An EU delegation is expected to arrive in Israel on Tuesday and meet with officials from the Israeli foreign ministry to discuss the EU decision to boycott Israeli settlements built in occupied Palestinian territories.
European sources ruled out that the boycott, which was announced last July and is to take effect at the beginning of 2014, would be rescinded. However, the sources expected that the issue would be formally discussed in the next round of talks between Israel and the EU, scheduled to take place in Brussels next month.
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said on Tuesday that Israel is engaged in a dialogue with the EU in order to be included in the Horizon 2020 program, a prestigious scientific program.
The newspaper said that Israel has threatened not to take part in the project if the EU fails to alter its decision, but attempts are being made to come up with a compromise between Israel and the EU on this issue.
According to the newspaper, senior Israeli officials, including Israeli President Shimon Peres, have been working to convince European leaders not to let the decision take effect on the ground, suggesting that it would negatively affect peace talks with the Palestinians.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has been asked by Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to discuss the matter with EU leaders in a bid to delay implementation of the decision.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi confirmed that Kerry was pressuring the EU to revoke, postpone, or “water down” the decision.
“The US should stop being Israel’s lobbyist,” Ashrawi said.
The EU decision, which was taken in July, bans EU member states from dealing or supporting any project for Israeli settlements built in Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights.