Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin
on Monday night rejected the conclusions of a committee which looked into the Foreign Ministry's conduct in regards to the European Union's decision to boycott settlements.
The political echelon in Israel
was baffled by the EU's decision to deny funding from Israeli entities operating beyond the Green Line, which caught the Jewish state completely unprepared.
Following the confusion, a committee was tasked with finding those responsible for the lack of information and coordination on the sensitive issue.
The committee's report was submitted following Elkin's request from Foreign Ministry Director-General Rafi Barak to look into the Ministry's conduct. Barak appointed an external examiner, Israel's former ambassador to Brussels, who submitted a classified report.
According to top Ministry officials, the report ignores the problem the examiner was tasked with checking and mostly includes an analysis of the complicated relations with the EU, yet it barely analyzes the failure to deal with the issue. The report also downplays the importance of the EU's decision regarding the settlements, officials say.
Ma'aleh Adumim, located beyond Green Line (Archive photo: AP)
In an exceptionally harsh official statement, Elkin declared that "the report ignored the dramatic change in the new instructions, and the magnitude of the failure in the surprise over this dramatic change. If we want to avoid such failures in the future, we must delve into the truth impartially. The report fails to address the main questions, for which I asked to receive clear answers."
According to sources in the Foreign Ministry, one of the report's conclusions is that the Ministry officials were aware of the growing EU trend and reported about it. However, this conclusion does not match the great embarrassment in Israel in light of the EU decision.
Foreign Ministry sources slammed Elkin for his "unprecedented conduct." One of the sources charged, "I have never seen such a thing, that the person in charge of a ministry speaks out against his own ministry. It looks like he's trying to find a scapegoat at any cost. It's unacceptable."
The relations between the political echelon and the Foreign Ministry have not been running smoothly in recent years. Ministry officials have been accusing those in charge of trying to destroy the Israeli Foreign Service and intimidate its employees.
An EU delegation is expected to arrive in the country on Tuesday for a dialogue with Israel, in an attempt to soften and maybe even suspend or postpone the decision. Senior Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres,
have been working to convince European leaders not to carry out the decision so as not to have a negative impact on the peace process.
US Secretary of State John Kerry
has been asked by Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni
to discuss the matter with EU leaders in a bid to delay the decision's implementation.
Israel is also engaged in a dialogue with the EU in order to be included in the Horizon 2020 program, a prestigious scientific program which holds great strategic importance for Israel. Israel has threatened in the past not to take part in the project if the EU fails to alter its decision, and attempts are being made to come up with a compromise between Israel and the EU on the issue.