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European Council on Foreign Relations





By - 10 December 2013

While negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are the focus of efforts to produce a lasting political agreement, the ability and willingness of third parties to shape the positions of, encourage, and exert leverage over both sides in order to create conditions conducive to successful negotiations and the full implementation of a prospective agreement are also deemed to be crucial. Experience would suggest that bilateral negotiations are in need of strong and decisive international support and perhaps relevant and externally-generated incentive and disincentive structures. Third-party neglect or the adoption of an overly cautious role will not advance a two-state solution. More determined involvement by third parties is therefore needed in order to forge an agreement between both sides.

This category discusses the diplomatic interventions of third-party actors. The United States has, theoretically at least, considerable leverage over Israel given the two countries’ longstanding special relationship, while its role in supporting the Palestinian Authority (PA) should not be underestimated when considering the impact of negotiations on the Palestinian domestic scene. Europe also has a role to play in transforming the dynamics surrounding Israel’s discourse on the continued occupation of Palestinian territories and the current cost/benefit calculations of the Israeli public. Active involvement by the Arab League and Arab governments in peace negotiations is relevant given that a final peace settlement will be more likely if it extends to the normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab states and includes an element of settling Palestinian refugees in host countries.


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