To work with EU, Israelis must prove no links to ‘territories’

Specific details revealed of new European policy vis-a-vis Israeli entities operating in West Bank, East Jerusalem or Golan Heights

View of the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
View of the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin (photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Any Israeli entity that wishes to apply for a “grant, prize or financial instrument” from the European Union must first submit a declaration stating that it has no direct or indirect links with the West Bank, the Golan Heights, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, according to the new directives issued by the EU on Tuesday.

In a four-page document obtained by Haaretz, the EU details the full conditions under which further cooperation with Israeli entities can continue. The document is due to be released Friday and was drafted by the European Commission.

The EU makes clear that it “does not recognise Israel’s sovereignty over any of the territories… and does not consider them to be part of Israel’s territory, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.”

The guidelines state that “only Israeli entities having their place of establishment within Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be considered eligible.”

The guidelines apply to “Israeli regional or local authorities and other public bodies, public or private companies or corporations and other private [entities] including non-governmental not-for-profit organizations,” but not to Israeli government ministries and offices, nor to NGOs operating in the territories, whose activities “aim… to benefiting protected persons under the terms of international humanitarian law… and/or to promoting the Middle East peace process in line with EU policy.”

Likewise, the guidelines do not apply to any Palestinian government body or person.

Earlier Tuesday, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the ruling was an “earthquake” that unprecedentedly turns “understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line” into “formal, binding policy.”

The directives garnered dramatic responses across the Israeli political spectrum, with many saying it would push the Palestinians further from peace negotiations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized the move, saying Israel wouldn’t accept dictates about its borders from any outside forces.

“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,” he said.

“I expect those who really want peace and regional stability to deal with this matter [of West Bank settlements] after they solve more pressing problems in the region like the Syrian civil war and Iran’s race to get a nuclear weapon.”

“We will not accept any foreign dictates about our borders. This matter will only be determined through direct negotiation between the [two] sides” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he stated.

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