On Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, the monthly meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels is expected to discuss and decide on next steps to be adopted by the EU on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Policy-makers in Israel are worried as they fear an expansion of European efforts to isolate Israel’s settlements.
As it discusses next steps, Europe must recognize that “the US leads” approach to resolving the conflict is doomed to never-ending failure: It affords time for the Israeli settlement enterprise to further entrench itself and makes the two-state solution increasingly impossible to achieve. It is blindingly clear -- in light of two decades of failed bilateral negotiations under American auspices -- that US leadership of conflict resolution efforts is pointless and counter-productive.
If Europe’s policy is to achieve two states for two peoples, it will have to pursue an independent policy position that circumvents the Americans. Moreover, the substance of European policy will have to be more consequential than policy changes to the EU Guidelines for participation in the Horizon 2020 program that exclude settlements, or requiring that Israeli settlement products be labeled while allowing their trade to continue.