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Israel-EU row hits new heights

    Israel will not enter into agreements with the European Union unless the EU “clarifies” guidelines that advise against the funding of Israeli organisations with links beyond the Green Line.

    The decision, taken at a special meeting convened today by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, threatens Israeli participation in Horizon 2020, a £69 million scientific research and innovation programme run by the EU.

    Haaretz has reported that a senior Israeli government figure who participated in the meeting, which involved cabinet members including Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said: “We will not sign the guidelines in their present form.”

    However, the official said that Israel wants “to find a creative solution. We will work with EU headquarters in Brussels and with all 28 capitals of the member countries and explain that this is a genuine crisis situation that requires a solution.”

    Ambassador Dr Andreas Reinicke, the EU’s special representative to the Middle East peace process, indicated that the organisation would not back down, stating: “The guidelines will take effect as they are. This is how they were published [in the EU’s Official Journal], as a legal act, and that’s how it will be.”

    Horizon 2020 will be launched on 1 January 2014, the same day the EU guidelines regarding Israeli organisations are due to come into effect.

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