A few days only after the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found dead near the contentious city of Hebron, the body of a 17-year-old Palestinian was in his turn found on the outskirts of Jerusalem yesterday. This succession of events has increasingly strained relations in the region, leading to the largest clashes in the Occupied side of the city in years.
Tensions between Israel and Palestine rise as Israel deploys around 2,000 troops in southern West Bank on 14 June. Israeli military command has announced its plan to step up its military operations in the region in order to locate three abducted Israeli teens. Troops have sealed of most entrances to the city of Hebron on 15 June and increased its military presence to 2,500 troops. In the city of Ramallah a Palestinian protester was killed as Israeli troops expand their pressure on the Palestinians.
On 2 June a Palestinian unity government, containing Fatah and Hamas, has been sworn in. According to media this event marks a “key step towards ending a major rift between factions in the West Bank and Gaza.”
On Wednesday 23 April, a meeting of Palestinian leaders resulted in a reconciliation pact between the Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas. Both groups agreed to form a national government under the umbrella of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The US and Israel fear the new-found unity might derail the peace process.
A Fatah meeting in the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, was violently disrupted by Hamas police on Saturday 8 March. Fatah members gathered in remembrance of martyrs who fell during the Intifada. About twenty people got arrested, but were released after a short while.
Israeli Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu said he was prepared to discuss peace with the Palestinians, but offered no concessions. He demanded that the Palestinians would recognize the state of Israel in return. Netanyahu made the statement at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the US leading Israel-lobby organization.
The European Union has made clear that its role as Israel's biggest trade partner and the Palestinians' largest donor should not be taken for granted. The EU Ambassador to Israel said on January 22 that both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks risk paying a high price in losing European Union trade and aid if negotiations collapse.
From 29 November to 1 December the European Forum, in cooperation with the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS), the UK Labour Party and the Unified Socialist Party in Morocco organized the third and final seminar of the Future Leaders Training. The young and promising future politicians came from social democratic and left progressive parties from Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
From 6 to 8 September the European Forum, in cooperation with the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS), the UK Labour Party and the Ettakatol party organized the second seminar of the Future Leaders Training. The young and promising future politicians came from social democratic and left progressive parties from Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
Between June 7th and June 9th the European Forum, in cooperation with the Alfred Mozer Stichting, the UK Labour Party and the Al-Sindyan Institute organized for the first time a Future Leaders Training for 24 young and promising participants from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in Amman, Jordan. The participants came from social democratic and left progressive parties from Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.