BRUSSELS, July 20, 2013 (WAFA) – In spite of strong Israeli objections, the European Union Friday went ahead and published guidelines that ban EU funding of projects and individuals in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement meant to clarify the EU position in advance of negotiations of agreements with Israel during the forthcoming financial perspective commencing in 2014 that the guidelines reiterate “the long-held position that bilateral agreements with Israel do not cover the territory that came under Israel’s administration in June 1967.”
She rejected Israeli claims that publishing the guidelines would undermine peace efforts spearheaded by the United States and stressed that “in no way will this prejudge the outcome of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Ashton said that “the EU is deeply committed to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and fully supports (US) Secretary (of State John) Kerry’s intense efforts to restart negotiations at a particularly delicate stage. In this way, the EU hopes to further contribute to an atmosphere conducive to a meaningful and sustainable negotiation leading to a peace agreement between the parties.”
The specific provisions of the guidelines will not be implemented before 1 January 2014.