Peace-building through State-building. EU Strategies towards the Palestinian Territories and the Role of Democracy

Master's Thesis, 2013
64 Pages, Grade: 2,1



Introductory Part

1.1. Structure and Method
1.2. Background of International Peace-building in Palestine
1.2.1. The Oslo Peace Process
1.2.2. The Post-Oslo Period Domestic Frictions The Conflict Today

Theoretical Part

2.1. The State
2.1.1. The Concept of the State
2.2. Peace
2.2.1. Negative and Positive Peace
2.3. Peace-building and State-building: Dependent on Each Other?
2.3.1. Peace-building
2.3.2. State-building
2.3.3. Peace-building through State-building Paradigm
2.4. Democracy and Peace: A Causal Relationship?
2.4.1. Democracy
2.4.2. Democratization
2.4.3. Democratic Peace Paradigm
2.5. Evaluation of Theoretical Framework

Empirical Part

3.1. Democratization and Democracy in primary EU sources
3.2. Classification

4.1. Characterizing the OPT
4.2. Theoretical Foundations of EU Democracy Promotion in the OPT
4.3. Overview: EU Partnership with Palestine
4.4. Instruments
4.4.1. Quartet
4.4.2. Supranational Policies
4.4.3. Intergovernmental Policies
4.5. Problematic Areas
4.5.1. Focus: Security Sector
4.5.2. Focus: Palestinian Domestic Split
4.5.3. The Occupation and EU-Israeli relations

Concluding Part




Statistical Annex


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


When in the following the paper refers to “Palestine”, it refers to the Occupied Palestinian Territories


This paper seeks to address the persistent problem (to which development experts have hinted) of integrating democracy and good governance approaches as universal values into external policy-making. To this end, the EU´s state-building policies towards Palestine have been chosen as a case study. Palestine, presently not a sovereign state1 represents a case of international large-scale peace-building endeavor in a post- Cold War context. The Palestinian case is insofar crucial for policy makers as it offers insights into democratization policies where there is no sovereign state to address. Instead, democratic structures and good governance have been established by the EU and the international community as a precondition for its very emergence. The goal is to establish a sovereign and democratic Palestinian state existing alongside the state of Israel, the latter continuing to hold the Palestinian land of West Bank and Gaza under occupation. The EU and other international actors pursue this scenario, the “two state solution”, as the most feasible for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The EU´s role among these actors as democracy promoter, state- and peace-builder is therefore interesting as the rationale of its very inception was the establishment of peace. It is a unique example of a Union of sovereign states being built on a territory whose inhabitants have been going to war with each other throughout history. The European project which has initially been realized through economic cooperation in the aftermath of World War II has been founded on the values of democracy, freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights from the very beginning (Treaty of Maastricht 1992: art. 130u). Drawing against this background the paper considers it valid to ask the question of what the EU does regarding the defence/ proliferation of its founding principles in its external relations, especially in an area of geographical proximity such as the Middle East which is troubled by the violent conflict between Arab states and Israel and particular between Palestinians and Israelis.

The explicit goal of this analysis is therefore to offer insight into how the EU embeds its external democratization agenda into the state- and peace-building approach applied in Palestine and on which notions these activities rest. Thereby it looks at the EU´s engagement starting in 2003 when democracy and good governance promotion in Palestine have gained popularity within the international donor community. Thereby the paper exclusively deals with Community policies and does not consider bilateral actions by its Member States. It seeks to shed light on the dynamics between the underlying theoretical concepts of the peace-building project in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in order to find out if or up to which extent they are compatible with the EU´s commitment to external democratization. Therefore the main research question is:

“Is the democracy/ good governance support in Palestine by the EU an adequate means to promote peace in the Middle East?”

