EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY SCORECARD 2016

Levant

46 - Israel and Palestine

Grade: C+
Unity 2/5
Resources 3/5
Strategy 2/5
Impact 2/5
Total 9/20
Scorecard 2012: C- (7/20)
Scorecard 2013: C+ (9/20)
Scorecard 2014: B+ (14/20)
Scorecard 2015: B- (11/20)

Europe wasted the opportunity to take a greater role in peace efforts, while Gaza again slipped off the agenda

Despite unprecedented White House support for a stepped-up EU role, 2015 was a missed opportunity for Europe to fill the diplomatic vacuum left by the US’s reassessment and decision to step back from its own peacemaking efforts.

There were signs of limited activism by individual member states, focused on ways to manage the fallout from failed negotiations and the 2014 Gaza war. The Quintet – UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain – met regularly with the US, but with little clear purpose.

Europeans remained fixated on strategies for reviving negotiations, including appointing a new EU special representative and proposing a UN Security Council resolution. They sought to encourage greater Arab participation through an expanded international quartet (the UN, US, EU, and Russia) or an international support group. But little has been done to rigorously assess why such efforts have previously proven unsuccessful, or identify areas where Europe’s policy tools could be more effectively deployed. A lack of broader strategic vision was compounded by divisions within Europe and the failure of the EU high representative to forge a coherent approach.

The EU’s biggest failure was on Gaza, which again slipped off the agenda. The EU and member states contributed €400 million of the €542 million pledged in donor support for the Strip, but did little to develop an effective reconstruction mechanism, or loosen Israeli restrictions on movement and access. Confronting a paralysed Palestinian leadership and President Mahmoud Abbas’s unwillingness to make progress on Gaza or reconciliation with Hamas, the EU has been hampered by adherence to its no-contact policy with Hamas, despite diplomats in Brussels and member states recognising this as flawed.

The Commission finally issued guidelines on labelling Israeli settlement products, despite opposition from Israel. The EU and large member states, however, have not done enough to push back against Israeli efforts to discredit Europe’s non-recognition of settlements, divide member states, and slander the EU with unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism.