European Council on Foreign Relations

Hamas and Israel: why a paradigm shift is needed

Israeli military flare is seen in an area east of Gaza City on July 21, 2014. © ZUMA PRESS INC./ Alamy

Since the beginning of the latest round of confrontations between Hamas and Israel, the debate in both local and international media has understandably focused on the conditions needed to achieve a speedy end to the conflagration and deliver a ceasefire. Yet, while stopping the violence should indeed be a priority, it is just as important to develop policies for the post-ceasefire period that will ensure that the end of hostilities amounts to more than a temporary lull.

Indeed, the relationship between Hamas and Israel since 2007 has followed a repetitive pattern, with periods of relative quiet followed by recurrent short-term military escalations. Likewise, Israel’s overall policy toward Hamas has undergone very little change, focusing as it has on the political isolation of

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A Sisyphean Task - EU aid to Palestine

ECFR’s MENA programme held a conference in partnership with the LSE’s Middle East Centre entitled “Europe’s Toolbox and Israeli-Palestinian Relations After the Kerry Effort: What Role for What Purpose?” on 29 May. The discussion sought to explore European policy options in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace following a hiatus in US negotiating efforts and included experts from Europe and the United States, as well as from Israel and Palestine. Panellists from the event have also been asked to write short contributions on the discussion points.  

Aligned with a “peace process” built on the Olso Agreements,the EU has been a strong supporter of the Palestinians and their quest for self-determination, pursuing an ambitious, norm-based vision for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the “Two-State solution” including a democratic, viable, and contiguous State of Palestine

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What is the role of European Civil Society in policy change?

ECFR’s MENA programme held a conference in partnership with the LSE’s Middle East Centre entitled “Europe’s Toolbox and Israeli-Palestinian Relations After the Kerry Effort: What Role for What Purpose?” on 29 May. The discussion sought to explore European policy options in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace following a hiatus in US negotiating efforts and included experts from Europe and the United States, as well as from Israel and Palestine. Panellists from the event have also been asked to write short contributions on the discussion points.  

Speaking personally as a British and European Citizen, I want my governments to ensure that no money (either private or public) can flow from Europe or its member states to Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. But the Trading Away Peace report published in late 2012 by 22 development and human rights NGOs from 11 European countries,

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The two-state solution is man-made, if preserved by Europe

On 19 March 2014, Dutch Member of Parliament Han ten Broeke published an article on ECFR’s blog titled “Peace Is Man-Made”. In the piece, Mr Ten Broeke went to great lengths to debunk what he called “the Netanyahu myth”.

Mr Ten Broeke, a foreign affairs spokesperson for the Netherlands’ ruling VVD party, ridiculed “so-called Middle-East experts” who had claimed for years that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “a hawk that would never agree to talks with the Palestinians” and “an unreliable politician who does not believe in a two-state solution”. He concluded that these “experts” were wrong, since Netanyahu had “joined the negotiations without preconditions and committed to the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners”, in the context of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative.

Negotiating in bad faith

Now, the US-driven negotiations have ended, with no

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Re-inventing European aid to Palestine

Over the past 20 years, the donor community has invested more than $24 billion into “peace and development” in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), making Palestinians one of the highest per capita recipients of non-military aid in the world. Multilateral and bilateral European aid has constituted the major bulk of this aid. However, despite its short-term “successes”, this aid has failed to achieve its three main objectives: lasting peace, effective and accountable Palestinian institutions, and sustainable socio-economic development. Critics argue that this aid was “as much aid to Israel as it was to Palestinians”. Could it be, then, that European taxpayers’ money has effectively subsidised the Israeli military occupation of Palestine?

Contrasting aid disbursements with the socio-economic indicators of the Palestinians reflects the aid-development dilemma. The failure of

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