Israel and the EU have, in a sense, a "compartmentalized" relationship; a
strong economic partnership and a weak political partnership.
Barring the instances in
which the EU threatens the economic relationship on political grounds, the two tracks
appear to independently coexist.
|"Israel and the EU have... a
strong economic partnership and a weak political partnership."|
Europe has a clear political tilt toward the Arab stance in the ArabIsraeli
conflict, despite the fact that under Israels Labor Government from 1992-1996
political relations between the parties were warmer. This tendency to adopt Arab
negotiating positions is based on a host of historical, political, economic and cultural
factors. Although Europe values Israels status as a strong, stable, high-tech
nation, ultimately the EU has far greater economic, political and cultural interests in
the Arab and Muslim world.
Finally, the EU considers the stalemated Arab-Israeli peace process a threat to its
Euro-Mediterranean framework. Although the framework is supposed to exist independent of
the Arab-Israeli peace process, since Israelis a member of the framework, the Arab states
have not been able to keep the Euro-Med process separate from the peace process.
As tensions persist in the Arab-Israeli peace process, there is no doubt that the EU
will continue to face Israeli charges of one-sidedness and hostility.