|, Av 9, 5773|
Israel: EU Attacks Us Because We're Small
by Gil Ronen
Israeli officials on Tuesday slammed an EU directive that will bar all 28
member states from dealings with Jewish communities located beyond
the 1949 Armistice lines, including eastern Jerusalem.
A high-ranking official, who requested anonymity, described the
European Union's move as a disproportionate "attack" on Israel.
"When it comes to disputed territories, the Europeans prefer to attack
a small country like Israel instead of taking on more powerful states,
because they're afraid of retaliation."
Israel was "only informed of the directive at the last moment," he added.
The directive, due to be published on Friday and take effect from 2014,
forbids EU member states from funding or dealing with Israeli
communities in the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria and eastern
Jerusalem, according to reports.
It requires a clear distinction to be made in all signed agreements,
between Israel and the territories it occupied in the 1967 Six Day War.
EU spokesman David Kriss told AFP: "These are guidelines on the
eligibility of Israeli entities and their activity in the territories occupied
by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments
funded by the EU from 2014 onwards.
"It makes a distinction between Israel and the entities in the
West Bank, east Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the
Golan Heights," he said.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin told army radio the
Europeans had made a "mistake" and that the directive would
undermine any return to peace talks with the Palestinians.
"It's a very worrying initiative launched at a bad time, because it
only reinforces the Palestinians' refusal to restart negotiations," he said.
Kriss said the EU wanted Israel to cooperate fully with the directive
to ensure its "participation in projects between 2014 and 2020."
But Elkin told the Haaretz newspaper: "We are not ready to sign on
this clause in our agreements with the European Union," but
admitted that the refusal could "halt all cooperation in economics...
(and) cause severe damage to Israel."
Palestinian leaders say they will only resume direct negotiations
with Israel if they are held on the basis of the lines that existed
before 1967, and if Israel freezes all settlement activity in Judea
Israel insists they must be held "without preconditions."
Yesterday, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan accused the
Palestinian Authority for setting unreasonable preconditions to