This article identifies a common thread throughout the sixty years of European-Israeli relations, namely a gap that has prevailed between the lofty rhetoric of the EU regarding envisaged special trade relations and its much more modest willingness/ability to establish such relations. At various junctures of these relations (three of which are analysed in this article), turgid European promises were not fully realized. Consequently, a wide gap has been created between rhetoric and concrete actions and between the de jure and de facto economic and trade value of the legal regimes governing EU-Israel bilateral relations. The article reveals that gap and offers a typology and analysis of various factors which contributed to the creation and widening of the Expectations-Delivery Gap.
This article examines the role played by the European Commission in negotiations between the European Economic Community and Israel concerning a trade agreement. It demonstrates that the Commission’s attitude to such an agreement was far more positive than that of the six member states. The Commission’s leadership pushed the Israelis into pursuing an association agreement, and when this was revealed to be impossible, it took a leading role in concluding a more limited trade agreement. The Commission’s proposal formed the basis for the final agreement, which took shape in 1964. The article attempts to discern the motives behind the Commission’s behaviour; its central claim is that the Commission’s leadership viewed negotiations with Israel and the conclusion of an agreement as a means to achieve their ideological and institutional goals.