The establishment of the United Nations (UN) was accompanied by a clear message of keeping peaceful relationships between countries; however, as evidenced by many historical events, the organization has failed to offer solutions for preventing conflicts among countries. Sadly, in some cases, the UN has played a major role in contributing to conflicts. One such case is related to the organization’s efforts of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that remains an issue to this day.
Article 1 from the UN Charter states that the main purpose of the organization is to “maintain international peace and security in conformity with the principles of justice and international law” (Hammond par. 3). Despite this, almost immediately after the Union’s establishment, it has contributed to the exacerbation of the Palestine conflict.
Origin of the UN Intervention
After the Second World War had ended, the emergence of the Israel state was accompanied by several mass protests against it. Refugees from Palestine wanted to go back to their motherland after the 1947-48 war between the Arab and Jewish communities. To this effect, the United Nations created Resolution 194 that granted the refugees to return to Palestine, receiving compensation.
These events were later followed by Resolution 181 that recommended separating the region into the Jerusalem city, the Jewish state of Israel, and, subsequently, the Arab state of Palestine. The establishment of the Israel state (May 14th, 1948) was the beginning of a lengthy struggle between Palestine and Israel, a struggle that has not been resolved to this day (“United Nations Intervention In The Palestine-Israel Conflict Politics” par. 6).
UN’s Efforts to Mediate the Conflict
In its essence, the act of conflict mediation relates to the utilization of political efforts targeted at maintaining the UN principles and providing assistance on managing, preventing, and resolving conflict. About the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the UN’s mediation efforts included the following:
- Proposals to divide the state of Palestine into the Arab and Jewish States (The Resolution 181 Partition Plan).
- Resolution 54 – order to reserve the usage of violence, stating that any violation of peace will trigger subsequent actions from the United Nations. Despite the passing of this resolution, no actions were taken against the breach of the peace.
- 1949 United Nations Truce Consular Commission for Palestine conference in Lausanne that did not arrive at the consensus concerning the boundaries of the Palestine partition. Despite the unsuccessful negotiations, on May 11th, 1949 Israel became a member of the United Nations.
- Security Council Resolution 242 (October 22nd, 1967) was a mediation proposal to terminate the independence claims of all parties involved in the conflict. Jordan, Egypt, and Israel agreed to accept the UN’s proposal, while Syria and Palestine spoke directly against it. Thus, as a result, Resolution 242 was never enforced and remains disputable (Englander 6).
These efforts show that even though many of the mitigation efforts were unsuccessful, the UN should continue to work on its responsibilities by putting forward demands for Israel to carry out its obligations in recognizing the right of Palestine for self-determination (Bishara par. 19).
There has been a controversial question that revolves around the United Nations to this day – why the organization has failed to pass at least one resolution concerning the Israeli-Palestine conflict in more than seven years. As stated by New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully, the UN Council is under threat of becoming a “silent witness to the demise of the two-state solution” (Lazaroff par. 3). Even though the international community expects the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take action in resolving the conflict, there has been no form of action on the part of the Council.
Thus, there is a major risk that the UNSC may take no action towards conflict mitigation, and the proposed two-state solution will not be enforced. When it comes to current actions targeted at conflict mitigation, the two-state solution should be backed up by a supportive and effective political horizon.
In my opinion, the two-state solution of Israel withdrawing from the West Bank and offering Palestine a territory to form its state (CBS News par. 1) is still possible, even though there is a limited amount of time for it. The steps taken for the solution’s implementation are clear, the only thing that is missing is the effort from the entire international community and the UNSC particularly.
First, there should be an assertion made that the two-state solution is the only possible way to end the conflict. Violence should be condoned for both sides of the conflict. Second, the UN Security Council should put the process of negotiation back on the agenda, especially when it comes to boundaries’ establishment. Lastly, the UN should not overlook the importance of other parties’ participation in conflict mitigation. France, the Quartet of the Middle East, and the Arab League can become significant players in pushing the issue of Israeli-Palestine conflict resolution at the international conferences. Furthermore, these parties can create some incentives targeted at providing the regions of Israel and Palestine with security and economic guarantees.
Bishara, Marwan. Palestine & UN: History of a Double Standard. 2011. Web.
CBS News. Time Running Out for a Two-State Solution?. 2009. Web.
Englander, Odelia. Converging for Peace – The United Nations and the Israeli-Palestine Peace Process. 2009. Web.
Hammond, Jeremy. The Role of the U.N. in Creating the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 2013. Web.
Lazaroff, Tovah. Arab-Israeli Conflict. 2016. Web.
United Nations Intervention In The Palestine-Israel Conflict Politics. 2015. Web.