1.1.Structure and Method

The underlying theoretical concepts according to which peace- and state-building operates are rarely explicitly mentioned by the involved policy-makers. This can also be said in the case of the EU policies. To assess the EU´s performance in its endeavor to establish peace between Palestinians and Israelis it is vital to shed light on the respective approach applied and the wider context in which it is embedded. To this end, the paper first of all situates EU peace-building efforts in Palestine within a theoretical framework of peace- and state-building concepts and clarifies terms and definitions. The first part of the theoretical framework is provided by the “peace-building through state- building” paradigm which assumes that peace can be established through building a viable state. Its second part consists of the theory of democratic peace which suggests that the very nature of a democratic system is rather peaceful and that hence democracies don´t go to war with each other. The paper discusses the suitability of these conceptual approaches to build peace in the Middle East. Before it then proceeds to situate the EU and its supposedly peace-promoting activities within this approach it elaborates on the notion the EU has of democracy and the role it occupies in its foreign policy in general. It will then examine more in detail the democratization component within the EU´s activities in Palestinian state-building before pulling together the theoretical and empirical strands of the research to draw a conclusion. For the theoretical part the paper will draw upon a broad base of scientific literature considering different theoretical orientations. The empirical part draws partly on primary sources such as policy documents and official statements of the involved stakeholders as well as on the literature on the Middle East conflict.

1.2. Background of Peace-building in Palestine

The following chapter will provide the reader with the historical context of peace-building efforts in Palestine. Hereby light will be shed on international efforts in which EU foreign policy has been embedded until today. This is considered necessary in order to be later able to not only situate the EU democracy promotion within a theoretical framework but to also meaningfully interpret the EU´s activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) over the investigation period. For a final evaluation it is indispensable to shed light on previous peace-building efforts also because external democracy and good governance promotion in Palestine are largely justified in the wish to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

1.2.1. The Oslo Peace Process

In contrast to other countries where peace-building took place with the involvement of the international community, in the Palestinian case there has never been a sovereign state before peace- and state-building activities were implemented. Neither West Bank nor Gaza has ever enjoyed independent recognized statehood (Brynen 2008). After a decades-long struggle of the native Palestinian population against the Israeli state which has been established on their native soil the Nineties finally gave prospect to a peaceful settlement of the Middle-East conflict. It was then when the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, many of them themselves displaced to these areas during the Jewish expansion in the 1940s and living under Israeli occupation there since 1967, came seemingly close to reach the goal of sovereignty for the OPT. and the cease of Israeli occupation: On the initiative of the international community the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the government of Israel entered into direct negotiations with each other in order to realize the two-state solution with a Palestinian sovereign state existing peacefully alongside the state of Israel. The initiative concluded with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and resulted in the establishment of a Palestinian Authority (PA) which is until today the representation of the Palestinians on the international stage and the main partner for the implementation of EU policies in the OPT.

The PA was designated to administer the Palestinian territories under limited autonomy and to gradually guide the Palestinian people towards their own independent state within a five year interim period (MFA 1993). The PA was mainly made up of PLO representatives, the latter mainly members of the Fatah party. Short after its creation the first elections held resulted in the fortification of PLO-Fatah rule, with Yassir Arafat being elected president of the PA. Subsequently the PLO turned into the main state- builder in the Palestinian territories, leading a political scientist to the retrospective comment: “ In the nineties the PA was probably more of a state than many juridical states in Africa ” (Frisch 2012). In this period Israel transferred civil and security responsibilities to PA administered areas of West Bank, a process which was foreseen to be expanded over the whole territory. The gradual overtake of control by the PA within the Oslo peace process was intended to grant the two sides time for mutual confidence-building with each side adhering to its commitments under the Oslo rules: The Israelis should stop annexing Palestinian land in the territories through building settlements and the Palestinians should stop violent attacks on Israeli citizens and grant security to Israelis. Only after this period concluding negotiations on a final status agreement and certain critical issues such as the authority over Jerusalem should be held (Brynen 2008).

