Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu slammed the European Union in an emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday, called after news broke that the EU initiated a directive requiring member states to boycott Israelis living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The directive included conditions for future contacts between the EU and the State of Israel.
“We will not accept any outside diktat about our borders,” pledged the Prime Minister, adding, “This issue will be decided only in direct negotiations between the sides.”
The Prime Minister criticized the EU for taking the steps unilaterally while paying lesser attention to urgent regional matters such as Syria’s civil war and Iran’s race towards nuclear armament.
“I would expect those who truly want peace and stability in the region would discuss this issue after solving more urgent regional problems such as the civil war in Syria or Iran’s race to achieve nuclear weapons,” he said.
Expressing solidarity with all Israeli citizens Netanyahu promised that “As the Prime Minister of Israel, I will not allow the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, on the Golan Heights and in Jerusalem, our united capital, to be harmed.”
The meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem office. Those in attendance included Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin.
Earlier today Israeli daily Haaretz first reported that the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, two weeks ago issued the directive requiring all 28 member states to ban all funding, collaboration, scholarships, research grants and awards to Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while requiring that any future agreements signed with Israel must include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the sovereign State of Israel and therefore are not part of said agreement. The directive goes into effect this Friday.
Israeli officials sharply criticized the move, and members of the Israeli cabinet also expressed disappointment in the timing of the decision, claiming it undermines U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent push to resume negotiations.
A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the ruling was an “earthquake” which unprecedentedly turns “understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line” into “formal, binding policy.”