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European Council on Foreign Relations




Trump’s deal for Israel-Palestine: Entrenched unequal rights and annexation

By Hugh Lovatt - 29 January 2020

Although the Trump deal marks a radical break from past American support for a two-state solution, it aligns with ideas put forward by supporters of Israel’s settler movement.

Mali, Algeria, and the uneasy search for peace

By Andrew Lebovich - 04 October 2018

This summer, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was re-elected to Mali's presidency; his plan for peace in the country can stem the conflict, but as the Algerian case shows, the process of reconciliation can be daunting 

How to revive EU Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Hugh Lovatt & Mattia Toaldo - 20 May 2015

EU needs to better demonstrate the incompatibility  of occupation policies with the continued development of relations with the EU.

Gaza reconstruction: The new Israeli strategy

By Dimi Reider - 14 October 2014

Blockade to ease, with severe oversight of rebuilding materials by Israel in what is basically an upgrade of Strip’s prison status

Palestine and the International Criminal Court

By Victor Kattan - 01 September 2014

After a long process, various options are still open for Palestine with respect to joining the ICC.

Children and civilian casualties in Gaza and Syria

By Hugh Lovatt - 29 August 2014

The casualty figures in Gaza are as grim as you think.

What the Gaza deal (really) means for Hamas and Israel

By Hugh Lovatt - 27 August 2014

Despite talk of avoiding a return to the status quo, this is exactly what has seemingly happened.

An alternative to intifada

By Hugh Lovatt - 21 August 2014

With the Palestinian Authority’s credibility at an all time low, many fear that an uncontrollable explosion of popular anger could snowball into an uprising against both Israel and the PA.

Israel’s spinning moral compass

By Daniel Levy - 19 August 2014

Apparent wall-to-wall consensus in favour of the Gaza offensive among the Israeli public masks a deep internal moral malaise.

Demilitarising Gaza is not a solution, it’s a trap

By Daniel Levy - 15 August 2014

Demilitarising Gaza is being touted as part of a solution to the recent fighting. However, it's a potentially dangerous red herring 

Time to talk to Hamas

By Nick Witney - 07 August 2014

Israel wants to keep Hamas in the cold, but unless Europe works to encourage dialogue, the violence will continue

Has Europe walked away from the Israeli-Palestinian project?

By Daniel Levy - 30 July 2014

Europe has simply continued to play a rather marginal and unconstructive role

Hamas and Israel: why a paradigm shift is needed

By Benedetta Berti - 23 July 2014

While stopping the violence should indeed be a priority, it is just as important to develop policies for the post-ceasefire period that will ensure that the end of hostilities amounts to more than a temporary lull.

A Sisyphean Task - EU aid to Palestine

By Joseph Saba - 25 June 2014

The recent collapse of the US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian talks signals the need for a complete reassessment of international cooperation to achieve a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.

What is the role of European Civil Society in policy change?

By Dr Phyllis Starkey - 20 June 2014

The gap between the EU’s anti-settlement rhetoric and its contribution to the Israeli occupation.

The two-state solution is man-made, if preserved by Europe

By Andreas van Agt - 10 June 2014

Netanyahu has not pursued peace in good faith, and Europe must step up if the two-state solution is to remain alive.

Re-inventing European aid to Palestine

By Alaa Tartir - 04 June 2014

Has European taxpayers’ money effectively subsidised the Israeli military occupation of Palestine?

Bringing Europe into the Middle East peace process

By Myriam Benraad and Karina Piser - 22 May 2014

Washington should meaningfully integrate Europe into a dialogue from which it has been mostly marginalized.

Palestinian reconciliation and negotiations

By Alexander Kouttab - 01 May 2014

The takeaway lesson from the last nine months is that negotiations are not always the best option all of the time.

Three things Europe can do to support the Middle East Peace Process

By Mattia Toaldo - 01 May 2014

The EU should discuss a strategy to support Palestinian reconciliation and kick-start meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Peace Is Man-Made

By Han ten Broeke - 19 March 2014

As long as key international stakeholders play a constructive role in the new round of peace negotiations and let go of their misconceptions about Abbas and Netanyahu, a two-state solution is still a viable option.

The curious case of the Gaza-bound Iranian weapons ship

By James Spencer - 08 March 2014

It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Prime Minister Netanyahu. But suddenly, as if by divine providence, the storm clouds part, and the rays of the sun reveal a ship full of Iranian weapons destined for Gaza. Why would Iran risk just such an issue at this moment? What is going on? Who knows? But the timing does look amazingly convenient for Prime Minister Netanyahu, and inconvenient for President Rouhani’s charm offensive.

Kerry’s Middle-East Peace Push and Bibi’s ‘No-State’ Solution

By Hugh Lovatt - 05 February 2014

It’s unlikely that John Kerry’s proposed framework agreement will provide a lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Instead of pushing Prime Minister Netanyahu towards making peace with Palestinians, the US has acted as an enabler of Israeli maximalism, allowing it to dodge compromise and dig in its heels. What role then can Europe play as a moderator of Israeli behaviour?

Peter Hain: “Can a common state solution end the Palestine-Israel Impasse?”

