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A new SSR mission in 2012 in the Palestinian territory?

Distribution of the code of conduct to Palestinian police officers. (Credit: Eupol Copps)

The COPS ambassadors seem to have chosen. It is the option of merging the EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah missions which seems to be preferred rather than the status quo or the closure of a mission. A merger which is not only administrative but very political. It is, in fact, a new (civilian) mission to support security sector reform (EUSSR) of the Palestinian Authority that the European Union could call for. A mission intended as much to strengthen the Authority against Hamas as to facilitate the smooth transition to a new State (1).

This new mission would take over all of the functions carried out by the two previous missions: training of the police (roads, judicial, etc.) and prison forces of the Palestinian Authority and (hypothetical) surveillance of the Rafah entry point. It would also take over the new function of strengthening border posts around the Gaza Strip which is to take place as part of the lifting.partial and progressive” of the blockade. But the mandates of each mission would be kept intact, as codified in a new decision.

This option still needs to be worked on, the CivCom (civilian crisis management committee) has been tasked with refining this option. It will also need to be approved by international partners. This is already done for the Palestinian authority. It will also be necessary to negotiate with Israel (as with Egypt), stakeholders in the 2005 agreement, in particular to maintain the possibility of a possible “European deployment” when the day comes. The new mission would be operational in 2012. Until then, it will be necessary to temporarily extend the EUBAM Rafah mission (whose mandate ends on May 24).

Advantage of this formula according to its designers: in the short term, allowing the European mission in the Palestinian territories “tohave the critical size“, give the opportunity with new planning to carry out a “overall strategic review” of the action of the PeSDC in the Middle East; in the medium term, be the support for a “European security contribution to guarantee a peace agreement” and (which is not negligible) “increase the visibility of EU action on the ground“. Internally, the launch of a new mission could mean both for the High Representative and for certain Member States (France, Poland, Germany, etc.) that Europe can continue to play a role in supporting and maintaining peace .

(1) Even if this still remains anecdotal, Cyprus was the first country in the European Union to recognize, following several Latin American countries, the State of Palestine within its 1967 borders. If others European countries are still hesitant to take the plunge, several of them have already or should in the following months raise the diplomatic level of their relations with Palestine.

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).