EU’s Response to Gaza Conflict Raises Questions

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The European Union’s response to the Gaza conflict has raised questions about the bloc’s ability to agree on cohesive foreign policy matters. The EU’s statement to Israel, calling for it to abide by international humanitarian law and minimize casualties, came late despite the civilian population in Gaza being cut off from food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. The EU’s partners in the region, including King Abdullah of Jordan, condemned the statement as lackluster and late. The growing humanitarian disaster and intensity of Israel’s military campaign are unlikely to change the EU’s position, according to experts.

Divisions Among Member States

As the war escalates, divisions among member states could further delegitimize the bloc as a foreign policy actor. Some countries, such as Germany, may be more pro-Israeli in their stance and articulation of Israel’s right to defend itself than the United States. These differences in perspective could open up a rift within the European Council and subtract from European legitimacy, especially as the divisions among member states are likely to get worse.

EU’s Role to Play

Despite the EU’s ambivalence over the rights of Palestinians, it still has a role to play in the conflict. The EU committed to supporting an International Peace Forum aimed at resuscitating long-lost hope of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians. Pierre Vimont, a former head of the EU’s External Action Service, believes that the EU has a handicap with regard to Arab countries and other partners in the South who have lost confidence in the EU’s diplomacy. However, he insists that the EU must rebuild its relationships and reach out to all of them. Vimont also highlighted that the EU was the one that came up with the idea of a two-state solution and the need for self-determination for the Palestinians. These breakthroughs were followed by the US, who took up some of the European ideas.

SOURCE: Ref Image from Ultimedia

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