EU’s New Policy on Israeli Settlements: The Full Guidelines

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The separation barrier outside Jerusalem. Credit: Michal Fattal

Any Israeli entity seeking funding from or cooperation with the European Union will have to submit a declaration stating that the entity has no direct or indirect links to the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights, according to the new EU guidelines.

The guidelines, which condition all future agreements on Jerusalem's acknowledgement that its occupied territories are not part of Israel, have strained relations with the EU to unprecedented level.

The full text of the guidelines obtained by Haaretz states that any Israeli entity that wants to receive funding, participate in a project or apply for grants or prizes from EU foundations or institutions will have to submit such a declaration.

The guidelines also state that “only Israeli entities having their place of establishment within Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be considered eligible” for consideration.”

The place of establishment “is understood to be the legal address where the entity is registered, as confirmed by a precise postal address corresponding to a concrete physical location. The use of a post office box is not allowed.”

A Palestinian working in the West Bank settlement. Credit: AP

The guidelines, which were drawn up by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm are expected to be officially released on Friday. The document was circulated among all the EU institutions, foundations, investment funds and aid organizations two weeks ago, as well as to all 28 EU member states. They go into effect on January 1.

A senior Israeli official said that according to the Foreign Ministry’s preliminary legal opinion, the new guidelines are meant to apply to all the bodies and institutions of the EU itself.

With regard to each of its 28 member states, the Foreign Ministry believes the guidelines are not obligatory but are considered policy recommendations. Nevertheless, the ministry believes that many EU members will adopt the guidelines as their policy.

The document states that the European Commission, “will also endeavor to have the content of these guidelines reflected in international agreements or protocols thereto or Memoranda of Understanding with Israeli counterparts or with other parties.”

The guidelines apply to “Israeli regional or local authorities and other public bodies, public or private companies or corporations and other private [entities] including non-governmental not-for-profit organizations.”

The new guidelines will not apply to human rights organizations operating in the territories, the Golan Heights or East Jerusalem (like B’Tselem), or to NGOs that work toward promoting peace and operate in the territories, such as the Geneva Initiative or Peace Now.

The guidelines also do not apply to Israeli government ministries or national agencies or to private individuals.

The document makes it clear that the guidelines do not apply to any Palestinian body, governmental or private, in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, and that they do not affect agreements between the EU and the PLO or the Palestinian Authority.

With regard to research grants or scholarship funds, the guidelines are to be imposed on the initial recipient of the funds. However, the EU official who reviews the application has the authority to apply the guidelines to secondary recipients of the funds, as well. Thus for example, if an Israeli company competes for a research grant, it could be asked to commit itself not to transfer any of the funds to a laboratory located over the Green Line.

With regard to investment funds, the guidelines apply to the primary recipient as well to any secondary recipients. Thus, to obtain EU investment funds, a high-tech firm in Tel Aviv will have to declare that it will not use subcontractors located in the settlements. The guidelines will apply to contenders for or winners of prizes or awards from an EU institution.

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