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Coming Too Late? The EU’s Mixed Approaches to Transforming the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


As is well known, the amount of aid given by international donors both to Israel and to the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt) is unparalleled in the world, but the fact that people can turn violent against their own CSOs trying to promote reconciliation speaks abundantly about the resentment that external aid can generate. Studying the nexus EU-civil society-Palestinian-Israeli conflict cannot therefore be done without a general overview of the particular setting in which aid for conflict transformation takes place. This report is articulated in four parts. The paper first briefly discusses the nature of the conflict and recent trends in its development, affecting, inter alia, the domestic context in which civil society operates. It then looks at the EU’s involvement in the conflict and presents the tools that the EU uses in its support for civil society. Moving on, it analyses the impact and effectiveness of Israeli and Palestinian civil societies (with a view on CSO typologies and activities) and suggests why the effectiveness of civil society has remained limited. Finally the paper deals with the EU’s impact and the role of EU-funded programmes supporting civil society involvement in conflict transformation, testing the different hypotheses outlined in the guiding report issued for this work package.

Paper produced in the context of the MICROCON project (Work Package 11, "Conflict in the European Neighbourhood"), funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Research Programme. Subsequent version published in Nathalie Tocci (ed.), The European Union, Civil Society and Conflict, London and New York, Routledge, 2011, p. 96-125 (Routledge/UACES contemporary European studies ; 19).

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