       The PLO made the mistake of backing Saddam Hussein, thus losing a considerable

amount of aid from the Saudis. The Persian Gulf War spawned what was seen as the impossible:

interest by the Israelis and Palestinians about peace talks. Rabin was worried about the outcome

of Iraq. Missiles were hitting Israel, and what if they were nuclear or biological? Israel also was

keen on making peace with Syria. It had been illegal before for Israelis to talk to the PLO, but

this changed with Shimon Peres. A secret agreement for a five-year process is reached. It

included mutual recognition, limited steps to gain confidence, the Palestinian Authority to be

created under Arafat. Another advancement is made in September of 1993. Rabin and Arafat

sign Oslo on the White House lawn and shake hands. Jordan then becomes the second Arab

country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. In September of 1995, Oslo II is signed and two

months later Rabin is assassinated by a right-wing Jewish radical who opposed Rabin’s signing

of the Oslo Accords. Peres takes over as Prime Minister, but right after he calls for elections,

four suicide bombings occur. This helps Netanyahu barely win the election and later slow down

the peace process further. Also hindering the peace process is the death of King Hussein who

might have been able to smooth things over.

       In July of 2000, with Israeli Prime Minister Barak having problems at home and US

President Clinton soon leaving office, Clinton decides to make one last attempt to make peace.

The Camp David Summit included Barak, Clinton and Arafat. Barak makes lots of concessions,

including conceding half of Jerusalem, most of the West Bank and even agrees to take some

refugees back as long as Arafat says the conflict is over. Arafat ultimately says no and Clinton

blames the Summit’s failure on Arafat.

       Prior to his election as Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon visits the Temple Mount in

September of 2000. Palestinians begin to riot and even the Israeli Chief of Police gets hit in the

head with a rock. Arafat is believed to have intentionally let the violence get out of hand in hopes

of getting more concessions. This marks the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, or the Second

Intifada. Clinton offers parameters for breaking the stalemate, including more territory to the

Palestinians in the West Bank than Barak initially offered. Arafat arguably should have taken

them, but he didn’t because of George W. Bush. Many Palestinians believed that President-elect

George W. Bush would be like his father, thus more sympathetic to the Palestinians than Clinton.

This turns out to be a disastrous mistake because George W. Bush is much less sympathetic than

his father. Bush disengages in the conflict, Sharon is elected Prime Minister of Israel, and the

Intifada accelerates further.

       Following September 11th, Bush became the first president to officially support a

Palestinian state. The Roadmap for peace is proposed by the “quartet”: The United States, the

European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The Roadmap includes three phases:

confidence building measures, a provisional Palestinian state without borders, and final status

negotiations. This leads Arafat to appoint a Prime Minister for the first time. The Roadmap

hasn’t been very successful, and there is speculation as to whether or not the Roadmap is already

dead. Following Arafat’s death, the Bush administration applied a lot of pressure for democratic

elections in the Palestinian territories. The Bush administration was the only ones who wanted

elections, and it eventually blew up in their face. Fair, democratic elections took place, but

Hamas garnered a majority of seats in the legislature. Hamas is considered a terrorist
organization by the United States, and puts the United States in the difficult position of either

continuing its aid to Palestine, which would mean funding a terrorist organization, or appearing

hypocritical by ceasing to give aid because they didn’t like who won after demanding the

election in the first place.

        Here I have attempted to provide a basic history of this ongoing conflict. There have been

many recent developments that the Security Council would be wise to address. I will not attempt

to provide an up-the-minute report of the developments in the region. It is your responsibility to

research Israeli-Hamas relations, Sharon’s closure of the settlements, and the recent conflict in

Lebanon. Good luck and feel free to use resources besides wikipedia.


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