The European Union and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

How Member States came together only to fall apart again

Authored by: Federica Bicchi , Benedetta Voltolini

Routledge Handbook of EU–Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367330767
eBook ISBN: 9780429317873
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter analyses how European countries (meaning the EC/EU and its Member States) developed a common approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the decades, although this has started to unravel in recent years. This unravelling occured in three steps. First, the EC/EU established a discursive practice about the need for a border, which was ultimately codified in the Venice Declaration of 1980. Second, this discourse was followed by the elaboration of a practice to support it: an economic practice in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and, more recently, an administrative-legal one based on the Green Line as the future border between Israel and Palestine. However, in a third development, the EU position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has started to fragment. Not only have declarations of substance no longer been issued, but the political discussion has also taken place in like-minded groups, and national initiatives have come to the fore. As Member States’ political cooperation on foreign affairs celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, they have come full circle on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: from disunity to unity to fragmentation.

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