About

The European Middle East Project (EuMEP) is a small and independent organisation in Brussels specialising in European and international policies on one of the most sensitive and protracted conflicts in the world: Israel-Palestine.

EuMEP promotes just, fact-based and effective policies towards both sides of the conflict by the EU, European governments and the wider international community, based on respect for international law and equal human dignity of all Israelis and Palestinians.

EuMEP’s priorities, positions and materials are informed by leading civil society organisations and experts in Israel, Palestine, Europe and worldwide with whom it works closely.

EuMEP is registered as a non-profit association in Belgium and started operating in June 2015.

Activities

  • Analysis: EuMEP closely monitors and analyses European and international policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and develops concrete recommendations.
  • Advocacy: EuMEP engages and is consulted by policymakers and diplomats, briefs media and occasionally publishes op-eds and papers.
  • Coordination: EuMEP works as a “catalyst” with a large network of informal partners – European, international, Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations and experts – providing advice and input into their activities, kick-starting initiatives, and building and coordinating coalitions. This creates a “multiplier effect” that goes far beyond what one organisation can achieve alone.

Distinctive approach

  • Highly flexible modus operandi in choosing priorities, altering ways of working and adapting to fast-changing developments.
  • Informed stance based on close following of European policy processes as well as of the situation on the ground.
  • Focus on policy solutions rather than just awareness-raising about the situation on the ground.
  • Working across different civil society sectors and approaches: human rights, humanitarian, peace-building, thinktanks, etc.

Focus

EuMEP’s work is addressing various aspects of the conflict, including among others:

  • European response to Israel’s expanding settlements, which are illegal under international law and threaten to make peace impossible.
  • Israeli demolitions of Palestinian buildings and infrastructure in occupied territory, including of European-funded aid projects.
  • The inter-Palestinian split and the EU’s role in enabling reconciliation and reversal of authoritarian tendencies.
  • General European strategy on Israel and Palestine in a changing international context.

EuMEP has also been active on other issues, including accountability for grave violations of international law by all sides, the closure of the Gaza Strip, and the increasing restrictions against human rights organisations by both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

Beyond the roles of the EU and European governments, EuMEP closely follows FIFA’s and UEFA’s dealing with the issue of football clubs in Israeli settlements. The clubs play in the Israeli football competition in violation of FIFA’s rules, thus legitimising illegal settlements that undermine peace.

Core principles and positions

  • International law and human rights are essential, impartial and universal standards to which all parties to the conflict should be held accountable.
  • Freedom, security and dignity are paramount for people on both sides.
  • A fair policy treats Israelis and Palestinians as equals; their lives and rights matter equally.
  • An effective policy takes adequate measures and incentives to promote respect for international law and bring about a peaceful resolution.
  • Peace can only be viable and lasting if it is just and mutually acceptable.
  • Any form of bigotry, antisemitism and anti-Arab racism must be resolutely opposed.

EuMEP is not part of the BDS movement, but respects its legitimacy as a non-violent and rights-based means of challenging the occupation.

Why focus on Europe’s role vis-a-vis Israel-Palestine?

  • The very possibility of a peaceful solution to the decades-old conflict is rapidly disappearing and may soon be lost, partly due to European and international inaction.
  • Europe applies double standards, for example by lack of support for the International Criminal Court’s involvement, promoted by the EU in other conflict situations around the world.
  • The conflict is a source of instability on Europe’s doorstep, fuelling extremism and polarising communities in Europe (incl. by feeding antisemitism), and risks producing further waves of refugees if unresolved.
  • The EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner, biggest partner in science and technology, and biggest donor of aid to the Palestinians. However, it fails to use this leverage.
  • European and international policymakers dealing with the conflict are subject to lobby pressure and misinformation, probably more than in the context of any other conflict.
  • Nowhere else in the world are millions of people kept under military occupation for over 50 years with far-reaching restrictions on their basic rights and without citizenship, while their territory is being populated by settlers with vastly superior rights.
  • Europe has a special historic responsibility to help resolve the conflict and ensure the well-being of both peoples.