so that international body, yeah the UN

February 9, 2006

I just finished up my first day as the Cote D’Ivoire delegate to the General Assembly Special Session. This is a special plenary session focusing on issues of the Middle East. Today we got through our first (which was originally our third in order) topic which was the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the recent withdrawal from Gaza Strip by Israel.

Although I have been to Model UN before, that was my freshman year and had none of the protocol that goes into these assemblies. I am the only Goshen person in the GASS (yes they do actually call it that), so I was definitely a little intimidated. But after a rather dull morning which I spent trying to figure out how to accurately portray a small west African country’s opinion on the middle eastern issues, I finally realized that really everyone knew as little as I do and is mainly trying to pretend to each other that we actually know what is going on.

Plus it helped that I found a niche for myself by addressing the issue of the Israeli “security” wall that runs through Palestinian territory in an attempt to reduce suicide bombings. Because most of the working papers weren’t addressing this issue as directly as I would have liked, I got together with Columbia and Turkey and we wrote up our own resolution calling upon Israel to dismantle the wall and to form a commission to study the effects of the wall and possible humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.

That made the afternoon much more interesting and I was proud that our paper was the first to actually make it through the process and is now an official draft resolution ready to be voted on tomorrow morning. Although after getting some feedback from other delegates, I am having a tricky time dealing with the issues of country sovereignty. Because the issue of the wall is not a threat to international security and because it hasn’t received the official wording that would make it an internationally recognized human rights violation (despite its very real human rights issues), there is some issue with whether the UN can tell Israel to remove a wall that was on its own land. Now obviously the sections of the wall that are on Palestinian territory can be condemned by the UN, but the sections in Israeli land are protected by the idea of sovereign countries. This was an interesting point for me, and while I understand the need for countries to have sovereign, it does seem like just one more way that the UN becomes a useless body, cut off from all options that actually can promote real change in the world.

So we’ll have to see what voting brings tomorrow morning and how this resolution all plays out. It was also interesting to note that although this is an issue I feel fairly educated on, most of my info comes from CPT and other type of organizations, which sometimes lack the non-biased internationally approved view-points.

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