Israel joins EU development project despite settlements flap

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel signed an agreement with the European Union to join the Horizon 2020 research and development project despite a dispute over EU guidelines on Jewish settlements.

The agreement for Israel to join the largest-ever EU research project, with about $109 billion available for research grants, was signed on Sunday at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

The project is expected to provide about $1.9 billion between 2014 and 2020 to Israeli researchers and universities. Israel has taken part in EU research programs since 1996.

Last July, the European Commission announced new guidelines making Israeli entities and activities in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights ineligible for EU grants and prizes beginning on Jan. 1.

The agreement allowing Israel to sign followed telephone negotiations between Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton. Israel reportedly added a clause to the agreement stating that it does not agree with the EU’s definition of occupied territory.

 

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