Israel against agreement with EU over occupied lands

Israel will not sign any agreement with the European Union which is inapplicable on the lands it occupied in a 1967 war with the Palestinians, a move defying the bloc`s guidelines that ban funding any entity in such territories.

Jerusalem: Israel will not sign any agreement with the European Union which is inapplicable on the lands it occupied in a 1967 war with the Palestinians, a move defying the bloc`s new guidelines that ban funding any entity in such territories, an Israeli official told Xinhua requesting anonymity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with top ministers over the EU guidelines Thursday, while Israeli and EU representatives discussed a scientific cooperation project that could include an investment of 600,000 euros (over $800,000) in Israeli high-tech companies.

The future of this investment, though, now hangs in balance due to the guidelines that the EU announced last month.

According to the official, "The official Israeli stance is that this move only damages the ongoing efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians."

In addition, Netanyahu will request EU officials to clarify the exact nature of the guidelines and their ramifications, in planned talks over the phone next week.

Three weeks ago, the European Commission published the new guidelines, according to which any agreement between EU companies or governments and Israel should indicate they will not be implemented on Israel`s occupied lands in the West Bank or east Jerusalem.

The decision, in fact, negates Israel`s sovereignty in those areas, which the Israeli government and many Israelis consider as a part of Israel.

In response to the move, the Israeli government announced it would halt its cooperation with the EU representatives in the West Bank and Gaza and would limit their movement in those areas.

IANS

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