MEPC 2017 Abstracts

1. Prehistoric Arab-Israel Conflicts and Myriad Factors: A Critique to the Contrivances of Optimistic Conflict Resolution,
Mr. Nazmul Islam

Prehistoric facts are often seen as the truth, or regimes of truth, that can be easily established by a combination of power and perceived knowledge. This suggests that the perceived roots of conflict and terrorism are often enshrined in subjective historical realities, established through relative facts and the construction of the regimes of truth. This article has been connoted in five major offshoots.
Firstly, this section describes prehistoric conditions from three religious points of view (Jews, Muslims and Christians) which have been concocted to modern political doctrines (Zionism, Palestinianism, Pan-Arabism etc.) in the construction of conflict. Arab people involved in the war on behalf of Palestinians because of having envisioned pan-Arabism near the greater Syria.
Secondly, this section deals with the four major Arab-Israel wars in 1947, 1956, 1967 and 1973 in the Middle East. Israel has become independent country following the 1st Arab-Israel war and Palestinian established PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964). United Nations has passed resolutions on the solution to the conflict for several times as dominant peace treaties were signed such Camp David treaty in 1978 following those UN Resolutions .Israel attacked in Lebanon and Iraq in 1982 following their ‘pre-emptive and pro-active policy’.
Thirdly, this section deals with the processes of the declaration of war of independence by Palestinians through the Intifada (mass uprising) in 1987 and 2001 under the leadership of Hamas (a political organization). In the mid time of these two mass uprising, there were signed peace treaty such as Oslo accord in 1993, Wye River treaty in 1998, Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandums in 1999 and The Roadmap for Peace in 2003 as efforts to resolve the conflict following dominant UN Resolution 242 and 339 particularly.
Fourthly, this section deals with major factors of war eruption in 2014 between Israel and Palestine following previous political complexities.
Fifthly, several kinds of optimistic solutions have been proposed in resolving this conflict which may conducive to both countries.

2. The Two-State Solution is Dead, Long Live the Two-State Solution,
Dr. Allison Hodgkins

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, issued December 23 2016, codified the growing concern on the part of the Quartet members that Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank was eroding the viability of a two state solution. As referenced in the text of the resolution, the construction of settlements over the 1949 armistice lines is both a violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power and in contradiction to UN Security Council Resolution 242, which establishes those lines as the basis for a negotiated settlement between the parties to the conflict.
While the resolution was welcomed as an important affirmation of those principles, this article questions whether the quest for peace and Palestinian self-determination might be better served by recognizing Israeli settlement as a fait accompli and crafting a new process based on the terms of settlement outlined in UN General Assembly Resolution 181. Unlike UN security council resolution 242, which is premised on the territorial integrity of sovereign states, the 1947 “partition plan” was based on the assumption that the conflict could only be resolved by assuring both parties meaningful exercise of self-determination within the boundaries of Mandatory Palestine.
The terms of the 1947 partition plan, which incorporate the findings of the UN Special Commission on Palestine and earlier efforts like the 1937 Peel commission, focus less on the establishment of borders and more on the mechanisms of government, modalities of cooperation and protections for minority rights that would follow the independence of two sovereign, but interdependent states.
This paper argues that a return to those principles would liberate the peace process from the zero-sum terms outlined in UN security council resolution 242 and acknowledge the source of the conflict is the competition between rival identity groups within what would be effectively recognized as a single, binational state.

