JERUSALEM, July 16 (UPI) -- The European Union issued a directive barring its 28 members from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem beginning Friday.
The directive bars members from "all funding, cooperation and granting scholarships, research grants and prizes," to all Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Haaretz said Tuesday. An unnamed senior Israeli official told Haaretz all future contracts between Israel and European Union members must stipulate the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not a part of the state of Israel.
Army Radio reported the directive, published June 30, would also apply to the Golan Heights, captured by Israel from Syria in 1967.
The move was described by the Israeli official as an "earthquake," Haaretz said.
"This is the first time such an official, explicit directive has been published by the European Union bodies. Until today there were understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line [the pre-1967-war border]; now this has become a formal, binding policy."
Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin called the decision worrying. In an interview on Army Radio, Elkin said the move will strengthen the Palestinians' position and reduce their motivation to reach a peace agreement with Israel.