Hebew Wikipedia
Hebew Wikipedia

It is now fifty years since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since 1967, these areas have been controlled by Israel, but the Palestinians who live there have never enjoyed the same rights as their Israeli neighbors. As settlers occupy more and more land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is effectively under embargo, the occupation is seemingly evolving into a permanent reality. However, new tensions and dynamics keep appearing between Israel and the Palestinians on the one hand, and between the two parties and the international community on the other. What are the prospects today of changing the situation that has obtained since 1967? The seminar focuses on the importance of Gaza and Jerusalem and the role of the EU in particular.

Lunch will be served after the seminar.


Björn Brenner (Swedish Defence University, Stockholm), author of the recently published Gaza under Hamas: From Islamic Democracy to Islamist Governance.

Anders Persson (Centre for European Politics, University of Copenhagen / Lund University), author of the recently published The EU and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 1971-2013: In Pursuit of a Just Peace.

Marte Heian Engdal (NOREF), author of the forthcoming books Palestinian Refugees and International Diplomacy: The Failed Politics of Resettlement and Repatriation after 1948 and Israel - historie, politikk og samfunn.

Chair: Jacob Høigilt, PRIO


11:00-11:05 Welcome

11:05-11.20 Björn Brenner: Hamas - Is anything but uncompromising rejection of Israel in the cards for the future?

11:20-11.35 Anders Persson: What has Europe done in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what can it do?

11.35-11.45 Marte Heian-Engdal: Comments

11.45-12.30 Q & A


Björn Brenner is a lecturer at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm and a visiting fellow at Institut français du Proche-Orient in Amman, Jordan. He holds a doctorate in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Gothenburg and is the author of Gaza Under Hamas: From Islamic Democracy to Islamist Governance (London: I.B.Tauris, 2017). Björn has conducted extensive fieldwork across the western part of the Middle East, notably in Syria, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, with a special focus on local conflict dynamics and informal mechanisms of local governance. He has authored numerous articles on regional and domestic politics in journals such as Mediterranean Politics and Strategic Assessment, is regularly invited to brief European policy-makers and government officials and is a frequently appearing commentator in the media on Middle Eastern affairs. Anders Persson is a postdoc researcher at the Centre for European Politics at University of Copenhagen / Lund University – where he is conducting a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council on the EU's normative power in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has written three books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of which the latest is The EU and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 1971-2013: In Pursuit of a Just Peace (Lanham, Lexington Books: 2015). He has also published peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Journal of Common Market Studies, Mediterranean Politics, Journal of Conflict Transformation and Security and New Middle Eastern Studies. He is expert commentator on Swedish TV/radio/press on Israel-Palestine and also writes a blog for Huffington Post and contributes regularly to Haaretz, Politico EU and EU Observer.

Marte Heian-Engdal is Senior Advisor at the Norwegian Centre for International Conflict Resolution (NOREF). Heian-Engdal holds a PhD in history from the University of Oslo and has previously worked at PRIO as a Senior Researcher. She has lived for a number of years in Jerusalem and Washington D.C, regularly lectures about Middle East history and is a frequently used expert commentator in Norwegian news outlets (TV, radio and print). Her work has been published in international journals such as The international history review, British journal of Middle Eastern Studies and Diplomacy and statecraft.