Workshop on “The Palestinian Issue within the French and European Policy Agenda”

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The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in cooperation with PalThink for Strategic Studies conducted a workshop entitled: “The Palestinian Issue within the French and European Policy Agenda”. As part of the project “Keeping the Palestinian Cause Alive on the Regional and International Political Agendas”, the workshop participants met in Gaza City on January 8, 2019.

 

The guest speaker Mr. Alain Gresh, French Middle East expert and former editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, discussed the current French positions towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as well as the role of France within the European polices on the Middle East via Skype from Paris.

Mr. Gresh emphasized the good French relations with Israel and the PLO. He described France as the first European country to meet with PLO representatives and underlined that the country played an effective role with regards to significant European polices on the Middle East. According to the speaker, France supported the Palestinians financially and politically. The position of France towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was described as clear and based on two pillars: Palestinian self-determination  and the Two-state solution based on peaceful negotiation. Mr. Gresh added that the terror attacks in France and Europe in past years have reinforced the negative perception within the European societies against all radical Islamic groups, including Hamas, which the EU considers as terror organization. According to Mr. Gresh, the Palestinian issue is high on the agenda of the French government and all French parties.

 

A lively discussion arose between Mr. Gresh and participating civil society actors, academics and journalists. The questions of the guests focused on the possibilities of a European political re-engagement in the Middle East conflict after the dominance of the US administration in recent years.