Martins, Bruno Oliveira. “Interpreting EU–Israel Relations: A Contextual Analysis of the EU’s Special Privileged Partnership Proposal.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs (early view; online first).
This article analyses the background, content and implications of the EU proposal for ‘Special Privileged Partnership’ status to be granted to Israel and the future state of Palestine in the event of a successful conclusion to the peace process. It employs a sociological institutionalist perspective to assess the diplomatic manoeuvring in the broader context of EU–Israel relations. The analysis offers an identification and categorization of the constitutive components of the EU–Israel relationship into formal and social elements. It argues that differences in threat perception, Israel’s highly securitized ethos and different interpretations of the security versus legality equation are social, constitutive elements of the relationship that cannot be efficiently changed by a mere upgrade of the formal institutional setting, even if the economic incentives to do so were attractive. In other words, the sources of tension between the EU and Israel observed in recent decades are not likely to be overcome by a discursive or institutional upgrade around the concept of partnership.