3. Creating a Two-State Reality: Towards a Hybrid Strategy
Mr. James Sorene & Professor Alan Johnson

The paper – based on a series of confidential, track-two dialogues between current and former Israeli and Palestinian officials and academics which took place in London under the auspices of BICOM – will (a) map the factors leading to the erosion of the classic bilateral paradigm of a negotiated two state solution, (b) map the three main alternative approaches to moving forwards towards a two state reality – a regional framework, constructive unilateralism, and Israeli-Palestinian confederation – and (c) claim that a new ‘hybrid’ strategy, drawing creatively and strategically upon all four strategies is now the most likely way to make progress.
A variety of reasons for the weakening the relevance of the paradigm of bilateral negotiations are explored. These include Israeli political paralysis and the strengthening of the right-wing, the institutional weakness and geographical and ideological divisions among the Palestinians, and the absence of trust compounded by numerous failed negotiations processes. Moreover, continuing regional chaos, a new American administration likely to prioritise other domestic, regional and global issues, and the EU beset by domestic challenges, suggests no significant external intervention is anticipated in the short term.
The paper will argue that returning to the classic bilateral negotiation model without prior agreement on parameters is not worthwhile. ‘One more heave’ won’t do. However, the paper’s central claim is that there is potential for a ‘hybrid’ model which draws creatively upon components from four models of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking: bilateral negotiations focused on agreed parameters; a regional framework; constructive unilateralism; and Israeli-Palestinian confederation.
Such a model would involve a regional framework for a peace process composed of a strategically creative deployment of genuinely constructive, and sometimes coordinated, unilateralism, and bilateral negotiations that move from framework agreements through incremental implementation to final status talks.
The advantage of such a model lies in its combination of designing a political horizon or endpoint while harnessing the flexibility of constructive unilateralism, which might begin on a small-scale. Moving away from sequential to parallel incentives, as the Arab League has recently done in the Arab Peace Initiative, and shedding the mantra of ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, would also introduce more flexibility into the process. Moreover, seemingly radical proposals found within the confederative model – such as allowing some Israeli settlers to remain in a Palestinian state with a similar number of Palestinian refugees residing in Israel – may also form part of this model, helping to resolve some hitherto intractable core issues.
Several difficulties of a ‘hybrid’ strategy are anticipated and addressed.

4. Primary responsibility for maintaining peace: the UN Security Council’s power to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Dr. Miguel Manero

Debate on the Middle East peace process has traditionally been focused on the need for a negotiated solution based upon the agreement of both Israel and Palestine. Although a consensual way out is desirable, facts on the ground make it more and more difficult to materialize.
This paper explores the possibility of a non-negotiated solution imposed by the Security Council (SC). This would mainly consist of a demarcation by the SC of the border between the two. For this purpose, the SC should take the stances of both Palestine and Israel and the rules of international law on the issue of territorial disputes into account. However, it should be mainly guided by what is the demarcation that better serves the interests of peace, even if that is contrary to the interests of one or both parties or to the rules of international law on the issue.
The power of the SC to act against or beyond international law rules is increasingly acknowledged. There is a strong argument that the SC has been over the decades not merely “messing up” with treaty law but also with customary international law. In addition, it has become increasingly clear that SC decisions bind every actor of the international order, irrespective of their membership in the UN. This is in accord with article 2 (7): although ‘[n]othing in the […] Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state […] this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII’. It is also in tune with article 2 (6): ‘[t]he Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security’. These provisions are ‘a consequence of the fact that the purpose of the United Nations […] is not only to maintain peace within the Organisation but within the whole international community’.
A territorial dispute is normally not only a matter that does not lie within the sovereignty of any one single state but is also a situation that very rapidly can turn into a threat to peace. This explains why the SC has already in the past determined proprio motu the boundary between two states in the case of Iraq-Kuwait. Resolution 687 (1991) therefore serves as a good example of what should be the main features of a resolution on the Israel-Palestine issue.
The bottom-line argument is that there is no inherent reason which prevents the SC – in the face of a threat to peace arising from the Israeli-Palestinian problem – to settle a permanent border between the two, impose that settlement on all state and non-state actors alike and try to deal away with the problem for good. The contention can actually be put forward that this threat already exists. Thus, the Charter’s procedural conditions for the SC to immediately act have already been met.

