French and German foreign policy with regard to Israel-Palestine, 1998-2005
Title: French and German foreign policy with regard to Israel-Palestine, 1998-2005
Author: LLORCA, Sébastien
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2007
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
Palestine between 1998 and 2005. Special attention is also drawn to the period of Sharon’s mandate and the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2001-2005). The thesis has two main objectives. The first is to draw a clearer picture of the ways in which French and German foreign policy towards Israel- Palestine has been socially constructed. The second is to better understand the reasons why France and Germany, key powers at the heart of the EU, did not furnish the efforts required in order to broker a peace deal in the Middle East that lived up to their own - as well as the EU’s - rhetoric and official 'dedication' to the conflict. First, I consider the respective processes of foreign policy making in France and Germany. After examining bilateral relations between France, Germany, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, I shed some light on the evolution of French and German national ‘positions’ and identify those who have played an important role in shaping this process. Subsequently, I propose to evaluate how foreign policy makers and leaders eventually take decisions. I therefore highlight major domestic and external sources of influence, and study how foreign policy makers prioritise among conflicting interests and such influential factors. Finally, I suggest in what respect these actors gave, or failed to give, their national diplomacy a vision, a strategy and solid boundaries within which to work. At first sight, it might be said that the dominant role of the United States in the Middle East, combined with internal divisions in Europe, in large part explain the weakness of France, Germany and the EU in the Middle East diplomatic arena between 1998 and 2005. However, my research also specifically tests the hypothesis that the collective memory of the Holocaust, its contemporary use and its cultural domestic meaning, in both France and Germany, have been central and even decisive in the elaboration of their respective positions. The set of norms and values linked to collective memory and shared by key decision-makers has constituted a major paralysing factor. In other words, a sense of historical responsibility and of Israeli 'exceptionalism' has developed in France and Germany. This has shaped the perception of the conflict and prevented both countries, and the EU itself, from playing a more pro-active role in the peace negotiations. From a theoretical perspective, this research contributes to foreign policy analysis in the field of International Relations. In addition, the focus on the social construction of a particular foreign policy clearly places this research in the constructivist tradition. However, the thesis is not primarily designed as an argument in favour or against a particular approach. Neither is the conflict merely a ‘case-study’, aimed at highlighting the weaknesses of any pre-conceived theoretical concepts or tools. The objective is to demonstrate the ways in which a particular set of norms and values, both in France and in Germany, may exert a decisive influence at various stages of the foreign policy making process.
LC Subject Heading: France -- International relations -- Israel; Germany -- International -- Israel; France -- International -- Palestine; Germany -- International -- Palestine
Defence date: 14 December 2007; Examining board: Prof. Bertrand Badie, IEP Paris and CERI ; Prof. Martin Beck, GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies ; Prof. Friedrich Kratochwil, EUI Supervisor ; Prof. Pascal Vennesson, EUI
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