is officially in damage control mode after the European Union on Tuesday announced it will ban all Israeli bodies operating beyond the Green Line.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
is hoping to convince the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to prevent the official publication of a decision to exclude settlements from all agreements signed by the EU and Israel.
Israel is pressing friendly European nations to demand another discussion on the decision in the hopes of preventing it from going into effect. State officials accuse Europe of supporting "Palestinian
obstinacy" and "sabotaging the efforts of John Kerry."
Meanwhile, the government's right flank is considering asking the prime minister to scrap any plans for gestures towards the Palestinians as part of Kerry's efforts to restart peace negotiations.
Several ministers have already informed Netanyahu that given the EU's
decision they are now considering launching a public campaign against any gesture towards the PA prior to the resumption of negotiations.
Jerusalem: Europeans sabotaging Kerry's efforts (Photo:AP)
"What the EU did is the act of a bull in a china shop," said one Likud
official. "It presents a problem for Kerry because it hardens the Palestinian position. To date, the Right has been forgiving towards Kerry's moves and gave the prime minister some leeway without getting in the way, but now there is no reason to let the Palestinians off the hook if the Europeans are going against us anyway."
The EU's decision has far reaching consequences for Israel. They will affect bilateral agreements on the "Horizon 2020" R&D program in which Israel was meant to invest some 600 million euros, and the funding of European foundations which allows Israelis to apply for various grants.
The Science and Foreign ministries have concerns that research institutes operating inside Israel will also suffer because of their relations with institutes in Judea and Samaria.
"It's still not clear what exactly is being banned," said Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin.
"The next stage would be that groups applying for funding would have to pledge not to collaborate with establishments in Judea and Samaria. It's far reaching.
The EU is also demanding that institutes not have any extensions beyond the Green Line.
But any Israeli bank has a branch beyond the Green Line, for instance, and the Hebrew University has dorms in the French Hill."
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