5. Can conflict-management be effective in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict? The inaccurate comparison with the issue of occupation and division of Cyprus
Dr. Themistoklis Tzimas

In the post- Oslo peace accords era, especially following Yassir Arafat’s death on the one hand and the hegemonic right- wing shift in internal Israeli politics on the other hand, a “conflict- management” approach instead of conflict resolution is prevalent. The question is whether the conflict management approach might be proven suitable, possibly under different political conditions in Israel or is inherently inefficient to provide a viable solution.
In order to answer this question it is useful to examine comparatively a different case of division and occupation which has been dealt in the framework of conflict management, namely that of Cyprus. While the conflict in Cyprus has not been resolved, it remains frozen for the past 43 years, with a very small number of violent incidents. On such a basis it could be argued that the “freezing” of a conflict or in other words the conflict management approach might be more suitable, in order to gain time until tension eases.
In principle that could be an efficient approach for the Israeli- Palestinian conflict as well. However, the inherent and structural dynamics within and around the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, contrary to the issue of Cyprus, rule out such an option as viable. Conflict management can be suitable in cases where a minimum of security on the ground is guaranteed for all sides, the regional framework influencing the conflict discourages violent confrontation, the balance of power is not too disproprtionate in favor of one side and the grievances between the populations involved have eased. Therefore when in terms of international relations, existing polities, balance of power and mass psychology, the motive not to resort to violent confrontation overweights the contradictory tendency.
In the case of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict though, none of these conditions is present. The Palestinian populations do not enjoy practically any security guarantees, given the continuing occupation; the balance of power leans disproportionally in favor of Israel; public grievances between the two populations are high and even further the regional framework is dominated by a violent process of regime and state- borders change.
Therefore, structurally and inherently, the conflict- management approach towards the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is deemed to fail. Even worse what appears as conflict- management is in fact an one- sided and in violation of international law and Oslo accords, conflict resolution process, through the de facto expansion of the Israeli state and the destruction of all possibilities for a viable Palestinian state. This condition has become fundamental of Israeli state policy, leading inevitably to escalating confrontation.
In order to reach my conclusion I will analyze comparatively the cases of Cyprus and Palestine, identifying differences and similarities. I will extract some general remarks concerning when conflict management can be succesful and I will then apply them to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. I will conclude with some remarks concerning

6. The Prospects for the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: The Role of the Wider Region
Dr. Parshuram Sial

The Middle East in the past five years has been in instability and political change. The “Most Dangerous and Complicated Region on Earth”, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s need of the hour is a peaceful settlement. This endless conflict can be replaced by a peaceful future. The hopes of Arab Spring have been replaced by the Syrian civil war, problems in Iraq, the failure of the Lebanese state, anarchy in Libya and Yemen and recently the rise of the deadly Islamic State. The dilemma of Israeli policy is how to deal with the Syrian crisis, where the major threat from Islamic State is based. Jordan is also pressurizing Israel to accept Palestinian statehood. Now, Israel’s the most important policy dilemma is how to deal with Syrian crisis.
Trump’s proposal is for Jerusalem to be recognized as Israel’s capital and prepare for structural changes in Middle East policies. However, his immigration order to seven Muslim countries can affect the Middle East peace process. Another important factor is Iran’s support of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad which has turned into Israel-Palestinian conflict. As of now, the Iran and Syrian support to Hamas is disrupted due to Syrian civil war. Israel is also facing the problem of Palestine issue, national security challenges and hostility from a large part of the Arab and Muslim world. Israel has to deal with Hizballah and Hamas as a potential future conflict. Mohamad Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority oppose resorting of armed conflict. There are also prospects of uprising of Hamas and groups closer to Fatah to launch a military action against Israel. The regional challenges and opportunities are that Israel has limited choice at regional level. As Erdogan is interested in trade and economic relations, it has little prospect of improving relations with Israel. There is a concern that rises of jihadist current in regional politics. Israel and Sisi’s Egypt have also common interest in the Sinai Peninsula and in the Gaza Strip. Iran’s support to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad is significant for Israel and Palestinian conflict. Turkey has also political and diplomatic support to Hamas. The Iranian and Syria’s support to Hama has been disrupted due to Syrian civil war. The two successful peace accords Camp David and Oslo accord to be followed for bringing peace. By this way, the vision of “Two State Solution” can become reality. The proactive involvement of Arab States can give crucial ladder. The lack of internal consensus between two major Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah becomes challenging for peace process. Israel also do not trust Palestinians and are not willing to make any concession because security is most important issue to them as threat posed by Hamas on Israel civilians.