By Hugh Lovatt - 30 January 2014

In a recent public lecture at the University of Swansea Peter Hain delved into the Israeli/Palestinian issue, warning of the dangers of a slipping two-state solution and what this could mean for ending the long running conflict. Having worked closely with Israeli and Palestinian leaders while serving as British Middle East and Cabinet Minister, his thoughts on whether a “common state solution” might more easily resolve the deadlock are worth heading.

Refugees, Peace, and the Two-State Solution

By Rex Brynen - 20 January 2014

A mutually acceptable resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue has long been regarded as a necessary condition for any stable, just, and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. In the coming weeks, the US mediation team led by Ambassador Martin Indyk is likely to put forward more of its own ideas on bridging the differences between the two sides on the refugee issue. What advice might one offer?

Sharon didn’t embrace peace, he defeated it

By Daniel Levy - 14 January 2014

Widespread media speculation about whether Ariel Sharon would have concluded a peace deal with the Palestinians had he not slipped into a coma eight years ago may be missing the point. Coming to grips with Sharon’s modus operandi, which has driven so much of Israel’s history and continues to shape its policies, requires more than a merciless-warrior-turned-avuncular-peacemaker narrative. Instead though, by withdrawing from Gaza Sharon actually sidestepped negotiations and cemented Israel's grip on the West Bank.

Two-state solution and one state reality

By Khalil Shikaki - 27 December 2013

As Palestinians and Israelis support, and sometime negotiate, a two-state solution, they simultaneously engage in other activities that undermine their declared goal. But while time is running out for the two-state solution, the status quo remains highly resilient: the domestic environments in Israel and Palestine do not provide a compelling driver; the leaders are not sufficiently motivated; and the US and the international community have not yet provided the parties with choices they cannot ignore

Testing the two-state solution: time for Europe to get tough?

By Hugh Lovatt - 26 December 2013

Half way into the US’ 9-month push for peace, it remains unclear what progress has been achieved during the current round of Israeli/Palestinian negotiations. Worst still, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s anticipated announcement of new housing tenders for Israeli settlements risks dealing a heavy blow to negotiations unless pre-emptive action is taken. However, given the asymmetry in US dealings with each side it will be up to Europe to articulate a ramped-up set of disincentives vis-à-vis Israel to move Israeli decision makers and their publics more in the direction of the choices needed to achieve a viable two-state outcome.

The two-state solution after 2013

By Mattia Toaldo - 23 December 2013

Will the two-state solution survive to 2013? The year that is about to end was ostensibly a good one, particularly in light of the resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians thanks to John Kerry’s efforts. But, in fact, the two-state solution as we knew it is increasingly less likely to be implemented any time soon.

Two-State Solution in Israel-Palestine: crossing the Rubicon?

By Nathalie Tocci - 19 December 2013

Back in December 2002, the European Council rang its alarm bells for the first time “at the continuing settlement activities, which threaten to render the two-state solution physically impossible”. Since then, innumerable Cassandras in Europe, the United States, the Arab world, Palestine, and Israel have voiced their despair and warned about the perils of the fast-fading two-state solution in Israel-Palestine. But how can we actually know when developments on the ground have become irreversible?

The viability of the two-state solution

By David Newman - 18 December 2013

The Two State Stress test highlight the changing thinking within the European establishment and their growing belief that disincentives will have to be applied to Israel in moving toward a two-state scenario. This was clearly seen in the European position regarding Israel’s participation in the latest scientific research program, Horizon 2020, and its insistence that no institution operating beyond the Green Line would be allowed to take part.

Welcoming the Two-State Stress Test

By Yossi Alpher - 17 December 2013

Drawing on my own experience running an Israeli strategic think-tank, I am generally cautious in approaching the idea of quantitative analysis in conflict resolution. Yet I like this project. Its value will undoubtedly grow with the passage of time, as a graph of two-state feasibility takes shape. But it is already extremely useful. And the timing is excellent, with the United States almost daily ratcheting up the pressure on the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to get serious. I'm fairly certain the other five expert advisers share my sense that the process of devising the TSST was very useful in refining our own views on the vicissitudes of the conflict and its solution.

The EU and the Middle East Peace Process

By Hugh Lovatt, Mattia Toaldo - 16 December 2013

Today EU foreign ministers discussed the Middle East peace process and the Council conclusions include a few positive statements.

The Two-Sate Stress Test – An Introduction

By Daniel Levy - 11 December 2013

Why a Two-State Stress Test? The United States, the European Union, the Arab League, the United Nations, and Israeli and Palestinian leaders themselves have all endorsed the idea that the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved by way of a two-state outcome. Not only has such an outcome not been realised, but polling, reporting, and the statements of global leaders all create an impression that such a solution is becoming ever more distant, perhaps even slipping beyond the realm of the possible. American and European policymakers increasingly talk of a “closing window” and an “urgency” of achieving two states before it is “too late”. But on what basis?

How is the Middle East peace process doing?

By - 09 December 2013

Two special ECFR podcasts on the current state of the Middle East peace process, as seen by the Palestinians, the Israelis and the Americans

The peace process is back

By Daniel Levy - 25 July 2013

The cynics may not believe it, but John Kerry's push to get Israelis and Palestinians talking could actually work. And even Europe is helping by ending Israeli impunity over settlements.