The Commercial Role of EU in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

The first session of the ME 2.0 Palestinian-Israeli Young Business Leaders Forum took place on January 19th in Tel Aviv and was devoted to the role of the EU in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, economic and peace building vise. Before the discussion with the representatives of the EU delegation in Israel, the members were updated about internal matters of the forum, about the annual program and concrete cooperation initiatives for this year. In addition two new members introduced themselves, their work background and their motivation to join. Veteran members reported on their participation in national, regional and international events and conferences relevant for the forum’s discussions and objectives.

The second half of the session was comprised of an intensive discussions between the forum members and the interlocutors on behalf of the EU delegation in Israel, Jan Freigang, political officer at the Political Section of the EU delegation in Israel and Sharon Offenberger, co-manager of the EU’s Peace Building Initiative Program. Main topics raised and discussed were the EU’s contribution to economic, infrastructural and agricultural development and capacity buildings, especially in the Palestinian territories and in Gaza. Also the EU’s promotion of the peace process was intensively and critically discussed in the political and civil society context. Naturally, the Palestinian and Israeli forum members showed special interest in the recently in the media widely and controversially discussed EU measures regarding Israeli products from the  Occupied Territories, their origin in international and consumer law and their implications for the trade and the political discourse.  But also very concrete and technical aspects of the trade relations with the EU regarding export and import regulations were raised by the young entrepreneurs based on their own