Yet, none of the parties complied. Israel continued building settlements on Palestinian land and the Palestinians were unable or unwilling to control their militant groups (mainly Hamas and others who did not accept the Oslo Accords and who were carrying out attacks on Israelis). The outcome of the intended confidence-building measure was detrimental to its goal: In 2000 the second intifada (Arabic for violent upheaval) broke out against the Israeli occupation and in response to that the Israeli military reoccupied large parts of PA-administered areas, carrying out severe military incursions, destroying governmental infrastructures, imposing curfews and restrictions on movement of persons and goods inside the West Bank and Gaza. The violence continued until 2005, claiming numerous Palestinian and Israeli lives. The PA institutions partly collapsed, mainly the security sector and the institutions of democratic governance. The Oslo Peace Process was rendered a failure.

1.2.2. The Post-Oslo Period

After this debacle international initiatives re-concentrated their efforts on a settlement of the Middle Eastern conflict by other means, mainly by emphasizing the need for democratic reform of the PA and institutional capacity building (Brynen 2008 ). In 2002 a UN Security Council Resolution called for the realization of the two state solution (UN Security Council Resolution 1397, 2002). A concerted effort for reforming the PA was made by the US, Russia, the UN and the EU in 2003. The “road map” set out guidelines for future peace negotiations under Quartet supervision and called for democratic reform of the PA. Also the PA itself endorsed a reform plan, pressing for more democratic institutions, the support of civil society structures, decentralization and local governance, reform of the financial and judicial sector and the reform of the security forces (UNDP 2003).

But despite these new initiatives and focus on democratic institution-building with an international community continuously voicing its commitment to the two-state solution, neither peace nor a Palestinian state has been established until today. Israel has started to build a separation wall between Palestinian and Israeli land which cuts frequently into Palestinian territory, curving out Israeli settlements from the West Bank and depriving Palestinians from their farmland and separating entire Palestinian communities. As a reason for the construction Israel brings up the protection of its citizens from Palestinian terrorists. The situation in the OPT itself even deteriorated further. Arafat had been driving the PA into a system of cronyism and political patronage and corruption. He was not a democratic leader and predominantly engaged in political issues related to the peace process. After his death in 2004 and the subsequent election of Mahmoud Abbas as new president hope was growing that the reform of PA institutions could proof successful in the end. Yet, Abbas was seemingly unable to overcome the institutional weaknesses and bad governance as a legacy of his predecessor and the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 2006 was won by the rival party Hamas (with 74 of 132 seats). Domestic Frictions

In the aftermath of the elections, in dismissal of a Hamas-led Palestinian government, Israel refused the tax refund payments to the PA, a measure which it often resorts to in high times of conflict or if it perceives Palestinian policies as inconvenient. Also international donors cut the PA off from their budget assistance. Subsequently, internal tensions between the two rival factions, Hamas and Fatah were rising to such an extent that they dragged the Palestinians in a civil war in 2007. This led president Abbas to the creation of a Fatah-led emergency government, which prompted international donors and Israel to re-establish their payments to the authority. From this time on the Palestinian society was not only geographically divided but also politically with Hamas ruling de facto in Gaza and Fatah ruling de jure in the West Bank. The conflict is until today characterized by recurring violent eruptions between the warring Palestinians factions inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as well as between Palestinians and Israelis. The Conflict Today

With an Israeli state continuing to hold Palestinian land under military occupation and building Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory in the West Bank the quest for selfdetermination continues to be denied to the Palestinians (Frisch 2012). Despite the long stalemate in the peace process the two state solution continues to be the conceptual basis for a future peace agreement.

Today the conflict in Palestine is two-dimensional: Its first component is the asymmetric conflict between Palestinians and the state of Israel, the latter being - as the occupying force in the Palestinian territories- the main inhibitor of Palestinian national sovereignty. The second component is the Palestinian domestic conflict taking place essentially between Fatah and Hamas and their respective supporters, adding to the geographical split of the Palestinian territories a political one. In April 2011 a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah has been signed, but underlying tensions transfer into rivalries between the parties.


