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Prior to the Conference, the Middle East’s political climate was tumultuous.

Over the years, a number of peace plans, proposals, agreements, diplomatic initiatives, and missions have been undertaken by individual states, intergovernmental organisations, and political individuals in the quest for a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United Nations has been increasingly interested with and intimately involved with this tremendously complicated and multi-faceted regional problem since its inception.

1947-1949. In its resolution 181 (II) of November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a plan for the partition of Palestine submitted by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (see Annex II), which called for the creation of “independent Arab and Jewish States” as well as a “Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.”

The Arab States and the Palestinian Arabs both rejected the plan. Following the adoption of the partition resolution, the level of violence in the region skyrocketed.

The National Council, which represented the Jewish people in Palestine and the World Zionist Movement, declared Israel on 14 Hay 1948. The British Mandate over Palestine came to an end the next day with the departure of the British High Commissioner.

The battle between Arab forces on the one hand and what would later become Israeli forces on the other quickly escalated, resulting in the first Middle East war. The Israeli forces were well-equipped and trained, drawing on the Jewish Brigade Group, which was founded during WWII, as well as different armed paramilitary and terrorist organisations like as the Haganah, Palmach, ETZEL (Irgun Zvei Leuni), and LEHI (The Stern gang). With the exception of parts of the territories allocated for an independent Arab state, which are held by the Arab legion from Jordan, and the Gaza Strip, which is held by Egyptian forces, Israel had occupied most of the territory of Palestine beyond the boundaries specified by the partition resolution when the mandate ended. With these exceptions, Israel today controls practically the entire land claimed by the Zionist Movement as the “Jewish National Home” during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.

Resolution 338 of the United Nations Security Council (1973)

The international world attempted to restart the negotiating process after the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict and throughout the 1970s in order to break the diplomatic gridlock in the Middle East. In Resolution 2628 (XXV), adopted on November 4, 1970, the United Nations General Assembly spelled forth the principles that, in its opinion, would bring peace to the region. It reaffirmed that a just and lasting peace must include the following two principles: withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict (of 1967); termination of all claims or states of belligerency; and respect for and recognition of each state’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence, as well as its right to live in peace within secure and recognised borders free of threats. The Assembly also agreed that respect for Palestinian rights is essential for a just and enduring peace, and called for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 as soon as possible (1967).

On October 6, 1973, Egyptian forces in the Suez Canal sector and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights attacked Israeli positions, igniting yet another large-scale Arab-Israeli conflict. Following the start of the war, the Security Council convened multiple times in an attempt to bring the fighting to an end.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Palestinian People’s Inalienable Rights was established.

The General Assembly, in its thirty-first session, demanded that the Security Council intervene to assist the Palestinian people to enjoy their rights by passing Resolution 3375 (XXX) on November 10, 1975. The Assembly also requested that the PLO be included in all efforts, deliberations, and conferences on the Middle East held under the auspices of the United Nations, on an equal footing with other parties, and that the Secretary-General make every effort to secure the PLO’s invitation to the Middle East Peace Conference (first convened at Geneva in December 1973).