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ELNET (European Leadership Network)

Europe has the capacity to play a central role in the promotion of peace and security in the Middle East—a goal defined by Brussels as a strategic priority. In 2002, the EU, UN, U.S. and Russia formed an alliance "Quartet" represented by former British PM Tony Blair to mediate Middle East peace negotiations. Additionally, with two permanent members at the UN Security Council and 28 votes at the UN General Assembly, the EU is a key player in the adoption of UN resolutions vis-à-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict. As the largest political, economic and military power in the Mediterranean and with its vast diplomatic network and long historical presence in the Middle East, Europe maintains solid relations with many Arab countries as well as with Israel. These relationships can enable Europe to play a pivotal role in bridging parties. Traditionally, European countries contributed to regional stability by sending peacekeeping forces in charge of preventing conflict escalation to the Middle East, for instance in the framework of the UNIFIL II mission, currently operating at the border between Israel and Lebanon.

 

However, more recent disagreements between Israel and Europe over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alongside European critique of Israeli activities have occasionally resulted in Europe being portrayed as an unfair mediator. Therefore Europe has been unable to maximize its role in reconciling the disagreements between Israel and its neighbors.

 

ELNET strongly supports the pursuit of peace through direct negotiations between Israel and its neighbors, as well as European efforts to promote direct talks between the parties involved. ELNET believes that peace efforts would be fostered by a fruitful dialogue between Europe and Israel, which must take into account Israel's legitimate aspirations for security and its political concerns. To this end, ELNET has promoted high-level exchanges between Israel and key European countries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and hosted dozens of face-to-face meetings between European and Israeli leaders and negotiators involved in the peace process.

From our point of view, a unilateral recognition of the Palestinian state would not move us forward on the way to a two-state solution. The aim should be that both sides agree on a two-state solution - Israel and a future Palestine – co-existing side by side.
Angela Merkel Germany's Chancellor