The EU and the IsraeliPalestinian Conflict 19712013

In Pursuit of a Just Peace

By (author) Anders Persson

Publication date:

21 October 2014

Length of book:

208 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739192443

Just peace has been much talked about in everyday life, but it is less well researched by academics. The rationale of this book is therefore to probe what constitutes a just peace, both conceptually within the field of peacebuilding and empirically in the context of the EU as a peacebuilder in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The EU has used the term just peace in many of its most important declarations on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict throughout the years. Defining a just peace is about these declaratory efforts by the EU to articulate a common formula of a just peace in the conflict. Securing and building a just peace are about the EU’s role in implementing this formula for a just peace in the conflict through the creation of a Palestinian state.

As the EU enters its fifth decade of involvement in the conflict, there can be little doubt that in common with the rest of the international community it has failed in its efforts to establish a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. While this is an inescapable overall conclusion from four decades of EC/EU peacebuilding in the conflict, it is, at the same time, possible to draw a number of other conclusions from this book. Most importantly, it argues that the EU is a major legitimizing power in the conflict and that it has kept the prospects of a two-state solution alive through its support for the Palestinian statebuilding process.
Anders Persson raises critical questions about the ‘notion of just peace’ in EU diplomacy. Though the notion ‘just peace’ has been used consistently in the EU’s declaratory diplomacy over decades, it received only sparse attention. Previous research predominantly focused on the cumbersome process of forging internal political compromise on the EU’s conflict resolution policy. This book shifts focus by elaborating on the intersubjective nature of just peace and the way the EU’s own notion of a just peace has evolved over time. While the book touches on several important issues and is empirically rich, it is its particular conceptual focus on the notion of ‘just peace’ that makes it unique and will stimulate the reader’s thinking. It almost seems paradoxical, but at a time when the feasibility of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel is more and more questioned, the EU’s own view of a just solution to the longstanding conflict has crystalized into an increasingly elaborated vision of a two-state settlement.