Dr. Ralf Hexel, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Department of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, also attended the discussion and opened the event with a welcome statement to the participants. In his speech, he emphasized the impact of three recent events on the European Union’s policy: The Brexit, the election of US-President Trump, and the election of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr. Shibli spoke about the decreasing significance of the Palestine issue to European decision-makers. The main reasons for the disinterest, he argued, was the Arab spring and its consequences that engrossed the attention among the Europeans, and the still existing political division between the Palestinian factions, which led to paralyzing the internal politics.
At the same time, he continued, the civil society organizations in EU played an important role in strengthening the European rejection of the illegal Israeli settlement policies, as well as condemning the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Mr. Shibli believes that France and Germany show a strong determination to protect the European Union after the withdrawal of Great Britain from the EU, and that both countries can preserve the significant role of EU in economics and politics worldwide. The participants discussed with Mr. Shibli several issues, especially the possibility of strengthening the European solidarity at official and social level.