Netanyahu: No Judea and Samaria? No Contracts with Europe!
In response to the European Union's guidelines which forbid any contact with Israeli companies operating beyond the 1949 Armistice Line, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has clarified that Israel will not sign any contracts with Europe so long as the boycott of these regions continues.
Netanyahu met on Thursday to discuss the issue with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir and Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Perry. Following the meeting, Netanyahu said, "Israel will not sign agreements with the EU, so long as the directive on the [pre-]1967 borders remains in effect."
During the discussion it was agreed that Israel will turn to the EU and seek to better understand the implications of the boycott. Jerusalem hopes the Europeans will become a bit more flexible on the wording of the statement that it plans to force Israeli companies to sign as part of future agreements with Europe.
Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) explained to Army Radio the reasoning behind the government's decision, saying, "We are very much interested in continuing this cooperation with Europe, but we cannot sign some of the new things that the Europeans are trying to add these agreements."
"Once they insist on the pre-1967 borders, we're talking about very large part of Jerusalem, including Jerusalem-based high-tech enterprises, including very large companies. Under Europe's proposed new operating method, many Israeli bodies that were not rejected before - will be disqualified."
Hundreds of legal experts from Israel and around the world have appealed to European Union Foreign Affairs Commissioner Catherine Ashton to annul the EU's plan.
The experts are noting that the decision does not have a legal basis, because, they argue, Judea and Samaria is not occupied territory in the legal sense of the term.
Israel has already taken some action in response to the boycott. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to turn down any request by the European Union which relates to these regions. VJ