Shaping discourse and setting examples: normative power Europe can work in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

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Series Details Vol.55, No.6, November 2017, p1415–1431
Publication Date November 2017
ISSN 0021-9886
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The conventional wisdom in the literature on EU–Israel/Palestine relations is that the EU has only displayed very limited, if any, normative power in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Previous studies have focused on the ability, or rather inability, of the EU to diffuse any of the core norms behind Ian Manners' concept of ‘Normative Power Europe’ (NPE) into the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, while tending to ignore the ability of the EU to shape what is considered normal in many aspects of the conflict – either by making others adopt its policies, or by contributing to creating consensus around an issue.

By using Tuomas Forsberg's framework of four different mechanisms of normative power: persuasion, invoking norms, shaping the discourse and the power of example on three important case studies from the conflict (EC/EU's declaratory diplomacy on the need for a just peace in the conflict, the Palestinians' bid for statehood at the UN in 2011 and the emerging ‘differentiation strategy’), this article concludes that the EU has much more normative power in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict than the literature has previously acknowledged.

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