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What Can Pro-Democracy Activists in Arab Countries Expect from the European Union? Lessons from the Union's Relations with Israel

Neve Gordon and Sharon Pardo
Mon, 03/11/2013

In this article, we analyze the European Union’s (EU) approach to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, showing that there is a wide gap between its normative opposition to the occupation, Israel’s expanding settlement project, and the EU’s foreign trade policy. Our argument is not only that there is no evidence of norm diffusion from the EU to Israel, but that within the EU itself there is no diffusion from the normative political stance to the EU’s economic interests. The Israeli case suggests that
the pro-democracy activists of Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria should be aware that the trade interests of the EU Member States will ultimately trump the EU’s political declarations.

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