More details emerged on Wednesday about the compromise agreement reached between Israel and the European Union on the latter’s ban on cooperation with businesses over the Green Line.
Israel will ensure that money it receives under a technology-sharing pact with the EU will not be spent in Yehudah and Shomron or in eastern Yerushalayim, an Israeli official said Wednesday, acceding to the ban.
The research program known as “Horizon 2020” is estimated to be worth some $95 billion, and the Israeli scientific community has been stressing the urgency of coming to terms with the EU to ensure its continuance.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said Israel and the EU agreed that Israeli institutions that operate in the region could apply for funding under the program, but that they would need to ensure that any money they receive be spent only inside Israel proper.
“Every Israeli entity will be able to apply. If it receives the money, it will need to find a mechanism, with the Europeans, that will allow the Europeans to achieve their objective: that their money … will not go beyond the Green Line,” Elkin told Israel Radio.
Elkin said that, according to the compromise, Israel would write explicitly in an appendix to the agreement that it does not accept the guidelines, while the EU will write that the guidelines reflect European policy.
He added that Israel would compensate institutions that are ineligible for the EU funding because of their location.
The EU’s top diplomat in Israel, Lars Faaborg Andersen, called the compromise excellent news. “It will allow the EU and Israel to continue their mutually beneficial partnership in science and technology,” he said in a statement.
Prof. Ruth Arnon, the president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and the Humanities, characterized Israel’s participation in the program as “absolutely essential to the future of science in Israel.”
Failing to sign the agreement, she added, would be an “irreversible disaster.”
And Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel, said Israeli participation was of “crucial importance.”