2.1. The State

In order to shed light on the rationale behind building states in order to establish peace a first insight shall be provided into the role and the concept of the state itself. With non- governmental organizations gaining a say on an international level in the context of accelerated globalization processes in the end of the 20th century the state as the main form of societal organization and principal political actor on the global stage has been deemed outdated by many. Yet, others argue the demise of the nation state is not an inevitable fact (Keylor 2003). Barash and Webel give the future outlook regarding the state´s global importance: “ [...] however the state is imagined, whether we like it or not, and whatever our goals may be for states in general and our own state in particular, states are the primary actors on the world ’ s political stage [...] ” (Barash/ Webel 2009).

2.1.1. Concept of the State

The most widespread contemporary state concept has been developed by Max Weber highlighting the organization of the state and its means of coercion (Hay/ Lister/ Marsh 2006). A Weberian state holds the monopoly of violence and can therefore, under an institutionalized form of power legitimately enforce binding rules over all entities within its territory (Mueller 2007; Barash/ Webel 2009).

The international community has developed a concept which is particularly relevant for state-building activities within international development cooperation. It shares the sovereignty concept and the state´s legitimate use of violence under an institutionalized form of power with the Weberian conception (OECD “Do no Harm” 2010), but differs in other points. It defines the state in a development context and regards it as an agent of development. By doing so, the concept puts emphasis on state-society relations:

“ [...]Development, peace and stability require effective and legitimate states able to fulfill key international responsibilities and to provide core public goods and services, including security ” (OECD 2008).

The concept has academically been nurtured by Migdal (2001) and Call (2008). Migdal emphasizes the state as an entity which exercises its power among the people and which is bound to resource allocation and service provision to them. This notion of the state is less bound to a state´s external legitimacy given it by the international community but more to a state´s domestic legitimacy. Call refers to this as “empirical sovereignty” and attributes an especially high importance to it with regard to peace- building processes (Call 2008). The international community has yet a crucial role in intervening in a state’s empirical sovereignty by diplomatically according legitimacy to some actors and others not, supporting the former in maintaining or establishing legitimacy and preventing the latter from doing so (Call 2008). Most sources of legitimacy the OECD enumerates are connected to Call´s domestic legitimacy notion: The quality of provided public goods and services (performance legitimacy); Shared beliefs such as a common ideology, traditions or an image of political community; the commitment to rules previously agreed on, meaning essentially a democratic political culture and procedure (process legitimacy). The only source enumerated not falling under this empirical sovereignty is international legitimacy, meaning a state’s recognition as a sovereign and legitimate political entity by the international community (OECD 2010; OECD/DAC Policy Guidance 2011).

2.2. Peace

After having pointed to the conceptual linkage between the state and peace it is with regard to the research aim of this paper necessary to shortly elaborate on the concept of peace. What do scholars mean when they say “peace”? Like the definition of the state is confronted with different and subjective conceptualizations, the concept of peace is equally hard to grasp in theoretical terms. In the attempt to define peace it seems most useful here to resort to Johann Galtung, a political scientist who has extensively elaborated on topics within the field of peace research.

2.2.1. Negative and Positive Peace

Galtung has coined the terms of positive and negative peace. The latter denominates peace in a narrow definition as the absence of war and violent conflict. This apprehension was prevalent in international relations until the end of the Cold War. The broad definition of positive peace adds to the negative peace a sustainable component aiming for a type of peace comprising values such as social justice, and human security. It is characterized by its long-term sustainability. Positive peace is established through addressing the root causes of conflict (Rocha Menocal 2010). Furthermore, Galtung´s positive peace concept excludes not only overt violent acts from its theoretical territory but also subliminal structural violence (Grewal 2003). The latter is inherent in the structure of the respective social, cultural and economic institutions and impedes the overall well-being of people without having directly to do with actual violence (Barash/ Webel 2009). Positive peace can only thrive in the absence of structural violence. Where conflict prevails, social injustice is persistent, the latter playing a major role in causing structural violence and contributing to the outbreak of war (Barash/ Webel 2009). Whereas the absence of domestic structural violence does not play a role for the legitimacy of the Weberian state, it is a crucial element for the conceptualization of the state within a development context. Peace in this context requires the absence of structural violence and in presence of good state-society relations.

