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Carnegie Europe has asked a set of experts, academics and journalists a simple question on Gaza :

"Has the War in Gaza Irreversibly Damaged Europe’s Credibility? »(1)


 The answers are unanimous : an unqualified « YES ».

Here is a selection of most significant passages of the 10 answers :


The bottom line is that the EU has long been seen as a “payer” and not as a “player” in the MENA region.


“No country has suffered more damage because of its stance on the Gaza war than Germany,” a former Egyptian diplomat has argued.

Governments in the rest of the Global South will accuse Europeans of double standards when they seek support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia

What maybe hurts most is that many opposition and civil society voices standing up for rights and freedom seem to have turned away in disgust.


Europe’s long-standing reputation as an “honest broker” in the Middle East is certainly damaged

By condemning Hamas for its October 7 attack and refusing to scold Israel for flattening and starving Gaza, they have lost much credibility.


Deep dismay at the EU’s failure to stand up for international law on Gaza has unfortunately wrecked its reputation not just among Arab citizens and other Muslims but also, more generally, among people in the Global South.


The situation on the ground, also in the West Bank, makes (the two sate-solution) unfeasible. The Palestinian state would not have territorial continuity of any sorts, the status of Jerusalem as a shared capital is a pipe dream, and the settlements have rendered the “land for peace” formula untenable.


Member-states’ competing interests and distinct relationships with both Israel and Palestine means that a coherent and credible foreign policy response is once again proving elusive for the EU.


The reputational damage goes hand in hand with Europe’s staggering loss of influence in the MENA region. It is also likely to set narrow limits on the Europeans’ ability to play a constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Europe’s response to the war in Gaza has greatly undermined its credibility in the Middle East and beyond. Europe and the West more broadly framed their defense of Ukraine as a defense of the international order and the principles of international law. Many countries outside the West have always felt that Europeans were selective in how they approached international law


First, official statements of most European countries clarify that international humanitarian law barely applies to Israel. Even critics like Ireland, Spain, and Belgium have not taken action despite the wholesale destruction of Gaza.

Second, many European politicians remain on friendly terms with Israel’s government despite the latter being the architect of occupation, giving free rein to settlers it subsidizes and protects, and allowing extremist groups like Tsav 9 to block humanitarian aid into Gaza in direct contravention of the International Court of Justice.


The ongoing European hesitations over calling for a pause or a ceasefire in Gaza while the humanitarian situation is reaching unbearable limits has broken the trust between Europe and its partners.

JG GIRAUD 28/03/24





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