The EU and the Middle East Peace Process

Resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is a strategic priority for Europe. Until this is achieved, there will be little chance of solving other problems in the Middle East.

The EU’s objective is a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel and its other neighbours. The EU wants to see progress, not just process. To that end, the EU undertakes a range of activities – both political and practical – and is the largest donor to Palestinian state-building efforts.

The EU – with the UN, the US and the Russian Federation – is a member of the so-called ‘Quartet’, which in 2002 launched a ‘road map for peace’ aimed at resolving the conflict. The EU has praised the Arab Peace Initiative as a significant contribution from the Arab countries.

EU foreign ministers have described the closure of Gaza by Israel as ‘unacceptable and politically counterproductive’. In June 2010 the Foreign Affairs Council called for an urgent and fundamental change of policy and repeated an earlier call for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings so as to allow a flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons.

The solution must, at the same time, address Israel’s legitimate security concerns over violence and arms smuggling.

The EU considers that peace in the Middle East requires a comprehensive, regional solution. In this regard the EU supports peace talks between Israel and Syria, also between Israel and Lebanon.