European Council on Foreign Relations

Go to the MENA Programme's page

Has Europe walked away from the Israeli-Palestinian project?

This text is part of an article originally published by Carnegie Europe where leading experts answer the question: “Has Europe walked away from the Israeli-Palestinian project?”. Please find a link to the original post here.

Europe has not walked away, it has simply continued to play a rather marginal and unconstructive role.

That role is defined by a combination of internal division, excessive deference to U.S. positions, and, for some, a deliberate distortion of the conflict’s realities driven by political cowardice. The EU foreign ministers’ statement of July 22 was a Christmas tree affair, decorated with an eclectic mix of good, bad, and irrelevant policy positions. But by adopting Israel’s position on disarming Hamas and more, the EU sent a signal that was spun by Israel as an invitation to ramp up its military operation at an appalling cost in Palestinian civilian

Read more…

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

Read more…

Why a Gaza cease-fire could reinforce long-term conflict

Viewed in isolation, Israel's current “Operation Protective Edge” has relatively modest ambitions. It's not envisaged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a game-changer; more like another round of what is known in the Israeli security establishment as “mowing of the lawn” — a periodic degrading of Hamas' military capacity. Netanyahu's other strategic goal is to disrupt the fledgling effort at Palestinian reconciliation between the key rival national organizations, Fatah and Hamas. Even Israel's ground incursion has set the limited goal of destroying tunnels and rocket launching sites.

Hamas, too, does not believe its rocket fire will fundamentally reframe the Israeli-Palestinian equation — indeed, it made clear at the outset that this was a confrontation it preferred to avoid. The movement has been so squeezed by its isolation in Gaza, intensified by the hostility of Egypt

Read more…

Pushing for pluralism in Tunisia

Ennahda MPs at the Tunisian Constituent Assembly. CC Moumou82/ Flickr

This article was originally published in Muftah.

After weeks of deadlock over a new electoral law and continued disagreement over the electoral calendar, Tunisia’s political class is gearing up for legislative and presidential elections that will be held this October and November, respectively. During the constitution-drafting process over the last two years, ideological tension stifled consensus. And while the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) approved a much-lauded constitution this past January, the transition’s volatile three years have left Tunisia with a fragmented political blueprint.

However, as politicians prepare for the upcoming electoral contest, partisanship in Tunisia hardly seems to have changed since first emerging after the fall of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in early 2011. Small parties from

Read more…

Netanyahu misjudges the risks of his Gaza strategy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Defense ministry in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on 11 July 2014. © EPA European Pressphoto Agency B.V. / Alamy

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has a Gaza problem but it is not what you might think. The siren alarms sounding in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa with each new salvo of rockets fired from Gaza terrify and disrupt. However, the rockets have been managed by Israel’s missile defence system. Since launching its offensive, Israel has thankfully suffered no casualties. Losses will remain low as long as there is no ground offensive.

In military terms, Israel’s supremacy is guaranteed as much in this round of fighting as in the winter of 2008-09 and November 2012. It has one of the world’s most sophisticated armies, by comparison with which the capacity of Hamas-controlled

Read more…

Page 3 of 43 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›

Latest Publications

A return to Africa: Why North African states are looking south

North African countries, each for their own reasons, are increasingly turning their attention towards sub-Saharan Africa.

Together in trauma: Europeans and the world after covid-19

A new survey shows that, after the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a rise in public support for unified EU action to tackle global threats

Reform from crisis: How Tunisia can use covid-19 as an opportunity

The government must build on its response to the pandemic to create a compromise that shares the burden of reform between political actors and interest groups

Publications

Europe’s pandemic politics: How the virus has changed the public’s worldview

New research reveals that the crisis has revolutionised citizens’ perceptions of global order – scrambling the distinctions between nationalism and globalism

Reviving the revolutionaries: How Trump’s maximum pressure is shifting Iran’s domestic politics

Europeans wish to persuade Iran to compromise on strategic issues – but, unless they understand the dynamics of domestic Iranian politics, they will not get far