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The end of Old Certainties Breaking With US Middle East Policy

The EU’s role in the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) has often been the most decisive when the Europeans dared to take the initiative. In 1980 the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC) issued the Venice Declaration, which called for recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the right to Palestinian self-determination. The EEC’s move came in reaction to the standstill that American peace efforts had produced.

Today in the hallways of the European Commission the Venice Declaration is often cited as a proud moment in the EU’s history and as an example what the EU should eventually do to regain its relevance in the stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. That the time for such an initiative might be ripe was recently demonstrated by President Trump’s decision to break with a staple of the Two State formula – the agreement that the status of Jerusalem would only be decided in final status talks between the conflict’s parties.

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Kristian BRAKEL
Director of Heinrich Böll Foundation in Istanbul

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