[QODLink]
Middle East

EU bans funding groups in Jewish settlements

Ruling underlines concern over building in occupied territories - a move Israel PM calls a "dictate on our borders".

Last Modified: 16 Jul 2013 22:59
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The EU has said it will will bar financial assistance to Israeli groups operating in the occupied territories, underlining its concern that Israeli settlement-building harms prospects for peace with the Palestinians.

Guidelines revealed on Tuesday make clear that, from next year, Israeli "entities" operating in the territories will not be eligible for EU grants, prizes or loans.

The measure will apply to Israeli companies, universities or other bodies operating in areas occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, including the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"The EU has made it clear that it will not recognise any changes to pre-1967 borders, other than those agreed by the parties to the Middle East peace process," a copy of the guidelines seen by the Reuters news agency said.

'No external dictates'

The guildelines say that all Israeli groups applying for financial assistance, scholarships and funding must prove they do not operate in the occupied territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised the guidelines, telling ministers: "We shall not accept any external dictates on our borders. That is an issue that will be decided only in direct negotiations between the sides."

Netanyahu said the EU appeared to have a distorted sense of priorities.

"I would expect those who concern themselves with peace and stability in the region to only debate such an issue after resolving problems which are slightly more urgent, such as the Syrian civil war or Iran's race to obtain nuclear weapons," a statement from his office said.

Palestinians praised the rule as a concrete step against settlement construction they fear will deny them a viable state.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said the EU had moved beyond "statements, declarations and denunciations" over Israel's settlement policy and made a "qualitative shift" that would improve peace prospects.

303

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.