Is EU the Only Hope to Solve the Palestinian/Israeli Crisis?
By: Alena Khan/Arab America Contributing Writer
As faith is gone for America to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, all eyes are on EU as the only hope. However, since Israel has passed the new nation-state bill confirming Israel as a Jewish nation-state, and all other recent developments, EU’s stance may have changed.
The resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU and has been for quite some time now. Back in 2016, the Middle East Peace Process of the European Union stated that its objective is a “two-state solution with an independent, democratic, viable and contagious Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.”
Since then, the EU is concerned by Israel’s new law, protesting that it is in fact “discriminatory and will hinder a two-state solution.” EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini expresses her thoughts on Israel’s nation-state bill and how that will change things for the EU:
“We’ve been very clear when it comes to the two-state solution, we believe it is the only way forward and any step that would further complicate or prevent this solution of becoming a reality should be avoided.”
The EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over its occupied areas in 1967, nor does it consider them “Israeli territories,” Mogherini adds. The EU is now attempting to change it’s stance, sending a message that Israel’s settlement expansions are illegal, and their nation-state bill is outrageous and highly discriminatory.
Walid Modalllal a political science professor at Islamic University in Gaza states that the European diplomacy is under a significant amount of pressure “from Israel and the US to give supportive stances. But Europe is well aware that Israel is taking unilateral measures to oppose the international community’s inclinations.”
A few weeks ago the EU stated that there is “no intention to reduce the current level of EU funding, nor to review EU policies on the Middle East Peace Process.” However, since then, EU’s stance has also changed as people have become increasingly sympathetic with Palestinians. According to a statement from the EU Middle East Peace Process, “The EU has a close partnership with Palestine as its largest and most reliable donor.”
Just recently EU diplomats expressed concern as they call on Israel to stop the demolition of Palestinian structures. In fact, many of Israel’s recent actions have raised some questions in the EU, making them debate their part in solving the IP crisis. Israel’s confiscations, demolitions, evictions, etc. in Palestine have all threatened the two-state solution that EU had set in place. “…the EU calls upon the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian houses and property in accordance with its obligations as an occupying power under the international humanitarian law.” In addition, the EU missions also called on Israeli authorities to rebuild the structures in the same place.
In addition to demolitions, the EU has also urged Israel to refrain from using “excessive force” against unarmed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Joanna Adamson charge d’affaires of the EU delegation to the UN says “Israel should reverse its punitive measures.” She adds, “Israel should work with the international community to ease conditions in Gaza.” EU officials strongly suggest Israel respect international law, and prevent incidents that could jeopardize the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.
With added pressure from not only Israel and their newly added bill, but the US, Trump’s steps and the ‘deal of the century’, the EU collectively is worried as they continue to anticipate matters with “stances that would spare future embarrassment,” while allowing it to maintain their role in protecting their personal interesting in the Middle East.
While many European states sympathize with the Palestinian cause and support the two-state solution, the EU still has much to consider when taking their next steps forward. Although the EU remains firmly committed to their two-state solution, being the only “realistic and viable” solution, with the way things are going, will EU lose their faith in solving the conflict as well?
Already within the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, there are several critical factors, and now with no real help from the US and Israel’s questionable actions, the EU is in a tough spot. With the EU as our only real hope, will they be able to achieve a fair and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis?