Running Head: PALESTINIAN INTERESTS AT EUROPEAN UNION

Running Head: PALESTINIAN INTERESTS AT EUROPEAN UNION

Running Head: PALESTINIAN INTERESTS AT EUROPEAN UNION

Running Head: PALESTINIAN INTERESTS AT EUROPEAN UNION

Palestinian Interests at European Union

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Palestinian Interests at European Union

Table of contents

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Statement of purpose

1.2 Background

1.3 Formulating the research question

1.4 Explaining the methodology

1.5 Data sources

1.6 Chapter-by-chapter outline

Chapter 2: DEFINITION OF REPRESENTATION AND LOBBY

Chapter 3: CHANNELS AND TECHNIQUES OF INFLUENCE

3.1 Kinds and Techniques of Influence

3.2 Paths of Influence

3.2.1 Commission

3.2.2 Parliament

3.2.3 Council of Ministers

3.2.4 Other EU institutions

3.3 Regulations and restrictions

The Representation of Palestinian Interests at the European Union

Chapter1. INTRODUCTION

There is no doubt the European Union is an influential factor on the global stage and plays a critical role on regional issues. The Middle East is one of the major areas under close monitoring and in the forefront in seeking a lasting solution to the challenges it is facing  (Jayyusi, 1992)   However the commitment of the European Union has been a subject of debate amongst some people, scholars included. The reason why this is the case is because the Israel factor in the whole Palestinian question is a divisive subject.

Ever since the issuance of the Venice declaration, which was the first formal joint statement on the matter, the European union  has not  relented in the pursuance of a lasting solution to the middle east conflicts. This particular declaration was an acknowledgement of the need to accept the fact that the Palestinian people have a legitimate right to determine how they want to live and be governed. This set the pace for talks on representation of Palestinian interests in the European Union. However it does not mean that there has been a general acceptance of this representation by all countries in the world (Zohar, 2008).

The Israel -Palestinian conflict has obviously been a very discordant factor and is the cause of all the debate on the topic.  There was the Madrid peace conference which also sought to have answers to the subject besides deciding on the political ole it could play in reaching a peace deal. This was done in 1991.

The following year and with the birth of the European Union, there was an appointment of a special representative to transmit proposals and suggestions, to all parties caught up in the conflict (Asmar, 1975).).

However even with the presence of a common foreign policy in all the European Union states and the appointment of a representative of this foreign policy the major members of the union for instance France and the United Kingdom never let go of their national diplomatic policies. This has impacted negatively especially on the speed at which some of the decisions and representations are executed or implemented. In addition the European Union did not come up with a diplomatic policy that focused solely on the Palestinian question but instead looked at the wider Israel-Arab conflict (Fisher  & Elizabeth, 2007).

Though there have been disagreements generally on the matter resulting in these conflicts, there are no reservation, on the fact there are shared interests between the Arab states and the European Union. This is likely to significantly boost the peace process (Jayyusi, 1992).

1.1Statement of purpose

The study focuses on the representation of Palestinian social and political issues in him European Union. The extent of the success of the peace deals reached in the Middle East and the various techniques the European Union is using in doing so. It will also examine the channels available to Palestinians that the European Union so far has availed and if at all they have been useful.

1.2 Background

The role of Europe in the whole Middle East affair and the subsequent Palestinian relationship dates back in 1973. This is around the time Europeans accepted the legitimate rights of Palestinians. As time went by the European support for the Palestinian rights and cause became even clearer through the sending of its representatives and emissaries to the region.  It came out of the understanding that the world cannot really achieve the much needed peace especially as a result o the Israel –Palestinian war without acknowledging the national identity of the Palestinian people (Zohar, 2008).

This position was supported further by the Venice declaration in 1980 through which the EU welcomed the participation and contribution of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in the negotiations. Israel on the other hand had to respect this new situation of having to negotiate and discuss comprehensively the issues causing disharmony among them.

This also would set the pace for the EU influence over the following decades and resulting to the channels that Palestinians have in addressing there concerns not necessarily within the EU.  Other countries al over the world respects them too and accords them the need audience in addressing Middle East differences. After the Oslo peace process the European Union sought t o support a final peace settlement that would later see an increased financial aid and the aid of the growing Palestinian Authority (Enderlin, 2007).