2.3. Peace-building and State-building: Dependent on Each Other?

2.3.1. Peace-building

Broadly defined peace-building refers to actions undertaken by (inter)national actors to consolidate or institutionalize peace (Call 2008). The concept of peace-building has mainly been brought forward by the UN “Agenda for Peace” of 1992 which largely concentrates on the cessation of violence (UN 1992). Later the UN expands building peace also to economic and social development and introduces state-institution-building as an urgent task in a global environment characterized by domestic wars: “ intervention must extend beyond military and humanitarian tasks and must include the promotion of national reconciliation and the re-establishment of effective government” (UN 1995: para. 13). This view essentially builds on the academic work by Galtung. Almost 20 years before, he advocated for aiming at building positive peace and hereby concentrating at eradicating structures which lead to violent conflict (Galtung 1976).

The notion of addressing underlying causes and structures to consolidate peace and to establish social justice and economic welfare has led to a widespread apprehension within international organization of peace in its positive sense. Today’s peace excludes social injustice and structural violence and is the result of sustainable transformation processes. The apprehension of the increased importance of institution-building hereby has led to the tight alliance between building peace and building states.

2.3.2. State-building

State-building has especially occupied the agendas of Western foreign policy makers since the end of the Cold War as the latter entailed the emergence of many so-called “weak” or “fragile” states. It is on the basis of this notion on which state-building operates. Comprised to the lowest common denominator weak states are those states whose institutions fail to sufficiently provide basic services and distribute resources to their citizens. Hereby the services concerned range from security provision to functioning judicial systems and economic opportunities to social welfare. Broader definitions include the state’s inability to exercise authority over the entire territory. Attention is paid on the weak states´ inability to penetrate society fully and organize interactions between segments of its society. Weak states lack the capacity to guarantee the compliance of citizens with the rules established by the state and to secure their populations participation in political processes. The overall result of these failures is a lack of legitimacy, being the core of the notion of the “weak” state (Rotberg 2003). According to this notion, state-building can be broadly defined as an action undertaken by a national or international actor intending to strengthen, reform or establish state institutions. Hereby capacity and legitimacy of the state are emphasized to realize the establishment of a relationship between the state and its citizens which is based on mutual demands. The OECD defines state-building as “ [...] an endogenous process to enhance capacity, institutions and legitimacy of the state driven by state- society relations ” (OECD 2008d; ODI 2009).

Hereby, in the last years the notion of “institutions matter” has gained more and more importance as state institutions have come to being ascribed importance for (economic) development and social welfare in the sense of positive peace.

Building a states’ capacity refers to the capability of the state to comply with its obligations of service delivery to all of its citizens, but more than that mainly to institutional capacity building. The latter entails the institutionalization of rules according to which policy processes operate and roles according to which incumbents of a political office act. Institutionalization means basically that there is a shared commitment by the governmental bodies of the state to act according to persistent and known sets of rules. Policy processes will only produce effective outcomes on the long run if rules and norms of a society are institutionalized. This is what capacity building seeks to accomplish. It forms the contour for power allocation and occurs in four sectors (Call 2008/ Brynen 2008):

1) Public finance reform
2) Security, rule of law and justice sector
3) Development and economic policy
4) Governance, legitimacy and accountability

The second dimension of state-building is concerned with how to draw up a state design. That means that unlike the broad institutional capacity building where the emphasis is on establishing general rules and mechanisms, according to which the government discharges its responsibilities, state design specifically refers to how the state powers are arranged, how judicial, security, electoral and parliamentary systems are crafted and how power is allocated on the local and state level. Within the process of state design rulers are appointed and it is here where external intervention often occurs. Before the apprehension that positive peace requires institutionalization the latter has often been neglected in international foreign state-building policy. Instead it was regarded being useful to cooperate with chosen national leaders which express their will to reform in the donor´s intent. It can yet not suffice to engage in designing (structural) arrangements, let alone appointing political personalities. State design can only be seen in the broader light of capacity building. Without being embedded in the latter, it does not lead to long-term success in building viable states (Call 2008).

