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US 'Peace Plan' for the Middle East

07-02-2020

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority ...

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have been united in rejecting the proposal, and the PA has since cut ties with Israel and the USA. The plan is meant to serve as the basis for future direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to stretch over four years. However, the Israeli government has announced plans to implement parts of it unilaterally in the near future.

Russia in the Middle East: From sidelines to centre stage

21-11-2018

In 2011, it looked as if the Arab Spring uprisings would deal a further blow to Russia's declining influence in the Middle East, by toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of Moscow's few remaining allies in the region. In 2015, Russia launched a military intervention. Though it came at an enormous humanitarian cost, the campaign succeeded in saving Assad's regime, at the same time as reversing the Middle Eastern fortunes of Russia as Assad's main international backer. Russia's involvement ...

In 2011, it looked as if the Arab Spring uprisings would deal a further blow to Russia's declining influence in the Middle East, by toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of Moscow's few remaining allies in the region. In 2015, Russia launched a military intervention. Though it came at an enormous humanitarian cost, the campaign succeeded in saving Assad's regime, at the same time as reversing the Middle Eastern fortunes of Russia as Assad's main international backer. Russia's involvement in Syria has given its relations with neighbouring countries a new momentum. Despite divergent interests, Iran, Turkey and Israel cooperate with Russia and acknowledge its leadership in Syria. Russia's success in imposing its agenda in Syria has bolstered its influence throughout the wider region. Although Moscow's role is not always a constructive one, it has become a key actor and sometimes a mediator in regional conflicts from Libya to Yemen. Russia's regional clout is also helped by its skilful use of energy cooperation to further economic and geopolitical interests. Russia's drive to become a major Middle Eastern player should be seen in the wider context of global geopolitical rivalry with the United States. Moscow's growing influence in the region is as much the result of Western policy failures as its own strength.

Russia [What Think Tanks are thinking]

21-09-2018

In September, Russia held its largest military exercise since 1981, the height of the Cold War, deploying 300 000 troops and also inviting Chinese forces to participate. The event highlighted Russia’s growing assertiveness in security and foreign policy, following its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Syria. The policies of President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected earlier this year, pose a dilemma for the European Union and the United States, with some observers accusing him of ...

In September, Russia held its largest military exercise since 1981, the height of the Cold War, deploying 300 000 troops and also inviting Chinese forces to participate. The event highlighted Russia’s growing assertiveness in security and foreign policy, following its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Syria. The policies of President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected earlier this year, pose a dilemma for the European Union and the United States, with some observers accusing him of trying to sabotage Western liberal democracy and others saying that he wants to regain the position of global player that the Soviet Union once occupied. This note offers links to commentaries and studies by major international think tanks, which discuss Russia's policies and how to respond to them. More reports on the topic can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking', published in March 2018. Some more papers on US-Russian relations are available in another edition from the series published in August 2018.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, December 2017

15-12-2017

The December session highlights were the pre-European Council debate, including on the state of play of 'Brexit' negotiations, as well as the debate on foreign, security and defence policy, with a statement from Federica Mogherini on PESCO. Members also debated US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the PANA Committee of Inquiry report. Parliament adopted, inter alia, the 'Omnibus' regulation for agriculture, extension of EFSI, and a regulation on aviation emissions.

The December session highlights were the pre-European Council debate, including on the state of play of 'Brexit' negotiations, as well as the debate on foreign, security and defence policy, with a statement from Federica Mogherini on PESCO. Members also debated US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the PANA Committee of Inquiry report. Parliament adopted, inter alia, the 'Omnibus' regulation for agriculture, extension of EFSI, and a regulation on aviation emissions.

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

11-12-2017

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely ...

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely condemned as a violation of international law and a political provocation. However, it leaves open the possibility to address the status of the city as part of a comprehensive peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Energy: a shaping factor for regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean?

16-05-2017

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and ...

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and political stability. However, initial expectations largely cooled down over time, particularly due to delays in investment decision in Israel and the downward revision of gas resources in Cyprus. These developments even raised scepticism about the idea of the Eastern Mediterranean becoming a sizeable gas-exporting region. But initial expectations were revived in 2015, after the discovery of the large Zohr gas field in offshore Egypt. Considering its large size, this discovery has reshaped the regional gas outlook, and has also raised new regional cooperation prospects. However, multiple lines of conflict in the region continue to make future Eastern Mediterranean gas activities a major geopolitical issue. This study seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of all these developments, with the ultimate aim of assessing the realistic implications of regional gas discoveries for both Eastern Mediterranean countries and the EU.

