For more than thirty years the European Union (EU) has issued statements critical of Israel, and has been supportive of the Palestinian cause. The EU Venice Declaration of 1980, the first statement it issued on foreign policy, supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; asserted the unacceptability of any unilateral initiative to alter the status of Jerusalem; proclaimed the need for Israel to end its territorial occupation since 1967; and declared that Israeli settlements were an obstacle to peace.
Since the 1990s the EU has been a major aid contributor to
Palestinians, though its monetary assistance did not substantially
improve the Palestinian economy. This economy suffered from corruption,
lack of a satisfactory legal framework and competent administration,
absence of democratic practices, and the incompetence of Yasser Arafat,
the PLO and the Palestinian Authority leader who instigated the
disastrous second Intifada in 2000.