The British Overseas Development Institute (ODI) points out that if state-building occurs in a fragile state which is also afflicted by conflict the state-building endeavour is particularly difficult (ODI 2009). Conflict, especially civil war considerably undermines any state capacity and aggravates fragile characteristics (Rocha Menocal 2010). Conflict and fragility go mostly together. Whereas a fragile setting is likely to but must not be characterized by violent conflict, a conflict-afflicted setting is automatically a fragile setting.

2.3.3. Peace-building through State-building Paradigm

In the same line with the above said is the OECD’s finding: “ Fragility, conflict and violence are not the same but can exist concurrently, with each shaping and being shaped by the other. Thus, the process of state-building will often develop alongside, as part of and in a mutually supportive relationship with peace-building... ” (OECD/DAC Policy Guidance 2011). The statement re-emphasizes what the international donor community has come to realize by the time: From the close relationship between conflict and fragility emanates the dual task of promoting peace and at the same time building more effective states. This is supported by the development of the peace-building notion from negative towards positive peace (Bouris 2010). Re-emphasizing what has been pointed to above, the OECD calls for viable state-building: “ [...] Beyond short-term responses that contain violence … . greater attention needs to be given to the foundations upon which capable, accountable and responsive states are built ” (OECD Policy Guidance 2011). The theoretical rationale behind the close connection of state- building and peace-building (positive peace) is that states provide mechanisms for settling disputes nonviolently. These mechanisms are justice systems, policing systems or service delivery agencies (Call 2008). Furthermore, building state-institutions is assumed to provide a stable order which promotes a self-sustained peace without the need to maintain international presence. With respect to economic sustainability, the state has recently again been increasingly acknowledged as crucial for promoting and securing economic activity through providing the according institutional framework within which economic development is possible. For all of these reasons it is understandable that there is an increased understanding among scholars that successfully establishing peace requires capable state institutions (Call 2008). Associated with this understanding, the terms of “peace-building” and “state-building” are nowadays predominantly seen as mutually dependent. It is at this conjunction of peace- and state-building where democracy promotion comes in as a policy objective. This is mainly because democracy itself has been highlighted in theoretical debates as a guarantee for peace (Mueller 2008). In the following section this shall be further elaborated on.

2.4. Democracy and Peace: A Causal Relationship?

The entanglement of democratization processes with the strategy of merging the concepts of state- and peace-building has as basis the democratic peace paradigm which is rooted in the Kantian concept of Democratic Peace. Yet, before discussing the latter, this chapter attempts to clarify terms and definitions revolving around the concept of democratic rule and democratization.

2.4.1. Democracy

Indicative of its origin the term “democracy” is composed by the Greek words “demos” (people) and “kratos” (power). Thus democracy as a political system has commonly also been referred to as “government by the people”, essentially indicating that people hold the power to political self-determination. The people’s power of political selfdetermination and participation pits democracy against autocracy. Whoever advocates for democracy advocates against autocracy.

A lot of academic thought has revolved around conceptualizing and categorizing different forms of democracy since the concept emerged in ancient Greece.


1 But already endorsed as such in 1947 by the UN (UN Security Council Resolution 181)

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Peace-building through State-building. EU Strategies towards the Palestinian Territories and the Role of Democracy
Leiden University  (Humanities)
Internationale Beziehungen
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peace-building, state-building, strategies, palestinian, territories, role, democracy
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Anja Tuchtenhagen (Author), 2013, Peace-building through State-building. EU Strategies towards the Palestinian Territories and the Role of Democracy, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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