Defense Ministry minimizes cooperation with EU after bias ban

 

As a result of EU’s decision to ban funding of Israeli activities in pre-’67 borders, Israel’s defense minister decides to reciprocate by refusing to cooperate with EU representatives and halts their assistance to EU projects. From now on ‘they’re tourists,’  Ya’alon says.

By Attila Somfalvi

In response to the European Union’s decision to ban contracts with Israel pertaining to disputed territories, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon instructed the IDF and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to stop cooperating with EU representatives in the West Bank and Gaza.

Moshe Yaalon - Photo Reuters

Moshe Yaalon – Photo Reuters

The instruction came recently and included orders to halt any assistance the IDF might be granting EU representatives working in infrastructure projects in the territories.

The IDF cannot prevent EU officials from traveling in and out of Palestinian Authority-controlled territories, but it can prevent them from entering or leaving the Gaza Strip via Israel, as well as from promoting projects.

According to a defense establishment source, the decision was taken in a bid to send a clear message to the EU, stressing that any move to boycott Israeli actions beyond the green-line “turns the organization into a biased mediator in negotiations, and as such, it must accept the results.”

Ya’alon decided the freeze in cooperation between Israel and the EU will include Area C as well as the crossing between Israel and Gaza.

In the rest of the area of Judea and Samaria, the cooperation will continue as usual.

A security source said: “We cannot prevent anyone from traveling freely; we cannot freeze their movement, but from now on they are tourists.”

Voices from Israel’s Right had already called for cutting ties with the EU after reports of the decision were confirmed. The defense minister – who is the sovereign in the Judea and Samaria – decided instead to make ties a little colder.

The new EU directives were reported last week, and according to them the EU cannot fund or participate in any Israeli project or activity beyond the green-line. The new directives deliver a harsh blow to Israeli initiatives and institutions attempting to secure funding from EU states.

 

View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4409959,00.html

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