Israel joins EU science program outside Judea and Samaria
Israel and the EU have completed negotiations for Israel to join the Horizon Europe scientific research funding program, which includes a controversial clause banning the use of funds in East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Judea. Samaria.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that “Israel joining Horizon is another aspect that positions Israel as a central player in the world’s largest and most important research and development agenda.”
In 2013, then-Justice Minister Tzipi Livni struck a deal with then-EU foreign envoy Catherine Ashton which included a compromise suggested by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – who was economy minister at the time – an annex stating that Israel opposes the exclusion of Judea and Samaria on legal and political grounds.
The agreement also requires that Israeli companies, organizations or academic institutes applying for European loans or grants put in place a mechanism to ensure that funds are not invested beyond the Green Line.
Now that a final draft has been reached, the government and the Knesset will have to approve the deal, with its exclusion clauses from settlement.
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who served as Minister and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, strongly opposed the deal in 2013. Bennett did not sign the deal. okay, even though he was Minister of the Economy; Then science minister Ya’acov Peri did it instead.
But this time, Liberman praised the Horizon program, saying it is “one of the most important research and development programs in the world … Israel’s adherence to the program expresses the importance that Israel places on investment and support for research and development as a key to future economic growth. “
Elkin’s office explained that it opposed an earlier version of the Horizon 2020 deal, but he and other Likud ministers backed it up after he and Bennett negotiated a “softer” version of the deal. territorial conditions.
âThis time, as long as it is the same version as in 2013, Elkin will support the deal,â his spokesperson said. At the same time, thanks to a request by Elkin and the New Hope Party in the coalition negotiations, the government decided on Sunday to add NIS 70 million to strengthen Ariel University and solve the budget problems of its students . “
The Prime Minister’s Office made no comment.
Last year, when the government considered applying sovereignty to the Israeli cities of Judea and Samaria, EU sources said Israel could be excluded from the Horizon program if it goes through annexation. This plan was abandoned when Israel signed the Abraham’s Agreements for Peace and Normalization with the United Arab Emirates.
Israel – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Ministries of Finance, Justice and Innovation, Science and Technology and the Council for Higher Education – and the EU negotiated the accession of the first at Horizon Europe in recent years, and the program is considered the flagship partnership between Les CotÃ©s. The agreement is expected to be officially signed in December.
Lapid said that “joining Horizon brings high quality jobs, technological advancements and new Israeli businesses … The Foreign Ministry continues to create economic and scientific opportunities for Israel.”
Israel Innovation Authority chief scientist Ami Appelbaum said Israeli entities received more than 1.3 billion euros from Horizon 2020, the previous program, which had “a positive influence. significant impact on the quality of research, strengthening the international reputation of Israeli academia and its links with the European research community.
These influences can be seen in terms of international market penetration and growth potential, said Appelbaum, calling the Horizon Europe program “a strategic asset to Israel’s economy.”
Yael Rabia-Tzadok, deputy director general of economy at the Foreign Ministry, said the deal shows Europe’s confidence in Israel as a scientific, technological and innovation asset.
The United States has implemented the Trump administration’s statement that settlements in Judea and Samaria are not per se illegal by expanding scientific agreements with Israel to include these areas, as well as the Golan Heights. New versions of these agreements were signed at Ariel University in October 2020; the Biden administration did not cancel them.
In March, 500 academics from Europe and Israel signed a letter calling on the EU to ensure that none of its funds are used for projects involving Ariel University, located above the Green Line. . They gave examples where Ariel University was involved in Horizon 2020 projects, and said this was “falsely marked on project material as being located in Israel.”
âResearch projects must not be used to legitimize or otherwise support illegal Israeli settlements. The EU cannot shirk its own obligations in this regard without further strengthening Israel’s illegal military occupation and oppression of millions of Palestinians, and without further undermining the inalienable inalienability of the Palestinian people. and universally recognized rights under international law, âthe letter said.