The Forum of Strategic Dialogue (FSD) and the European Leadership Network (ELNET) EU & NATO successfully held their Fifth EU-Israel Strategic Dialogue together with our Brussels partner, the European Policy Centre (EPC), on “The EU and Israel in the wake of COVID-19”. The dialogue was held virtually and addressed the turbulent Middle East and its impact on the EU and Israel, with a focus on the major regional policy challenges – Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In its second part, the dialogue addressed challenges, opportunities and the way forward for the EU-Israel relations.
The dialogue evolved significantly around the prospects of unilateral application of Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank. It was made clear that such a move is not only rejected by the EU but could also carry negative consequences regarding EU-Israel relations, though Europe has not yet delved into and decided on the practical consequences for the relationship. Specifically, it could trigger some punitive measures on the EU level, thereby impacting scientific, trade and other types of cooperation (in such programmes as Horizon Europe, Erasmus etc.).
Participants included senior officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Strategic Affairs, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission and the EU Council, Israel’s National Security Council, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), politicians, as well as former officials, experts and journalists from Europe and Israel.