International seminar co-organized by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and GVC-Italia.
The EU has long been committed to a two state framework in Israel/Palestine. Yet, this vision hinges on Palestinian access and right to development in Area C, presently comprising over 60% of the West Bank. Under complete Israeli military and civil authority, Palestinian communities in Area C are not permitted to build and EU-funded humanitarian structures have been repeatedly demolished or confiscated by the Israeli authorities.
In recent years, and against the backdrop of a complete stalemate on the diplomatic track, the EU and its member states have sought to enhance the effectiveness of their assistance to Palestinian communities in Area C in an effort to preserve the applicability of a two-state framework for Israel and Palestine. In particular, a number of states have begun exploring means to switch from a short-term, and largely ad hoc provision of emergency humanitarian assistance to more long-term forms of sustainable development. These efforts have often collided with the Israeli planning and building regime, which severely restricts Palestinian rights and access to the land as well as the activities of international humanitarian and developmental organizations on the ground.
The seminar addressed Italy’s and the EU’s evolving strategy towards Area C highlighting the primary impediments, risks and constraints impacting humanitarian and developmental projects in the area. Invited speakers included diplomats, NGO experts, researchers and academics who provided detailed accounts of current and future initiatives in Area C and discussed potential strategies at the national and EU level that may help to improve long-term developmental initiatives for the area in the context of the EU’s policy of support for two states in Israel/Palestine. Particular attention was directed at efforts to enhance coordination between the EU and its member states in the context of the provision of humanitarian and development aid to Area C as well as the experiences and priorities of Italian Development Cooperation in Palestine.