Between Autonomy and Effectiveness: Reassessing the European Union’s Foreign Policy Towards the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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Series Details Volume 21, Number 4, Pages 559-577
Publication Date 2016
ISSN 1384-6299
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Through a consideration of policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this article examines the autonomy and effectiveness of the European Union (EU) as an actor.

We discuss first the criteria by which autonomy and effectiveness can be judged and then consider these by reference to EU policy since the formation of the Quartet in 2002.

We argue that the EU has been effective in articulating a consistent and clear set of policies on Israel-Palestine. While this has placed it on-side with US-led initiatives to foster a solution to the conflict, we regard such an alignment as consistent with EU autonomy. These findings allow us to make qualified but still positive comments on the emerging EU Global Strategy.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict certainly demonstrates the limitations of EU external action but in affirming its credentials as an autonomous partner of the United States, the EU is less ineffectual than some commentators claim.

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