Palestinian Interests at European Union

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Palestinian Interests at European Union




Palestinian Interests at European Union

Table of contents


1.1 Statement of purpose

1.2 Background

1.3 Formulating the research question

1.4 Explaining the methodology

1.5 Data sources

1.6 Chapter-by-chapter outline



3.1 Kinds and Techniques of Influence

3.2 Paths of Influence

3.2.1 Commission

3.2.2 Parliament

3.2.3 Council of Ministers

3.2.4 Other EU institutions

3.3 Regulations and restrictions

The Representation of Palestinian Interests at the European Union


There is no doubt the European Union is an influential factor on the global stage and plays a critical role on regional issues. The Middle East is one of the major areas under close monitoring and in the forefront in seeking a lasting solution to the challenges it is facing  (Jayyusi, 1992)   However the commitment of the European Union has been a subject of debate amongst some people, scholars included. The reason why this is the case is because the Israel factor in the whole Palestinian question is a divisive subject.

Ever since the issuance of the Venice declaration, which was the first formal joint statement on the matter, the European union  has not  relented in the pursuance of a lasting solution to the middle east conflicts. This particular declaration was an acknowledgement of the need to accept the fact that the Palestinian people have a legitimate right to determine how they want to live and be governed. This set the pace for talks on representation of Palestinian interests in the European Union. However it does not mean that there has been a general acceptance of this representation by all countries in the world (Zohar, 2008).

The Israel -Palestinian conflict has obviously been a very discordant factor and is the cause of all the debate on the topic.  There was the Madrid peace conference which also sought to have answers to the subject besides deciding on the political ole it could play in reaching a peace deal. This was done in 1991.

The following year and with the birth of the European Union, there was an appointment of a special representative to transmit proposals and suggestions, to all parties caught up in the conflict (Asmar, 1975).).

However even with the presence of a common foreign policy in all the European Union states and the appointment of a representative of this foreign policy the major members of the union for instance France and the United Kingdom never let go of their national diplomatic policies. This has impacted negatively especially on the speed at which some of the decisions and representations are executed or implemented. In addition the European Union did not come up with a diplomatic policy that focused solely on the Palestinian question but instead looked at the wider Israel-Arab conflict (Fisher  & Elizabeth, 2007).

Though there have been disagreements generally on the matter resulting in these conflicts, there are no reservation, on the fact there are shared interests between the Arab states and the European Union. This is likely to significantly boost the peace process (Jayyusi, 1992).

1.1Statement of purpose

The study focuses on the representation of Palestinian social and political issues in him European Union. The extent of the success of the peace deals reached in the Middle East and the various techniques the European Union is using in doing so. It will also examine the channels available to Palestinians that the European Union so far has availed and if at all they have been useful.

1.2 Background

The role of Europe in the whole Middle East affair and the subsequent Palestinian relationship dates back in 1973. This is around the time Europeans accepted the legitimate rights of Palestinians. As time went by the European support for the Palestinian rights and cause became even clearer through the sending of its representatives and emissaries to the region.  It came out of the understanding that the world cannot really achieve the much needed peace especially as a result o the Israel –Palestinian war without acknowledging the national identity of the Palestinian people (Zohar, 2008).

This position was supported further by the Venice declaration in 1980 through which the EU welcomed the participation and contribution of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in the negotiations. Israel on the other hand had to respect this new situation of having to negotiate and discuss comprehensively the issues causing disharmony among them.

This also would set the pace for the EU influence over the following decades and resulting to the channels that Palestinians have in addressing there concerns not necessarily within the EU.  Other countries al over the world respects them too and accords them the need audience in addressing Middle East differences. After the Oslo peace process the European Union sought t o support a final peace settlement that would later see an increased financial aid and the aid of the growing Palestinian Authority (Enderlin, 2007).

This was also sponsored by the United States and resulted to the establishment of European –Mediterranean partnership. The establishment of this partnership gave the Palestinians another opportunity to campaign for a formal peace process through political forums.

1.3 Research question

The research seeks to answer the question: to what extent has been the existing relationship between the European Union and the Palestinians been helpful in securing Palestinian interests? Secondly, what other avenues should the European Union avail to Palestinians in an effort to have them more heard and directly pursued the world that they have no ill motives against the states that have been perceived to be their enemies such as Israel?

1.4Research methodology

Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used as well as   primary and secondary research methodologies will be used. The collection of evidence through questioners should target all those who have participated in one way or the other in the Middle East peace process.

It should be noted that this is an issue that has been running for a long time and some of the information will come from members of society who have since retired from active diplomatic missions whether from the European countries or the Middle East.  Making telephone conversations with those who are uncomfortable with questioners for one reason or the other, is also am option.

It has been an emotive conflict that needs one to listen to especially those common men and women from the Palestinian state who may be referred to the researchers. Government offices will also shade light on the position of governments today in as far as the representation of Palestinians is concerned.