7. A Third Way: One Homeland, Two States
Dr. Yossef Rapoport

The UN’s resolution 2334  has confirmed the gaping hole between the consensus of the international community and the realities on the ground.  On the one hand, the resolution sanctifies the legal and international framework for future settlement as two states based on the 1967 borders.  This strengthens the Palestinian leadership’s adhesion to a national struggle, while the option of a human rights struggle that many have hoped for has been significantly weakened. The resolution is also quite explicit in rejecting the tactic of acquiring territory by settlement. Netanyahu’s dream of sharing the West Bank with a puppet Palestinian state suffered what may be a terminal blow.
So much for what has happened in the realm of international law, agreements and the future of negotiations. The realities on the ground, on the other hand, are very much becoming those of a single polity. The number of settlers increases by the day, and the political impossibility  of evacuating even the tiniest of settlements is now a basic constraint to any solution. With or without formal annexation of some areas of the West Bank, the Israeli government is purposefully tying the economies of the West Bank and Israel’s in ways that have not been seen since the 1980s.
“Two States One Homeland” is an Israeli and Palestinian civil society group that believes that it has a solution to this apparently impossible puzzle. Here is the vision in all its simplicity: the local reality is of a single Homeland – that is, an organised, coherent and cherished geographic entity. But there is nothing about a State that says that two of them cannot simultaneously occupy a single Homeland. Two sovereign states could still recognise the right of citizens of Palestine, including current refugees, to reside in Israel and the right of citizens of Israel, including the current settlers, to reside in what would become the Palestinian state. The states will be separate, but will also be deeply interdependent, and the intensity of the interdependence will require many joint political, legal and economic institutions.
Two States One Homeland tries to bridge the gap between the international commitment to two states and the mixed demographic and economic realities.  There will have to be two states based on the 1967 borders. This is, and will be, the only game in town as far as the international community is concerned.  But both states would have mixed demographic structures, a shared, undivided capital city, and they would recognise their tight economic and environmental interdependence.  In effect, open borders are a practical necessity for any implementation of the two state solution.
Two States One Homeland not only offers a truly pragmatic approach to the material and demographic aspects of partitioning an indivisible land, but also recognises  that the land is both shared and plural. This vision does not absolve Israel of moral blame and legal responsibility. But, fundamentally, long term reconciliation can only come through ensuring the equality of all those who live on the land, as well as recognition of both collective national aspirations within the territory.

8. A Federal Solution for Israel/Palestine: the Belgian Model
Mr. Karel Reybrouk

In Belgium, federalism is seen as an institutional way to pacify the lingering conflict between the country’s two main communities, the Flemings (Dutch-speaking) and the French-speaking. Don’t be mistaken, even though the Belgian conflict has a nonviolent nature, a permanent climate of polarization between the culturally and linguistically different groups exists. In 1970, grave tensions between Flemings and French-speaking led to the demise of the unitary state of Belgium and the creation of a federal state. A combination of self-rule (regional government) and shared rule (federal government) proved the right recipe to sufficiently pacify intercommunity relations to prevent violence and bloodshed. The Belgian model of federalism is asymmetric i.e. often multiple federated entities exercise competences over a same territory. In bilingual Brussels for example, not only the federal government, but also the Flemish and the Frenchspeaking community are competent to build schools.
Of course the grave inequality between the deeply divided communities in Israel/Palestine raise legitimate questions concerning the comparability with the Belgian situation. Yet, however different the cases may be, important similarities are numerous. Both Belgium and Israel-Palestine are binational states made up of two main communities with very different and often opposed aspirations. Belgium and Israel/Palestine are also almost the same size geographically and have a similar population density. Moreover, Brussels, much like Jerusalem, is a contested city claimed by both Flemings and French-speaking as their capital. Brussels enjoys a special autonomous status within the Belgian federalist framework, with a combination of self-rule and control of the two communities over the city. With regard to the self-rule, institutional mechanisms are put in place to protect the Flemish minority of Brussels. Conversely, on the federal level the French-speaking minority (40%) enjoys constitutional guarantees against unilateral action by the Flemish majority (60%). The Belgian constitution created a tradition of consensus politics by impeding decision-making by (linguistic) majority rule.
The central research question is simple and broad: What would an Israeli-Palestinian federation based on the Belgian model look like? The paper will briefly describe the key aspects of the Belgian federal system and consequently analyze whether these aspects should or should not be integrated in a possible federal solution for Israel-Palestine. These key aspects include: personal or territorial federalism, symmetric or asymmetric federalism, division of competences, hierarchy of norms, protection of minorities, financing and the capital. Specifically the status of Brussels deserves additional attention as it serves as a model for a possible solution of the Jerusalem-issue. Without disregarding the fundamental differences between the Belgian context and the Israeli-Palestinian situation, the paper will put forward a model for a possible future federal state Israel/Palestine, based on several aspects of the Belgian federal system.

9. Can Asymmetrical Constitutional Arrangements Provide an Alternative Answer for the Disputed?
Ms. Maja Sahadzic

Most traditional federal theory remains rooted in a notion that asymmetrical arrangements in federal states are considered rather exceptional. Contemporary research in asymmetrical federalism points that traditional federal theory suffers from limitations, mainly concerning three matters. The first is that traditional federal theory fails to trail evolution in the internal structure of states. The second is that traditional federal theory bases this argument on uninational federal systems. The third is that traditional federal theory proposes symmetry as an essential integrative part of federal states. Such a construction of federal system cannot be expected to deal with, at least not effectively, confronting challenges with regard to a change in the understanding of autonomy claims.
This is especially true for systems such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Italian Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, and the United Kingdom. Contemporary literature stresses that traditional federal theory fails to recognize that features of asymmetrical federalism are identifiable, although sometimes covert, in quasi-federal states, regionalized unitary states, and even in a transnational setting. This is closely linked to the understating federalism as a process. Besides this, many of these systems are multinational in their essence. Threatened by autonomy claims from different subnational entities, these states accommodate these claims through the employment of asymmetrical solutions that are put into practice to hold the state together, thus bringing forth new types of federal systems.
Contemporary federal theory indicates that recent federal systems are fragmenting and multinational states that produce asymmetrical responses to differences. To that end, the more comprehensive approach is needed to research contemporary asymmetrical arrangements as a mechanism for diversity accommodation in multinational societies. In spite of the potential harmful effects, asymmetry still remains an option for diversity accommodation (Burgess, 2009) as it allows an opportunity to compromise (Wolff, 2011). As the choice for constitutional asymmetries implies a rejection of (coercive) homogenization, asymmetry upholds the power to choose which prevents the system from falling into decay (McGarry and L’Leary, 2012). This suggests that asymmetrical solutions are often required in federal systems, as well as that a certain degree of the asymmetry may provide grounds for the sustainability of the system (Delmartino, 2009). Having asymmetry at a disposal provides a flexibility in the institutional design process, which includes (sequential) accommodation processes (Wolff, 2011).
The first aim of this paper is to respond to these theoretical challenges by establishing a new theoretical framework based on a notion of multi-tiered multinational systems that experience constitutional asymmetries. The second aim of this paper is to apply this framework in identifying when asymmetrical solutions may be an alternative solution in disputed territories, such as in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The methodology consists of conventional methods that combine legal analysis with political science, aimed at the elaboration of the theoretical framework, comparative analysis, and desk-study and legal analysis.