This was also sponsored by the United States and resulted to the establishment of European –Mediterranean partnership. The establishment of this partnership gave the Palestinians another opportunity to campaign for a formal peace process through political forums.

1.3 Research question

The research seeks to answer the question: to what extent has been the existing relationship between the European Union and the Palestinians been helpful in securing Palestinian interests? Secondly, what other avenues should the European Union avail to Palestinians in an effort to have them more heard and directly pursued the world that they have no ill motives against the states that have been perceived to be their enemies such as Israel?

1.4Research methodology

Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used as well as   primary and secondary research methodologies will be used. The collection of evidence through questioners should target all those who have participated in one way or the other in the Middle East peace process.

It should be noted that this is an issue that has been running for a long time and some of the information will come from members of society who have since retired from active diplomatic missions whether from the European countries or the Middle East.  Making telephone conversations with those who are uncomfortable with questioners for one reason or the other, is also am option.

It has been an emotive conflict that needs one to listen to especially those common men and women from the Palestinian state who may be referred to the researchers. Government offices will also shade light on the position of governments today in as far as the representation of Palestinians is concerned.

1.5 Data sources

Surveys are very reliable in conducting this kind of research. The questioners still were very beneficial in the collection of data for instance in the opinions of people on for instance the real causes of the disagreements in the Middle East. The approximate percentage of people who think it is necessary to have a Palestinian state and the various reasons for these suggestions.  This can also be done orally or through phone interviews.

The more the number of people interviewed in during the research, the better and the more accurate, the opinions on this diplomatic question. Interviews are also efficient in understanding the behavioral and psychological reasons for the decisions taken by various participants of the decision makers that have so far shaped the course of European-Palestinian relationship (Hofstadter, 1997).

1.6 Chapter-by-chapter outline

Chapter 2:  DEFINITION OF REPRESENTATION AND LOBBY

Representation means to act for another party after being legally permitted and authorized to do so. It can be as a result of an election where a population or a group of people vote to give an individual or a group of people the right to represent or it can be an appointment by those legally permitted to do so. Lobbying is trying to persuade public officers to take a step or action (Jayyusi, 1992). It can be an idea being sold or a piece of legislation that the lobbyists think is necessary to be passed. Lobbyists are usually heard because they are careful on the timing and know the right people to address or persuade if any particular matter has to be sorted out.

Chapter 3: CHANNELS AND TECHNIQUES OF INFLUENCE

3.1 Kinds and Techniques of Influence

There is no secret that the clash resulting from the Arab-Israel conflict has affected the region’s relationship with the European Union in many ways. One major result is the differences between Israel and some European representatives because of their views on the conflict they find themselves in with Palestinians. European Union believes that the resolution of the Middle East conflict is very important because it will go a long way I addressing the Muslim unrests. Palestinians therefore see this as an opportunity to sell their ideas and policies to European countries who seem equally tired of these conflicts (Ben-Gurion, 2003).

There is also the problem of Islamic fundamentalism which the world generally is not happy about. It is not only Israelis who have been pained by the ongoing conflict. Other Arabic citizens Palestinians included are also victims. The lobbyists thus are looking for a way to have the policies of Israel government revised to allow an independent Palestinian state. This in many ways has been fruitful because it made possible for those involved in negotiations to resume discussions. A comprehensive settlement plan was also negotiated and there is a possibility that if it is not agreed on, then it may be forced on them by the international community (Cohen, 2006).

Another way through which lobbyists have capitalized on is the transatlantic relationship. The was a collapse of the peace process in the year 2000 and this made the United States agree with the European union on the Palestinian –Israel issues. Representations to the European Union therefore capitalized on this.  Belgium which initially did not agree with the united state also agreed to reason out together on the issue. All this came as opportunities for Palestinians.

Europe for a long time has been of the opinion that Hamas be listened to. This has been reiterated though softly but with lots of importance. This there fore comes as an opportunity because Palestinians will have another chance to facilitate the Hamas concerns and use that opportunity to push for an independent state (Cohen, 2006).

3.2 Paths of Influence

With the good relationship between the European Union and the other countries in the world particularly the US which has been a major player in this region, it is possible for many policy recommendations to be agreed on and which Palestinian representatives should take advantage of. Some of these recommendations should include the following.

