The European Union: Challenges for Israeli Diplomacy

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Tamas Berzi - Britain, France, and Germany have expressed an interest in obtaining a united European Union position on the recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, with a provision for land swaps. Should the Palestinians proceed with their plan to seek a UN General Assembly resolution stating that the Palestinian Authority constitutes a state and its borders should be based on the 1967 lines, the question of how the EU will vote will be critical. Past experience suggests that the Palestinian representatives will seek a "qualitative majority" at the UN, based on the EU and major Western powers, and will not be satisfied with an "automatic majority" of Third World countries based on the Non-Aligned Movement alone. According to the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on December 1, 2009, the EU is to define and implement a common foreign and security policy. However, in practice, the EU often faces difficulties in acting in a unified way. On the Middle East, the EU faces major difficulties in achieving consensus, as European countries are often split in their voting at the UN. Looking at recent European voting records, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are the countries most likely to support Israel's positions. The Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 1995, which stated that "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations," was witnessed by the EU. Thus, any European move in support of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would be a violation of those commitments.

2011-04-15 00:00:00

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