JERUSALEM – Israel’s prime minister on Tuesday harshly criticized a European Union decision to ban funding for Israeli institutions that operate in the Palestinian territories.
The new guidelines will block EU cooperation grants for Israeli entities that operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians for their future state.
The EU decision amounts to a diplomatic condemnation of Israeli settlement construction in these territories and, in effect, endorses the Palestinian position that a future border should be based along the 1967 lines.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent the day meeting with senior Cabinet ministers to discuss the funding cut.
“We will not accept any external edicts about our borders,” Netanyahu said. He said any decision about his nation’s land could only be resolved through direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu said that the Europeans should deal with what he called “slightly more urgent” matters in the region, including the civil war in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program.
To obtain EU funding from 2014 on, Israeli projects will be required to sign a clause stipulating they operate within the country’s pre-1967 borders and not in east Jerusalem, the West Bank or Golan Heights.