1.5 Data sources

Surveys are very reliable in conducting this kind of research. The questioners still were very beneficial in the collection of data for instance in the opinions of people on for instance the real causes of the disagreements in the Middle East. The approximate percentage of people who think it is necessary to have a Palestinian state and the various reasons for these suggestions.  This can also be done orally or through phone interviews.

The more the number of people interviewed in during the research, the better and the more accurate, the opinions on this diplomatic question. Interviews are also efficient in understanding the behavioral and psychological reasons for the decisions taken by various participants of the decision makers that have so far shaped the course of European-Palestinian relationship (Hofstadter, 1997).

1.6 Chapter-by-chapter outline


Representation means to act for another party after being legally permitted and authorized to do so. It can be as a result of an election where a population or a group of people vote to give an individual or a group of people the right to represent or it can be an appointment by those legally permitted to do so. Lobbying is trying to persuade public officers to take a step or action (Jayyusi, 1992). It can be an idea being sold or a piece of legislation that the lobbyists think is necessary to be passed. Lobbyists are usually heard because they are careful on the timing and know the right people to address or persuade if any particular matter has to be sorted out.


3.1 Kinds and Techniques of Influence

There is no secret that the clash resulting from the Arab-Israel conflict has affected the region’s relationship with the European Union in many ways. One major result is the differences between Israel and some European representatives because of their views on the conflict they find themselves in with Palestinians. European Union believes that the resolution of the Middle East conflict is very important because it will go a long way I addressing the Muslim unrests. Palestinians therefore see this as an opportunity to sell their ideas and policies to European countries who seem equally tired of these conflicts (Ben-Gurion, 2003).

There is also the problem of Islamic fundamentalism which the world generally is not happy about. It is not only Israelis who have been pained by the ongoing conflict. Other Arabic citizens Palestinians included are also victims. The lobbyists thus are looking for a way to have the policies of Israel government revised to allow an independent Palestinian state. This in many ways has been fruitful because it made possible for those involved in negotiations to resume discussions. A comprehensive settlement plan was also negotiated and there is a possibility that if it is not agreed on, then it may be forced on them by the international community (Cohen, 2006).

Another way through which lobbyists have capitalized on is the transatlantic relationship. The was a collapse of the peace process in the year 2000 and this made the United States agree with the European union on the Palestinian –Israel issues. Representations to the European Union therefore capitalized on this.  Belgium which initially did not agree with the united state also agreed to reason out together on the issue. All this came as opportunities for Palestinians.

Europe for a long time has been of the opinion that Hamas be listened to. This has been reiterated though softly but with lots of importance. This there fore comes as an opportunity because Palestinians will have another chance to facilitate the Hamas concerns and use that opportunity to push for an independent state (Cohen, 2006).

3.2 Paths of Influence

With the good relationship between the European Union and the other countries in the world particularly the US which has been a major player in this region, it is possible for many policy recommendations to be agreed on and which Palestinian representatives should take advantage of. Some of these recommendations should include the following.

Using the historic good relationship between the European and Arab countries the lobbyists are in a position to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative by persuading Israel to agree on it as well. The EU should also be made to understand the importance of the role and improved economic situation amongst Palestinians can play in the peace process. For this reason the European Union should increase financial commitments in the region and particularly amongst Palestinians. Institutional and political engagements should also be enhanced (Reinharz, 1998).

There has to be an agreement on what will happen in the event that a peace plan is imposed on both Israel and Palestine. In this case it will be wise to have Europe obligate itself has a friend t o have a force in the region that  can assist in boosting security and ensure that all the parties live in harmony. There has already been a strong position in as far as Palestinian Occupied Territories are concerned. An EU court (BRITA case 2010) gave a ruling to the effect that the Israel products from Palestinian territories will not be accorded any special preferences and the Israel-European Union Agreement.

This will greatly help in making sure Israelis com to terms with h fact that the areas occupied by Palestinian s are rightfully theirs and that should be respected.

All this should not be looked as a way of causing rifts between the traditionally friendly European Union relationships with Israel. The European Union should openly celebrate the free and   frank swap over of ideas.

With the acceptance of the fact that Israelis still wield a lot of influence among its friends around the world, events in the Israel state itself should not be ignored. For example opinion polls in Israel have been suggesting that more than two-thirds of Israelis wish to join the EU. If Israel authorities could take this seriously and commit to a peace settlement, Palestinians may equally benefit from the deal. This will be a win -win situation (Langfur, 2002).

The United Nations has also been very influential in the Middle East conflicts with the arrival of several resolutions which regrettably Israel defied.  The repeated acts of extra judicial killings settlement of conquer areas have been condemned many times by the UN. Israel has also been accused of extra judicial killings. All these measures by the United Nations have been appreciated y the EU and other states internationally. The former secretary general of the UN Kofi Annan ones suggested demanded a withdrawal of Israel from territories occupied by Palestinians adding that he does not thin k the whole world, in callin.............

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