The European Union has decided to bar grants, prizes, financial assistance and collaborative agreements with Israeli entities and individuals located over the green line.
The EU’s new directive bars its 28 members from cooperating with Israeli entities that are based or even partly operate in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The boycott includes “all funding, cooperation, and the granting of scholarships, research grants and prizes” to Israeli entities in those areas. The EU also now requires that all documents signed with Israel include a clause claiming that areas beyond the 1967 green line do not belong to Israel and are excluded from the agreement.
The European Union may make exceptions for Israeli governmental bodies located over the green line, such as the Justice Ministry, as long as its activities are carried out within the pre-1967 borders. However, no exceptions will be made for local governmental bodies in Judea and Samaria, nor for universities, companies, or private individuals operating over the green line, except for certain politicized Israeli NGOs representing the far left, such as B’tselem, the Geneva Initiative, and Peace Now.
“As prime minister, I won’t allow hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the West Bank, Golan Heights, and in Jerusalem — our united capital — to be harmed,” Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu stated. The right of the Jewish people to live in Judea and Samaria, as well as East Jerusalem, was recognized as legitimate by the League of Nations and the Mandate for Palestine. The Jewish people have a history in Judea and Samaria dating back to antiquity. Netanyahu continued, “We will not accept any foreign dictates about our borders. This matter will only be determined through direct negotiation between the [two] sides.”
Netanyahu is concerned that this latest move by the European Union will harm the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. “It hardens the Palestinian positions, it causes Israelis to lose confidence in the impartiality of Europe,” he said. “I think for years the Europeans have been whining about the fact that the Americans are not involved enough. Now that they are involved, this action actually undermines the American effort. It undermines the negotiations.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin believes the Europeans are making a mistake, “especially at this time and giving a tailwind to Palestinian intransigence.” MK Nissan Slomiansky, chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, concurred: “at a time when the entire Middle East is burning and thousands of people are dying every month, I recommend that the EU deal with the region’s real problems. For our part, we will continue to build and develop.”
Eliyahu Shviro, mayor of Ariel, a city within Judea and Samaria, added, “My policy is clear and known to all. We are against any kind of boycott. Boycotts never achieve the declared goal of the boycotter, but they do achieve more kindling for the fire of disagreements. It is very possible that this is the intention of the EU’s initiative.” He concluded, “Anyone who wants to bridge differences and bring about human brotherhood cannot use the illegitimate tool of boycott. Palestinian residents of Samaria are employed [by the] thousands [by] Israeli industry. It would not occur to us to boycott them because of their religion or faith or where they live. The EU’s boycott could even undermine this achievement.”
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