Stalled by Division: EU Internal Contestation over the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

February 01, 2023
Kristina Kausch
Sinem Akgül-Açıkmeşe
Soli Özel
Eduard Soler i Lecha
Since 1980, EU policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has served as a major barometer of the ability of the EU to formulate an autonomous and cohesive foreign policy. This paper reflects on the impact of the factors that hamper the effectiveness and coherence of EUFSP towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

While there is broad consensus that the EU has some impact in supporting socioeconomic development and institution-building in Palestine, its political impact has been negligible. An unfavorable regional and global environment has made the Israel-Palestine question an especially difficult foreign policy dossier. The EU's failure to fully exploit its limited leverage on this conflict is largely its own making. The case displays the symptoms of EU deficiencies in EU internal consensus, politics and institutional set-up in a particularly harsh manner, and shows how the effectiveness and sustainability of EUFSP often falls victim to the requirement of unity. The result is a dysfunctional stalemate in which policy statements and action (or lack thereof) drift ever further apart.

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This paper was first published by the JOINT project with funding from the European Commission and appears here with permission from the authors.