Shaping Discourse and Setting Examples: Normative PowerEurope can Work in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

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Anders Persson

The conventional wisdom in the literature on EU–Israel/Palestine relations is that the EU has only displayed very limited, if any, normative power in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Previous studies have focused on the ability, or rather inability, of the EU to diffuse any of the core norms behind Ian Manners' concept of ‘Normative Power Europe’ (NPE) into the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, while tending to ignore the ability of the EU to shape what is considered normal in many aspects of the conflict – either by making others adopt its policies, or by contributing to creating consensus around an issue. By using Tuomas Forsberg's framework of four different mechanisms of normative power: persuasion, invoking norms, shaping the discourse and the power of example on three important case studies from the conflict (EC/EU's declaratory diplomacy on the need for a just peace in the conflict, the Palestinians' bid for statehood at the UN in 2011 and the emerging ‘differentiation strategy’), this article concludes that the EU has much more normative power in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict than the literature has previously acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1415-1431
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

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