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European policy - Case Study Example

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Policy should be rooted in geography" says Paul-Marie de La Gorce1, "and the world map puts Europe and the Middle East ' directly in contact with each other". Additionally, 'economic, cultural and human factors' would also seem to impose close relations between these two regions in that 72% of oil consumed in western Europe are imported from the Middle East and "the largest foreign communities" there are of Islamic persuasion…
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European policy
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Download file to see previous pages The period was marked by five Arab-Israeli wars, the crucial one being, the six-day war in June 1967 when Israel occupied the Syrian Golan Heights, the Jordanian West-Bank, and the Egyptian Sinai Desert, including the Gaza Strip.
From the time that Britain withdrew from the Middle East in the years after WWII, the presence and influence of the erstwhile European colonial powers in that region has been minimal. But that influence and power have been replaced by the US, with sporadic inroads sought to be made by Russia either on its own initiatives or on invitation one or the other of some Arab states. One explanation why this happened was that the Europeans had developed a mindset after all that had happened in WW II that it was in their interest to accept the United States "as their common leader".2
However, for some years during the period of the Cold War, France sought to follow somewhat of a 'lonely foreign policy. France had warned Israel against going to war against the Arabs in 1967, even though de Gaulle had good personal relations with Israel's Ben-Gurion. What may be termed a French "Arab policy" had taken shape a few years earlier, at the end of the Algerian war in 1962. In the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, public opinion in the West had been sympathetic to and generally "supportive" of Israel. So, France's warning to Israel before the 1967 war and condemnation after it had particularly endeared France to the Arab world. However, de La Gorce states that this 'Arab policy' of France -if it could be called as such was "in fact merely the logical extension of de Gaulle's overall foreign policy and his encouragement of states not wanting to belong to either of the two major blocs."3 Thus France's approach to Arab-Israeli confrontation was far removed from that of the other members of the European community. France was, of course, of the view that unconditional endorsement of Israel's animosity would only prolong the conflict but would also help to further build up the intensity of frustration and consequent violence. But France was not able to influence the policy or to exert any significant impact on other European states from altering their stance vis-'-vis the Arab states.
The oil shock of 1973
France's approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict thus was an 'isolated one' in Europe - but only until October 1973. In October 1973 the Arab oil producing states raised oil prices by 500% and imposed an oil embargo, which shocked the western world. The European states were shaken out their smugness in relation to the Arab world and forced to think anew. The European community members met the same month and called for a 'political' settlement of the Arab-Israeli problem, including the Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories since 1967 and acknowledging the rights of the Palestinian people. The nine Member States of the European Community issued a statement on November 6, 1973 that referred to UN resolution 242 and mentioned the 'legitimate rights' ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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