By Dore Gold/JNS.org
This column was by first published by Israel Hayom, whose English-language content is
distributed exclusively by JNS.org.
Click photo to download. Caption: EU flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. The latest EU demand is that its research and development grants not be
applied to territories beyond the 1967 lines. Former Israeli ambassador to the UN and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dore Gold, writes that Israel and the EU need to get past this problematic period in their relationship. Credit: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.
On Israel’s popular morning radio station, Reshet Bet, broadcaster Aryeh Golan recently
interviewed Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin about the latest demands by the
European Union (EU), that its research and development grants not be applied to
territories beyond the 1967 lines.
Since mid-July, there have been reports of new EU
guidelines that are expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, and are to
apply to grants, prizes, and other financial instruments to Israeli bodies.
Reflecting some of the growing rage in Israel at the latest EU initiative,
Golan asked Elkin whether Israel could find alternative economic partnerships
in India and China. Apparently, the idea of turning away from Europe to new
Asian partners was raised in certain governmental circles as well.
True, this was not a proposal for a European boycott of
Israel, though the headlines in the Israeli press gave readers that impression.
Part of the concern in Israel is where this new policy will lead. For example,
the EU guidelines could become the basis for formulating a territorial clause
in future Israeli-EU agreements that would be used to force Israel to accept
that any territories beyond the pre-1967 line are not part of Israel, including
eastern Jerusalem and the Old City.
The EU went ahead and issued this new policy just as
Israel was making tough concessions, including the release of convicted
Palestinian prisoners, to set the stage for new peace talks. Both the substance
and the timing of what the Europeans were doing drew bitter criticism across
much of the Israeli political spectrum, and the move is likely to have a
long-term impact on Israeli-European relations.
For specialists in European trade policy, the new trend
in Israeli-European relations is particularly outrageous because it is built on
the establishment of a clear double standard. Take EU policy on Morocco. In
2005, the EU and Morocco signed an international agreement allowing European
fishermen to operate in Moroccan waters. Did the agreement apply to the
territorial waters of Western Sahara, which was claimed by Morocco, but not
recognized as Moroccan territory by the international community, including the
states of the EU? In 1975, the International Court …read more