With France in the lead, the European Community in 1996 seemed on the verge of cautiously asserting a more independent role in the Middle East peace process. This is in marked contrast to Europe's passive role for more than a decade following Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and especially since the Gulf War, a period during which France and other major European powers acquiesced in U.S. domination of Arab-Israeli peace issues. Reviewing the history of European initiatives and absences during the cold war era, the author examines whether Europe now has the determination to chart its own peace policy despite U.S. and Israeli antagonism to its involvement.

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