The government has incorrectly cited Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of Israel’s biggest companies, as a business that stands to be hurt by new European Union guidelines barring companies and institutions operating over the Green Line from receiving any EU benefits, an expert on West Bank geography said Sunday.
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Teva appeared on a list released after a meeting convened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Thursday to weigh the impact of the EU rules, which were published last month and go into effect at the start of next year. The company, the document asserted, would no longer be entitled to EU benefits because two of its plants are in Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim industrial zone, in the northern part of the city.
In recent years, Teva has received some 200 million euros in EU loans, so the new guidelines would have been significant if they applied to Teva. However, the relevant maps reveals that both of Teva’s Har Hotzvim facilities are within the pre-1967 lines, as is the entire industrial zone. The Green Line, Israel’s border before the 1967 Six Day War, runs just to the north of the zone.
“It would have been appropriate to check these matters with the authorized agencies in Israel with regard to its borders, unless for political motives, there was hidden intent here to be misleading,”
said army Maj. Gen. (res.) Shaul Arieli, a leading authority on the shifting political borders of the West Bank.
The EU directive is expected to particularly hit research institutions and research-oriented companies, which risk losing EU funding if any of their operations are located in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Golan Heights. Three weeks ago, the Science and Technology Ministry warned that the guidelines would cut into Israeli research and development budgets by around 40%. Most critically, the ban could hurt funding to Israeli companies and research institutes participating in the EU’s Horizon 2020, an 80 billion-euro program running from 2014 to 2020. In the previous Horizon program, which ran from 2007 to 2013, 1,900 research projects were funded at Israeli universities, hospitals and companies, with funding totaling 750 million euros.