Externý autor

Simone TAGLIAPIETRA

Jewish communities in the European Union

22-09-2016

Europe’s Jewish population has been diminishing in recent decades, and a growing number of anti-Semitic acts and anti-Jewish violence have been occurring in recent years in the EU. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism.

Europe’s Jewish population has been diminishing in recent decades, and a growing number of anti-Semitic acts and anti-Jewish violence have been occurring in recent years in the EU. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): State of play

11-04-2016

Despite hopes to the contrary, nuclear weapons are making a comeback in the strategic planning of nuclear-armed states. The decline in nuclear arsenals worldwide is accompanied by investment in more modern nuclear weapons and delivery systems, stepping further away from the disarmament pledges the nuclear weapon states assumed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and challenging the foundations of the Treaty. Adding to the risk of undermining the NPT's relevance and credibility are the ...

Despite hopes to the contrary, nuclear weapons are making a comeback in the strategic planning of nuclear-armed states. The decline in nuclear arsenals worldwide is accompanied by investment in more modern nuclear weapons and delivery systems, stepping further away from the disarmament pledges the nuclear weapon states assumed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and challenging the foundations of the Treaty. Adding to the risk of undermining the NPT's relevance and credibility are the nuclear-armed states outside the NPT which are not bound by key international non-proliferation and disarmament obligations. The NPT Review Conference in 2015 addressed the states parties' effective implementation of their commitments under the NPT, as well as the enormous challenges ahead. Although the conference ended in failure to agree a consensus on an outcome document, the increased adherence to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons initiative is believed to provide those states which are interested with a way forward towards pursuing the NPT goal of a nuclear-free world.

Water in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13-01-2016

The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza is one of the fastest growing in the world and its demand for water is increasing. Access and distribution of water in these territories has been an issue within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967. In 1995, the Oslo II Accord adopted a quantitative approach to the water issue, detailing the quantities to be allocated to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, but did not sufficiently take into account the natural, political and ...

The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza is one of the fastest growing in the world and its demand for water is increasing. Access and distribution of water in these territories has been an issue within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967. In 1995, the Oslo II Accord adopted a quantitative approach to the water issue, detailing the quantities to be allocated to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, but did not sufficiently take into account the natural, political and socio-economic developments that have affected water supply and demand in the region since. Economic disparities, lack of substantial and sufficient infrastructure and of effective water resources management, compounded by pollution and climate change have led to disproportionate allocation of water and to substantial depletion and contamination of water resources. Water consumption by Israelis and Palestinians reflects stark inequalities. Due to the allocations of trans-boundary water resources agreed upon under Oslo II, Israel currently controls approximately 80% of water reserves in the West Bank. Military conflict in Gaza in the summer of 2014 left over a million residents without access to water. The international community and the EU have expressed concern over the limited access to water in the West Bank and Gaza, and have become active on the issue of water management. Reports from the European Commission (EuropeAid) highlight that technical and humanitarian assistance on water issues has to go hand in hand with progress on the political front, in order for effectiveness to be maximised and for long-term results to be achieved.

International Agreements - Review and Monitoring Clauses: A Rolling Check-List

11-12-2015

This study provides an implementation monitoring tool which allows for a systematic overview of review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses as well as management and implementation clauses that are included in international agreements concluded between the EU and third countries. As an implementation monitoring tool, this study intends to provide a systematic overview of review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses as well as management and implementation clauses present in international agreements ...

This study provides an implementation monitoring tool which allows for a systematic overview of review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses as well as management and implementation clauses that are included in international agreements concluded between the EU and third countries. As an implementation monitoring tool, this study intends to provide a systematic overview of review and monitoring clauses, sunset clauses as well as management and implementation clauses present in international agreements which are concluded between the EU and third countries. While the review and monitoring clauses refer to the process of assessing the implementation of international agreements, the sunset clauses refer to the duration of international agreements. The management and implementation clauses describe the composition of the body in charge of supervising the management of the agreement and eventually define special procedures for the management or implementation of the agreements.

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