Israeli PM: EU Boycott Zeroes Future Agreements

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Economic relations between Israel and Europe just got rockier.

Israel says it won't sign any future agreements with the European Union in response to the decision to boycott Israeli enterprises outside the pre-1949 armistice lines.

That means they'll boycott all businesses in the eastern section of Jerusalem and in biblical Judea and Samaria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the announcement Thursday after meeting with eight cabinet ministers.

"Israel will not sign agreements with the E.U. so long as the directive on the 1967 borders [pre-1949 armistice lines] remains in effect," Netanyahu said.

While Israeli officials are seeking clarification on the E.U.'s new guidelines, Netanyahu said as long as their policy distinguishes between Israelis within and without the armistice lines, all future agreements with the Europeans are on hold.

"Once they insist on the pre-1967 borders, we're talking about a very large part of Jerusalem, including Jerusalem-based hi-tech enterprises, which include very large companies," Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin told Israel Radio, Arutz7 reported.

"Under Europe's newly proposed methods of operation, many Israeli bodies that were not previously excluded will [now] be disqualified," Elkin said.

Israelis and others expressed their response on talkbacks posted on the Israeli news website YNET.

"The entire concept of [the] E.U. and Euro is deeply flawed…so Israel's attention should switch to Asia," one reader wrote.

Another called it an "excellent decision," saying "it is about time Israel tells the arrogant Jew-hating Europeans that Israel will no longer collude in their many ongoing attempts to bully and humiliate the Jewish state."

And another pointed to the "Islamization" of Europe.

"In the next few years Israel will have the displeasure of dealing with a totally Islamic-influenced E.U. How will Israel deal with Eurostan?" the reader wrote. "Will it be comfortable sharing its science and technology with them? Because by then, the hatred and animosity toward Israel will be several times amplified…."

Meanwhile, the Obama administration reiterated its opposition to new housing in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity and opposes any efforts to legitimize settlement outposts," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.

The Obama administration's newly appointed Mideast envoy Martin Indyk and his deputy Frank Lowenstein are planning to be in Israel next week for round two of the peace talks, slated to begin Aug. 14 in Jerusalem, followed by a meeting in Jericho.

Click here to read more about Martin Indyk's diplomatic career by Israeli political analyst Isi Leibler.

Israel is slated to release the first 25 of 104 Arab prisoners incarcerated before the Oslo Accords, most serving life terms for murder. A five-member ministerial committee is reviewing their files to determine the details of commuting their sentences, e.g., where they will be released.

More than 90 percent of Israelis oppose the prisoner release.

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