In a move Israeli leaders quickly condemned as undermining Secretary of State John Kerry’s push to revive peace talks, the European Union issued guidelines this week that for the first time ban the financing of and cooperation with Israeli institutions in territory seized during the 1967 war. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said on Motzoei Tisha B’Av in a defiant statement that he would “not accept external dictates” on his country’s borders, and that the matter would be “solely resolved in direct negotiations between the sides.” Other senior Israeli ministers denounced the European action as “discriminatory,” “hypocritical” and “unhelpful.”
European Union officials played down the significance of the guidelines, which apply only to deals between Israel and the union itself, not its 28 member countries, saying they were simply an act of longstanding opposition to Israeli activities in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Approved on June 28, the guidelines say that agreements providing research grants, scholarships and cultural exchanges must state explicitly that they apply to Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Read a full report at The New York Times.