16th Dec 2018

EU Gaza mission set to depart with limited mandate

An EU mission consisting of around 60 policemen and customs officials will start work at the Gaza-Egypt border next week, but the EU monitors will have no active enforcement role, EU diplomats say.

EU officials told EUobserver that the EU border mission is scheduled to start on 23 November and that it will consist of both policemen and customs officials.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The news comes after the announcement by US foreign secretary Condoleezza Rice earlier on Tuesday (15 November) that Israel and the Palestinians reached a deal on the management of the Rafah border crossing.

The deal includes a "third party" monitoring role at Rafah for the EU, constituting the first real security mission of the bloc in the Middle East.

According to Israel, the crossing between Gaza and Egypt is characterised by weapons smuggling and uncontrolled passage of Palestinian fighters, since Jerusalem pulled out of Gaza this summer.

Diplomats said the EU team will be of "civilian nature" and consist of a mix of member states' policemen and customs officials, headed by an Italian "carabinieri" military police general.

The mandate of the EU operation, as enshrined in the Israeli-Palestinian deal, will be restricted.

The EU will "monitor" Palestinian compliance with the agreement struck with the Israelis, rather than "inspect" the border itself, diplomats said.

In case of non-compliance by Palestinian border forces, the EU monitors will only be able to ask the Palestinians to "reassess" the control of a certain person or item, but not to take over any executive tasks themselves.

"In no case will we replace the Palestinians," one EU diplomat said.

The role of the EU mission is in line with wishes expressed earlier by the Palestinians, who had sought a "monitoring" rather than enforcing role for the EU in the run-up to the border deal.

But the EU mandate corresponds less well with Israeli demands, which aimed at giving the Europeans "enforcement capabilities" themselves, taking over powers from the Palestinians.

The EU intends to have an "initial presence" only on the scheduled opening date of the border crossing point on 23 November, diplomats said.

The mission will be expanded to its full strength afterward.

Secret EU report slams Israeli Jerusalem policy

A confidential report prepared by top EU diplomats has slammed rapid expansion of Jewish settlements in and around East Jerusalem, warning the Israeli policy could sabotage the peace process with Palestinians.

No more Brexit talks, despite May's pleas

EU leaders said they can do no more than reassure the UK they do not want to trap it over Ireland, but May might need more than that to get the Brexit deal through parliament.

EU leaders stuck on asylum reform

Migration was overshadowed by Brexit at the EU summit, with leaders stuck on key legislation. Some warned that free movement could be at risk.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders endorse creation of eurozone budget
  2. Selmayr has no comment on MEPs' call to resign
  3. May had 'robust' discussion with Juncker
  4. UK to continue talks on EU 'assurances'
  5. EU invests €20m in AI software for self-driving cars
  6. Belgian PM 'not optimistic', urges 'no deal' Brexit preparedness
  7. Romanian president expects no Brexit summit in January
  8. Swedish MPs reject Lofven to lead new government

EU leaders stuck on asylum reform

Migration was overshadowed by Brexit at the EU summit, with leaders stuck on key legislation. Some warned that free movement could be at risk.


Russian and US obstruction was 'insult' to climate scientists

Professor Richard Betts led an EU-funded research project into global warming. Although he sensed an increase in determination at UN climate talks in Poland, he condemned as an "insult" the refusal of several countries to welcome a new report.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. No more Brexit talks, despite May's pleas
  2. EU leaders stuck on asylum reform
  3. Orban and other PMs spread fake news, says Juncker
  4. Fishing quota and no-deal Brexit preparation This WEEK
  5. Kosovo has right to own army, Germany and US say
  6. EU needs election-meddling stress tests
  7. Russian and US obstruction was 'insult' to climate scientists
  8. EU-27 unimpressed by May, offer little on Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us