Using the historic good relationship between the European and Arab countries the lobbyists are in a position to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative by persuading Israel to agree on it as well. The EU should also be made to understand the importance of the role and improved economic situation amongst Palestinians can play in the peace process. For this reason the European Union should increase financial commitments in the region and particularly amongst Palestinians. Institutional and political engagements should also be enhanced (Reinharz, 1998).

There has to be an agreement on what will happen in the event that a peace plan is imposed on both Israel and Palestine. In this case it will be wise to have Europe obligate itself has a friend t o have a force in the region that  can assist in boosting security and ensure that all the parties live in harmony. There has already been a strong position in as far as Palestinian Occupied Territories are concerned. An EU court (BRITA case 2010) gave a ruling to the effect that the Israel products from Palestinian territories will not be accorded any special preferences and the Israel-European Union Agreement.

This will greatly help in making sure Israelis com to terms with h fact that the areas occupied by Palestinian s are rightfully theirs and that should be respected.

All this should not be looked as a way of causing rifts between the traditionally friendly European Union relationships with Israel. The European Union should openly celebrate the free and   frank swap over of ideas.

With the acceptance of the fact that Israelis still wield a lot of influence among its friends around the world, events in the Israel state itself should not be ignored. For example opinion polls in Israel have been suggesting that more than two-thirds of Israelis wish to join the EU. If Israel authorities could take this seriously and commit to a peace settlement, Palestinians may equally benefit from the deal. This will be a win -win situation (Langfur, 2002).

The United Nations has also been very influential in the Middle East conflicts with the arrival of several resolutions which regrettably Israel defied.  The repeated acts of extra judicial killings settlement of conquer areas have been condemned many times by the UN. Israel has also been accused of extra judicial killings. All these measures by the United Nations have been appreciated y the EU and other states internationally. The former secretary general of the UN Kofi Annan ones suggested demanded a withdrawal of Israel from territories occupied by Palestinians adding that he does not thin k the whole world, in calling for that withdrawal can be mistaken. This therefore informs you that every country globally is following the events in the Middle East with a lot of importance (Langfur, 2002).

The United States factor in this conflict cannot be ignores. The us as been keen in ensuring t hat a deal is reached. However many  have questioned  the manner in which The united states has bee n handling the whole issue with some seeing  the  us  has favoring Israelis even in situations where Israelis are out rightly wrong.  This according to the 1984 Nobel peace price winner Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa is as a result of the powerful Jewish lobbyists in the US. Jews make a very small percentage of the US population but they are very much heard by their government. There is no problem with this. It would only be prudent if the US government take a step further and scrutinize every concern they raise. They are human and sometimes maybe wrong (Gorkin, 1993).

A political science professor Ginsberg Benjamin noted that close t o half of the American billionaires are Jews and own the influential newspapers in the US such as The New York Times.  There role in the US politics cannot be ignored as well.

Hamas is still a very influential factor in the quest for peace amongst the Palestinian. It is basically a militant movement which grew as a Muslim brotherhood but embraced and accepted by most Palestinians. It operates from Gaza, inside Israel and the West Bank. Its objectives have been to been to ensure the replacement of Palestinian authority with an Islamic state and champion for Palestinian nationalism.

The reason why many admire its operations in the region is because besides advocating for Muslim teachings it dedicates most of its resources to social services. Given this facts therefore it is vital that they be involved if   a lasting Palestinian peace deal has to b\e achieved. This should be a measure the European Union together with other countries should not overlook.

3.2.1 Commission

There have been commissions that have shaped the situation in the Middle East and particularly the Palestinian conflict with Israel. These commissions have been a good avenue for all citizens and groups with the interest of resolving conflicts in the Middle East to voice their concerns. Though it has not been easy having them agree it is still nevertheless an avenue for conflict resolution. Without which it would be difficult to judge and critically examine the facts on the issue.

The earliest of these commissions is the Peel commission officially referred to as Palestinian Royal Commission and was initiated in 1936. Its mandate was to propose necessary amendments the mandate of the British in Palestine. This was at the time when there was an Arab revolt in Israel (Lederach, 2007).

