The Policy and Conflict Resolution Studies Center (PCRSC) at AAUP in Ramallah campus hosted a lecture entitled “Upcoming European Elections and their Effect on European Policies towards the Palestinian Case”. The director of the (PCRSC) Mrs. Rula Shahwan began the lecture by expressing the importance of this meeting and its consistency with the center’s strategic plan of hosting lecturers for various topics in political and analytical talks that benefits graduate students and the local community.
The lecture was given by Director of Konrad Adenauer in Palestine Mr. Marc Frings, and the European Studies Specialist Dr. Amjad Abu Al Izz. Mr. Frings introduced The European Parliament elections explaining the ways in which 751 representatives are elected and seats are distributed based on the population of each country in Europe. He proceeded to speak about the privileges the European Union provides its citizens, the importance of spreading European unity and encouraging the European public to participate in facing the rise of populist parties that challenge the European integration. Mr Frings explained Germany’s role in the European Union with 96 seats in the new Parliament. The new President of the European Commission might even come from Germany, given that Manfred Weber heads the EPP’s list. Frings considered the current elections as determinant of Europe’s future internal and external politics and pivotal in shaping relationships within the member counties. As he addressed attendees’ questions concerning the issues affecting the Euro-Palestinian relations, particularly after the German Parliament passed a non-binding motion on BDS, Mr. Frangs called for the importance of performing a Palestinian reconciliation along with legislative and presidential elections Palestinian reconciliation along with legislative and presidential elections.
Dr. Amjad Abu Al- Izz contended that since the mid-nineties Europe has been playing a major role in the Palestinian case based on their historical relations and its own economic power, as well as benefiting from the peace process as an opportunity to change its stereotypical image of being “an economic giant but a political dwarf”. Due to weak coordination, the Union’s members disagreed on whether or not they were on the side of the United Sates. The Euro-Euro conflict and the Israeli-American opposition of any political European intervention weakened it to observer status and improvised mediation. Dr. Abu Al Izz added that the European Union has resorted to the economic and humanitarian way out to compensate for this intended mistreatment. Consequently, Europe has granted Palestinians approximately 5.6-billion-euro worth of technical and financial aid from 1993 until this day, 25 times more than what European countries received from US aid or “the Marshall Project” after the second world war. These grants have given power to the European Union and granted the Palestinian citizen the highest form of international development. Dr. Abu Al Izz concluded that the reason behind this “European generosity” could be to achieve a right to impose the European decision on negotiation tables.
Dr. Dalal Erekat stressed the importance of activating the European Union’s role toward the Palestinian case amid American President Donald Trump’s views of the Palestinian Case, and questioned whether Europe was able to play an intermediate role in pressuring the American administration to limit its control in the Middle East. Dr. Erekat mentioned policies the European Union can implement to ban European settlement products and prohibit European settlers from associating with companies that produce and distributes such products in alliance to its clear statement against the settlements and the two-state solution.