Timeline--European Union

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1971: First European Community assistance to the Palestinians. The first contribution was made to the regular budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). It was mainly in fields of operation, primary health and education.

1973: During the fourth Arab-Israeli conflict, the European nations, under threat of an Arab oil embargo and trade boycott, stopped supplying Israel with munitions. As a result, Israel was totally dependent on the United States to resupply its army, and was particularly sensitive to anything that might endanger that relationship.

1975: Most of the EU countries opposed the UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 which equated Zionism with racism.

1980: In June 1980, the EU put forward the Venice Declaration, which expressed support for the peace process in the Middle East. In this document, the EU affirmed the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people and highlighted the illegality of the Israeli occupation of their territories. Funding then commenced for a variety of NGO projects, in sectors such as health, agriculture, and education. Since then, the EU has tried to achieve a resolution to the conflict through its participation in the ‘quartet’ (the US, the EU, the UN, and Russia) and by seeking to apply the road map for peace, through its special envoy in the region.

1982: In September 1982, during the Israeli offensive into Lebanon, the Europeans and Americans brokered a cease-fire deal in which Arafat and the PLO were allowed to leave Lebanon under the protection of a multi-national force including 800 US Marine troops supported by US NAVY Landing Craft; Arafat and his leadership eventually arrived in Tunisia, which remained his center of operations up until 1993. Arafat returned to Lebanon a year after he was evicted, this time establishing himself in Tripoli. Instead of being expelled by Israel, this time Arafat was expelled by a fellow Palestinian working for Hafez al-Assad. Arafat did not return to Lebanon personally after this second expulsion, though many Fatah fighters did.

1991: EU played an important role in the negotiations leading to the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, which was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Arab countries including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinians.

1993: Norway, a member of the European Union in 1993 conducted secret negotiations between Israel and the PLO to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Oslo.

1995: The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership or Barcelona Process which is a wide framework of political, economic and social relations accepted the Palestinian Authority, as a full and equal partner.

1996: In 1996, the EU appointed Ambassador Miguel Moratinos as its Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process (EUSR). The EUSR’s mandate is to provide active support to actions and initiatives leading to a final settlement of the conflict; to contribute to the implementation of international agreements reached between the parties and engage with them in the event of non-compliance with these agreements; to report on possibilities for EU intervention and on the best way of pursuing EU initiatives and ongoing Middle East peace process-related EU efforts; to monitor actions by either side that might prejudice the outcome of the permanent status negotiations; and to facilitate cooperation on security issues. 1999: The European Union stated in the Berlin declaration of 24 March 1999 that it is convinced that the creation of a democratic, viable and peaceful sovereign Palestinian State on the basis of existing agreements and through negotiations would be the best guarantee of Israel's security and Israel's acceptance as an equal partner in the region. The EU statement introduced the notion of a viable Palestinian state.

2000: The European Council adopted a Common Strategy on the Mediterranean Region, committing itself to support the efforts of the parties to conclude and implement peace agreements and to consider with the help of the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the Special Representative for the Peace Process and the Commission what support the Barcelona Process can lend to stability in the Middle East.

2001: Unlike the United States, the European Union opposed Ariel Sharon, Israel's Prime Minister Confinement of the Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat to the Moqataa headquarters in Ramallah during the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Second Palestinian Intifada). - EU Foreign Minister Javier Solana participated in the drafting of the Mitchell Report.

