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EU delegation to mollify Israel over new settlement ban

The EU over-reached and it knows it. Israel told them where to get off and now they are back and trying to retract. Ted Belman

TIMES OF ISRAEL –

The European Union will dispatch a team to Israel this week in an effort to assuage concerns over its funding ban on Israeli institutions operating over the pre-1967 lines, the body’s foreign policy chief announced Saturday.

In a news conference with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, Catherine Ashton said that the EU would not be rescinding the new directive, which last month prompted the Israeli government to declare it would sever a string of joint projects with the European body.

However, Ashton asserted, “We, of course, want to continue to have a strong relationship with Israel.” She said the EU would send a team to Israel on Monday to make sure the implementation of the ban is done “very sensitively.”

The EU ban applies to grants, prizes and financial instruments and that the new funding guidelines go into effect in 2014. The EU issues dozens of grants, totaling millions of euros, to Israeli universities, companies and researchers every year.

The EU team is to be headed up by Pierre Vimont, the director of the European External Action Service, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official quoted in the report was upbeat about the prospects of the European mission to ease Israelis’ minds. “I have a sense that this is going in a positive way,” the official was quoted as saying.

On Sunday, Kerry is to hold talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in London.

The EU decision, announced in July, punctuated a nadir in international displeasure over Israeli settlements built on lands captured in the 1967 Six Day War. The announcement garnered dramatic responses across the Israeli political spectrum.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at the EU decision, saying Israel would not accept foreign directives.

“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.

The EU directives require members to cease any joint activity or funding with Israeli entities working over the Green Line in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and in the Golan Heights.

European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton talks with journalists as she arrives for an informal meeting of EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs at the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton talks with journalists as she arrives for an informal meeting of EU Ministers for Foreign Affairs at the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

The Palestinians claim some of those territories — the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem — for a future state.

The measures also require any future agreements between Israel and the EU to include a clause in which …read more
Source: Israpundit

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Posted by on September 8, 2013. Filed under Israeli News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.