The low diplomatic weight of the EU in the Middle East

This time it is different.

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has become radicalized, with Hamas in Gaza and ultranationalists in Tel Aviv guiding military actions. Political games and power struggles are more present than ever in the Middle East.

A difficult situation to manage for European diplomacy, eager to play a role in the region.

Israel says there is no time to talk because the Hamas offensive is an existential threat. “Our intention is very clear: to put an end to any terrorist attack from Gaza by the terrorist organization Hamas and Iran, which attack civilians in Israeli cities and towns,” said Walid Abu Haya, Israel’s deputy ambassador to Israel. the European Union.

President Biden’s United States has changed the rhetoric regarding the Trump administration. But Washington continues to support Israel and insists on its right to defend itself.

Meanwhile, Israel accuses Iran of wanting to expand its dominance around its borders. And Turkey has clearly shown its support for the Palestinians.

“President Erdogan does not give up his dream of leading a new model of Ottoman empire. And he has shown it in other conflicts with his presence in Libya, in Nagorno Karabakh and many other places. But unfortunately what guides Erdogan is not to find one. solution to the current conflict, but their own interests to take leadership in the Middle East, “says Evin Icir, Swedish MEP from the Socialist group.

EU diplomacy is barely audible due to its own internal divisions, beyond the French bid to involve Egyptian President Al Sisi as an intermediary.

For the past thirty years, the EU has played the investment card in exchange for a political evolution that it has never achieved, despite its strong trade ties with Israel.

“The trade part is really very important because the EU is Israel’s main trading partner, also when it comes to other forms of cooperation such as research. The EU is really the most important bilateral partner in everything related to the economy. But when it comes to politics, the actor is the United States. Partly because the EU has not been able to translate its economic relationship into political influence, “explains Martin Konecny, member of the NGO European Middle East Project.

As for Palestine, European multi-annual aid amounts to 1.28 billion euros, which is used to finance everything from justice to infrastructure.

But once again, “realpolitik” prevails over goodwill and constructive approaches.