The European Union is quietly trying to climb down from a weak limb it stood in July with a statement but Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton “that bilateral agreements with Israel do not cover the territory that came under Israel’s administration in June 1967.”
The Israeli government reacted strongly, and even President Shimon Peres objected to the policy. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Ashton’s bluff by saying that Israel would not participate in the Horizon 2020 program if she did not back down.
Since then, the EU has been excelling in acrobatics saying it really did not mean what it said. A high-level delegation from the European Union is in Israel this week to come up with a clever way to correct its “settlement guidelines” in a way that will not make it look ‘pro-settlement.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin warned that if there is no deal, the Horizon 2020 program, which gets underway this Friday, would lose out on Israel’s contribution of technology and know-how while Israel would lose funding for projects. “As it stands, we cannot sign Horizon 2020. It would force us to discriminate against our own institutions,” Elkin said.