The report later came of with observations and recommended among others, the abolishing of the mandate with an exception of the areas along the Mediterranean coast Jaffa and Jerusalem.  Recommendations made Arabs react angrily and insistently that the Jews should not be given any territory because it will be a deemed a betrayal of the Arab states.

The European commission has been very instrumental in offering financial aid to those affected by the fighting in the Middle East.  It has also financed a number of conferences and meetings targeted at resolving the conflict. By March 2010 European commission had donated more than 500 million Euros in support of humanitarian aid and operations (Begin, 2001).

The aid is facilitated by humanitarian aid department of the commission. The projects funded by the European Union are implemented and international relief organizations such as the Red Cross.  The financial assistance also assists the authorities in Palestine to strengthen their administrative institutions or any other departments that can enhance government services and meet the people’s needs.

This is not the only commissions that have been active on the Middle East issue. There a re others as well whose work has been acknowledged and appreciated by both Palestinians and many people in the world.

3.2.2 Parliament

In July 2011 the British parliament received findings of a report by Palestinian Media Watch. The British parliament was informed that the Palestinian authority is committed to non violence in the efforts to have a resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East. The international all development minister in Britain signed a memorandum of understanding with Palestinian authority prime minister Fayyad. This is a sign of the keen interest the British parliament has exhibited in t he conflict resolution process in the Middle East (Begin, 2001).

It is important to note that there are critics even amongst the Israeli parliament, of the way the government is handling the whole Middle East relations, the Palestinian one included.  Interestingly there are Palestinian members in the Israeli parliament. They are always very straight and candid on the subject. A recent case in point is the comments of one of them – Hanen Zoubi who was on board an international flotilla that was attacked b y navel vessels and commandos.

Zoubi described the attack on unarmed terrified passengers as unnecessary and asked the government of Israel t o be more careful when carrying out what they refer as security operations. The role parliament and legislations passed in the various countries even that of the perceived stubborn Israel have been a key instrument, in the peace process.

The Palestinian Legislative Council is a group of 132 members from 160districts. They have been a voice in the people’s representation both in the Middle East region and internationally. However since the year 2007 the council has not been meeting frequently as should be the case because of the Hamas and Fatah conflicts. There has also been the imprisonment of some of the council members by the Israeli government due to accusations of participating in terror activities or inv involvement with Hamas (Rabin, 1979).

3.2.3 Council of Ministers

Although the European Union has been supporting various activities geared towards the administration and wellbeing of Palestinian people, it has been hesitant to recognize Palestine as a state. While responding t o a letter by Saeb Erakat( a Palestinian representative and lobbyist) the council of ministers from Europe saying there is still more to be done if a two –state solution should be attained.

If such statements have to be relied on, then they act as an indicator that it is not the number of delegations that the Palestinian authority sends to Europe that really counts. It is the issue at hand- the resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East. Anyone with a logical explanation will be listened to (Reinharz, 1998).

The European council has always reiterated that for any of those talks on the issue to succeed the representation should focus mainly on determining the border between the West Bank and Israel which should be agreed on. Secondly the EU believes the subject of refugees who has been dragged into this matter should not be allowed to delay the declaration of a Palestinian state.

3.2.4 Other EU institutions

The European Union committee on foreign affairs has also had the views of the Palestinian people and always makes sure that there is a unified opinion on the matter. By doing so it makes easy t he representation of the Palestinian subject amongst member states.  It has been vocal on even the other concerns that are ignored by other bodies or governments for instance the issue of the control of Israel which is a holy city for both Jews and Arabs (Schulze, 1999).

These committees have also been strongly spoken on the need for an agreement on the issue of Israeli military occupations and settlement in the West Bank. It has also raised the need for European countries to speak in one voice on the Palestinian topic.

3.3 Regulations and restrictions

The European Union has had regulations and legislations that restrict member countries from engaging in certain activities that are likely to cause disharmony amongst them or other members of the international community (Jayyusi, 1992)  or example the EU layed down regulations on economic reform and developments which among other things recommended the strengthening administrative ability of the Palestinians.

This could see the extension of the private sector of Palestinian firms and improving them to the standards of those in developed countries. These regulations have come both as a blessing and a curse for Palestinians. One hand it opens have Palestinian options and trade market but on the other hand gives their enemies undue advantage on doing business.

