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Book Reviews 123 question of how we are to keep Zionism alive more than fifty years after its chief reason for being, the creation of the State of Israel, has ceased, fortunately, to exist. Harold J. Harris Emeritus Professor Department of English Kalamazoo College Whither ED-Israeli Relations? Common and Divergent Interests, by Ephraim Ahiram. Frankfurt-am-Main: Lang, 1995. As a consequence of the breakdown of communism, the European Community had to focus its attention on relations and policies towards Central and Eastern European countries. But early in 1994, the ECI Commission developed a new strategy on the grounds that the preaccession policy towards the ex-communist countries must not interfere with the Community commitment towards the Mediterranean region. The summit meeting in Barcelona in November 1995 responded to this view and marked a turning point in the Union's relations with its southern Mediterranean partners. The composition of this meeting was potentially explosive since it included Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey; Israel, Syria, and lebanon. But the idea of political and economic guidelines for the setting up of an institutional framework with thesecountcies was agreed upon. Negotiations are currently underway between the European Community and the various Mediterranean countries; these negotiations have been completed for Tunisia, Israel, and Morocco and are at the exploratory or negotiation stage with Jordan, libya, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, and the PLO. The book Whither EU-Israeli Relations focuses on the problems and interests involved between Europe and Israel. It is the first comprehensive study ofthe subject and was elaborated by a group ofEuropean and Israeli experts. The published papers cover political, economic, cultural, and human rights aspects as well as options for future scientific cooperation. The research project was initiated by the leonard Davis Institute and the lEC=European Community; EU=European Union (since 1993); EFfA=European Free Trade Area; GATT=General Agreement on TariOS and Trade (Geneva, until 1994); wrO=World Trade Organization (Geneva, replacing GATT); NAFfA=North Atlantic Free Trade Area; APEC=Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation; Mercosur=Argentina, Brasilia, Uruguay, Paraguay. 124 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Tel Aviv. In their introduction, the two editors, Ephraim Ahiram and Alfred Tovias, stress the point that since the Near East peace talks became serious in 1993, overall relations between Europe and Israel have moved to a focus on common rather than divergent interests. That was not always the case in the past. In their view, there was an antiIsraeli policy which reached its peak in the eighties when the Community, in its Venice Declaration, recognized "the legitimate rights of the Palestinian People to exercise fully its right of self-determination," and most ofthe Community members declared an arms embargo on Israel. And they remind us that, on the other hand, it was upon the veto ofIsrael that neither the EC nor its members were invited to co-sponsor, together with the u.S. and the Soviet Union, the initial Peace Conference in Madrid. For many years the disturbed relations were, in the words of the editors, "a function of the oil market." But things have changed meanwhile. Today Europe is the major export market for Israel and a source of Israel's largest share of imports, and it is Israel which urges the Community to assist the Palestinian authorities in building up viable economic structures. For herself, Israel desires economic anchorage in Europe, but to achieve this it is essential that links be strengthened or established with its neighbors at the same time. The strategy for Israel should be, as Luis de Sebastian suggests in his anicle, to conclude trade agreements with different countries and trade blocks (such as EC, US, and EFTA), an approach for which the author coined the term "polilateralism." As for Europe, as long as the Community constitutes "unfinished business," Israel will have to deal with a "moving target in a changing environment" (Leora Rubin Meridor). Ideally, a free trade area should be established between Israel and her neighbors, as Eberhard Rhein, the responsible EC Director for the Mediterranean region, recommends, much in the way Europe and Israel have accomplished their free trade arrangement since 1975 and 1989. Jacob Kol, Victoria Curzon Price, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 123-125
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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