Chaillot Paper   –   December 2010

European involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict

Summary

European involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict

Chaillot Paper – n°124, December 2010
edited by Esra Bulut-Aymat

This would include adapting current policy and practice regarding Israeli settlements goods to comply with EU declarations and legal obligations; and seeking reimbursement for additional costs to EU-funded humanitarian relief incurred as a result of illegal practices in the OPT. Other practical measures to deal with the particularly problematic issue of settlement growth might include issuing a code of conduct to discourage European investment in and cooperation with settlement-based companies. In East Jerusalem, the EU and Member States could tighten policies and practice to avoid de facto recognition of the Israeli annexation.

At least twenty further suggestions for improving policy are presented in the following chapters. These include recommendations for the EU to: 

  • Prioritise bringing about an end to the Gaza blockade, working on durable border arrangements and on ensuring that any further changes to the current closure policies do not entrench a collective punishment logic and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.
  • Renew emphasis on conflict resolution efforts, and on removing obstacles to the emergence of a Palestinian state, in order to improve the effectiveness of EU assistance to the OPT and its CSDP missions on the ground.
  • Seek to clarify its role in Middle East diplomacy in coordination with the US and other Quartet members, including the scope for European unilateral measures on certain issues, such as settlements and relations with Syria.
  • Engage in more timely and consistent confidence-building, early warning, monitoring and crisis mediation, in particular in the most sensitive areas, including on the Lebanon-Israel border and in Jerusalem. 
  • Prepare carefully for the different scenarios surrounding the PA government’s August 2011 deadline for creating a Palestinian state.
  • Assess the sustainability and impact of its current aid policies in the OPT.
  • Develop a more comprehensive policy towards human rights and democracy in its approach to the conflict, revising its democracy support programmes to maximise impact on the ground.
  • Explore playing a more proactive role vis-à-vis constructive regional initiatives towards the conflict, helping link initiatives with regional ownership to effective international support, most notably in the case of the Arab Peace Initiative. 

Overall, these recommendations address both those searching for bold conflict resolution steps and those seeking to minimise the harm done to peace prospects by current trends. This Chaillot Paper thus invites both sceptics and enthusiasts to further explore the full array of policy options and policy constraints that the EU faces with a more grounded and ambitious, and perhaps more ‘European’, vision and purpose. 

This would include adapting current policy and practice regarding Israeli settlements goods to comply with EU declarations and legal obligations; and seeking reimbursement for additional costs to EU-funded humanitarian relief incurred as a result of illegal practices in the OPT. Other practical measures to deal with the particularly problematic issue of settlement growth might include issuing a code of conduct to discourage European investment in and cooperation with settlement-based companies. In East Jerusalem, the EU and Member States could tighten policies and practice to avoid de facto recognition of the Israeli annexation.

At least twenty further suggestions for improving policy are presented in the following chapters. These include recommendations for the EU to: 

  • Prioritise bringing about an end to the Gaza blockade, working on durable border arrangements and on ensuring that any further changes to the current closure policies do not entrench a collective punishment logic and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.
  • Renew emphasis on conflict resolution efforts, and on removing obstacles to the emergence of a Palestinian state, in order to improve the effectiveness of EU assistance to the OPT and its CSDP missions on the ground.
  • Seek to clarify its role in Middle East diplomacy in coordination with the US and other Quartet members, including the scope for European unilateral measures on certain issues, such as settlements and relations with Syria.
  • Engage in more timely and consistent confidence-building, early warning, monitoring and crisis mediation, in particular in the most sensitive areas, including on the Lebanon-Israel border and in Jerusalem. 
  • Prepare carefully for the different scenarios surrounding the PA government’s August 2011 deadline for creating a Palestinian state.
  • Assess the sustainability and impact of its current aid policies in the OPT.
  • Develop a more comprehensive policy towards human rights and democracy in its approach to the conflict, revising its democracy support programmes to maximise impact on the ground.
  • Explore playing a more proactive role vis-à-vis constructive regional initiatives towards the conflict, helping link initiatives with regional ownership to effective international support, most notably in the case of the Arab Peace Initiative. 

Overall, these recommendations address both those searching for bold conflict resolution steps and those seeking to minimise the harm done to peace prospects by current trends. This Chaillot Paper thus invites both sceptics and enthusiasts to further explore the full array of policy options and policy constraints that the EU faces with a more grounded and ambitious, and perhaps more ‘European’, vision and purpose.