The other issue that is disturbing is though there are rules and regulations on trade or the mode of relations business politics and trade, some of the member countries still disregard them. For example though perceived as neutral in the Middle East subject, Finland supplied Israel with fire arms. It was not happening for the first time (Baird. 2008).).

Reports by   Amnesty international indicate that trade between Israel and Finland has been ongoing for a long time. In fact it was estimated theat trade between the two countries on anti-tank guided missiles is worth more than 4 million Euros.  Finland is thought to be the second in missile supplies of missile technology to Israel after the United States. This is done in total disregard of existing EU regulations. It therefore occurs to anyone who is keenly monitoring the situation that resolving the Middle East matter is even complicated further by the security and trade concerns of its EU members and those of other parties in the conflict (Stephens, 1971).

The other restriction that comes in is the inability of European member countries t o agree on how to relate with their friends in the Middle East. for example  Germany  may have  suspended arms shipment to Israel as a  result of the tension caused by the war but has been reported to be blocking proposals to have sanctions imposed a giant Israel. During the 22006 Israeli conflicts with Hezbollah, Germany and the UK gave a divergent view of the situation. Many countries in the world and even amongst European countries called for a cease fire. Germany and the UK opposed the move. This suggests that they supported Israel actions. This limits the ability of the EU to use its influence as a global player on such matters (Edward, 1999).

Israel on the other hand set social economic restrictions which have deteriorated the supply of food aid in the region. In 2008 for example Israel launched an operation in Gaza. Thousands of civilians were killed as a result. Human rights defenders have been on the fore front t o ensure this does not happen again not repeated. Despite the restrictions human rights defenders seek to promote the basic human rights.

The political developments in Gaza strip. The defenders represent peace and justice in a conflict situation. It is not therefore wise to restrict any human rights activist. Besides they represent both sides of the conflict and can offer valuable information into a means of ending any conflict.

Palestinian human rights defenders for example have to restrict themselves t o the use of fax or email. This is whether the documents area legal or official.

Documenting human rights activities becomes a major challenge in this region. Palestinians are denied entry into Israel. Diplomatic officials have not been spared either b y the restrictions that Israel imposes on anyone they feel is a threat t o there security or interests (Baird. 2008). This kind of environment with obstacles placed even on the parts of representatives makes it difficult for peace processes to be accomplished.

References

Asmar, F., (1975). To Be an Arab in Israel (London: Frances Pinter).

Baird. A., (2008). An Atmosphere of Reconciliation: online Journal of Peace and Conflict            Resolution, Issue 2.4, November 1999.

Bar-Zohar, M., (2008). A Biography. N Y: Delacorte Press.

Begin, M., (2001). The Revolt: Story of the Irgun. N Y: Henry Schuman.

Ben-Gurion, (2003). My Talks with Arab Leaders. N Y: Third Press.

Cohen, R., (2006). Negotiating Across Cultures., Washington: United States Institute of Peace     Press.

Edward, (1999). Orientalism. N Y: Vintage Books.

Enderlin, C., (2007). Translated from the French by Susan Fairchild, Shattered

Fisher, C. & Elizabeth, A., (2007). Beyond Machiavelli. N Y: Penguin Books.

Garr, Ted Robert, (2000). People Versus States. Washington: United States Institute of     Peace Press.

Gorkin, (1993). Days of Honey, Days of Onion: The Story of a Palestinian Family in Israel          Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hofstadter, G., (1997). Cultures and Organizations:Software of the Mind. N Y: McGraw-Hill.

Jayyusi, S. (1992) Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature. New York: Columbia       University Press.

Langfur, (2002). Confessions from a Jericho Jail: What Happened When I Refused to   Fight       the Palestinians. New York: Grove Weidenfeld.

Lederach, J. P., (2007). Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies. Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press.

Rabin, Y., (1979). The Rabin Memoirs. Boston: Little Brown.

Reinharz, (1998). The Making of a Zionist Leader and Chaim Weizman: The Making of a             Statesman, 2 vols. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schulze, K. E., (1999). The Arab-      Israeli Conflict. London: Longman.

Stephens, R., (1971). A Political Biography. London: Penguin.

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