EU blinded by its idealism – Has Palestine has become a European project?


Today’s Haaretz features an article by Björn Brenner about European perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the EU’s unwillingness to revise its policy goal of a two-state solution:

“Is Europe more desperate for a Palestinian state than the Palestinians?”, Haaretz, 18 June 2017.

Excerpts from the article:

“Today the European Union is one of the world’s keenest advocates of the two-state solution. Year after year, the EU continues to channel millions of euros from European taxpayers into various projects in the Palestinian territories focusing on building the institutions of a future state. Far from mere realpolitik, European policy-makers take great pride in this endeavour, spearheading what they believe to be a moral struggle for justice for the Palestinians. However, given the dramatic changes on the ground during the past decades, both social and political, clinging on to the same old policy goal from the Oslo era points to political statism – and an EU that is getting out of touch with reality. Brussels has simply been blinded by its own idealism.”

“Policy-makers in Brussels need to face the painful understanding that Palestine today is a project primarily advocated by the EU itself (together with the old guard in Ramallah). According to recent opinion polls, the majority of Palestinians want to retract from the Oslo accords, do not consider the two-state solution realistic, and believe that the (EU-funded) institutions in Ramallah are malfunctioning and corrupt. Furthermore, the majority of Palestinians consider the PA to be a burden overall, prefer non-violent resistance, and support a broader internationalisation strategy, as opposed to direct negotiations.”

“While the two-state solution is not entirely dead, it is not a realistic policy goal at this point in time. In the distant future, it is possible that the sands will shift again so that public opinion and opportunity anew realign with Brussels’ preferred solution. Until then, however, the EU must abandon its blinding idealism.”

Photo top: View of Hebron / al-Khalil