2002: In July 2002, the "quartet" of the European Union, the United States, the United Nations, and Russia outlined the principles of a "road map" for peace, including an independent Palestinian state. The road map was released in April 2003 after the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as the first-ever Palestinian Authority Prime Minister. Both the US and Israel called for a new Prime Minister position, as both refused to work with Arafat. -The EU Seville declaration of 22 June 2002 was quite explicit on the expected solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict: A settlement can be achieved through negotiation, and only through negotiation. The objective is an end to the occupation and the early establishment of a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign State of Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders, if necessary with minor adjustments agreed by the parties. The end result should be two States living side by side within secure and recognized borders enjoying normal relations with their neighbors. In this context, a fair solution should be found to the complex issue of Jerusalem, and a just, viable and agreed solution to the problem of the Palestinian refugees. -The second EU-Israel Economic Dialogue took place on 17 October 2002 in Brussels at Senior Officials’ level as provided for by the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The meeting enabled the European Commission to deepen its understanding of the Israeli economy. It was also an opportunity for the Israeli authorities to learn about the aims and functioning of a number of EU economic policies. The Israeli Delegation made an extensive presentation of the state of the economy. Israeli officials outlined their government’s strategy on fiscal consolidation, and stated its intention to reform the labor market. They also gave an overview of financial markets, and described government plans to develop peripheral regions. The EU side presented the economic outlook for the euro area. They described developments in the euro’s international role, efforts to remove remaining sources of fragmentation in EU financial markets, and the EU strategy of structural reforms. There were exchanges of views on issues of common interest and concern such as the continuation of the recently resumed transfer of VAT and customs revenues to the Palestinian Authority. -The European Union complained about repeated degradations of Palestinian Authority resources and infrastructure by Israelis to restrict its powers of law enforcement in order to present an image of terrorism and lawlessness in the Palestinian Territories. In 2002, the French University of Paris VI and the University of Lille voted the suspension of the scientific agreement between the EU and Israel, in particular concerning the cooperation program PCRD, on the charges that article 2 of the agreement, "founded on the respect of human rights and democratic principles", was not respected by Israel. This in particular followed the deliberate destruction by Tsahal (Israel Defense Forces) of computers and other Palestinian teaching infrastructures, financed by the EU. However, the Universities, accused of anti-Semitism, later cancelled their votes.

2003: In 2003 a poll published by the Commission of the EU caused a clamor of indignation in the Jewish community when it revealed that 59% of Europeans sampled considered Israel, before both North Korea and Iran, as the biggest threat to world peace. -The European Union gave $187 million to the Palestinian Authority but has changed the way it funded the Palestinians and now targeted aid for specific purposes. From April 2003, money is only handed over if various conditions are met, such as the presentation of invoices for bills the Palestinians need to pay. The EU remains the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority.

2004: In February, the European Union (EU) anti-fraud office (OLAF) studied documents suggesting that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority had diverted tens of millions of dollars in EU funds to organizations involved in terrorist attacks, such as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. However, in August 2004, a provisional assessment stated that "To date, there is no evidence that funds from the non-targeted EU Direct Budget Assistance to the Palestinian Authority have been used to finance illegal activities, including terrorism." -The EU approved a 2004 UN resolution calling for the destruction of the Israeli "separation wall" being built in the West Bank. The Europeans frequently refer to the wall as the “wall of shame”. A deeper cause of discontent in the Israeli camp is the perception that Brussels has always shown itself to be more attentive to the suffering of Palestinians, than to the plight of the Israelis. It is this view which provokes strong feelings of injustice and resentment towards not only the institutions of the EU, but also its citizens. -The EU’s ambitious three-year European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan with Israel was endorsed by foreign ministers at the Association Council in December 2004, and entered into force in April 2005. Ten sub-committees have been established to enable the EU and Israel jointly to oversee and manage the detailed technical work of the Action Plan.

2005: The EU provided financial support for a Joint Israel-Palestinian Energy Office which was created in the second half of 2005, to help officials to better plan and co-ordinate energy needs. -At the request of the Israeli government, and with the backing of the Palestinian Authority, a trilateral EU-Israel-Palestinian Authority working group on trade issues has been established. It held its first meeting in Brussels in July 2005. Its principal aim is to liaise on trade issues following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. - In an official speech in August 2005, the EU “praised the courage of Ariel Sharon, the then Israeli prime minister, and his government for having put in place a plan of disengagement […], an important step on the road map to peace” after Israel’s evacuation of 7,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in the summer of 2005.

2006: The European parliament condemned the Israeli army’s raid on a Palestinian prison in Jericho further overheating the relationship between Jerusalem and the EU

-Following Hamas' victory in January 2006, the EU announced that future aid to the Palestinians is tied to "Three Principles" outlined by the international community: Hamas must renounce violence, Hamas must recognize Israel's right to exist and Hamas must express clear support for the Middle East peace process, as outlined in the Oslo accords.

-After the eruption of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, the EU released a statement of concern over the disproportionate use of Israeli force in Lebanon and deplored the loss of civilian lives and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. It further unjustified the imposition of an air and sea blockade on Lebanon



































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