New EU guidelines limit Israel funding

PARIS (AP) — The European Union has published new guidelines explicitly banning any EU funding of Israeli institutions operating in territories occupied since the 1967 Mideast war, amid vigorous Israeli objections.

The EU holds that Jewish settlements in territories such as the West Bank and east Jerusalem are illegal. The Palestinians want some of those territories for their hoped-for state.

After EU officials announced plans this week for the new guidelines, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with several European leaders to express his opposition.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the document released Friday “is meant to clarify the EU’s position” and is not meant to harm efforts toward Mideast peace. The new rules come into force Jan. 1. Very little EU funding currently goes to Israeli bodies in occupied territories.

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