French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius admitted on Sunday that the European Union’s new guidelines which boycott Israeli entities operating beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines may have created a new legal situation that EU leaders had not meant to create.
Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Fabius said that the EU could consider somewhat changing the boycotting guidelines.
"We need to check whether the guidelines created things that were unintended,” he said, adding that the new guidelines are not intended to change and influence the situation but rather "draw lessons from things that happened in the past."
The new guidelines, drafted in July, state that the EU will no longer be party to any economic, social or academic ventures involving Israeli institutions based in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem or even the Golan Heights.
"The basic idea was to distinguish between the borders that existed in 1967 and the territories and settlements that were added afterwards,” Fabius told reporters. “The goal was to express a position on this issue, but Israel sees it in a completely different way. We were told of instances in which the guidelines have changed the status of institutions and enterprises, which is not what was supposed to happen. Certainly this is not intended to sabotage the peace process and therefore we need to closely examine if there are things that were not planned and change where change is needed.”
Israel has warned that it might shun a key EU research program unless a compromise is found over the bloc's boycotting guidelines.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently clarified that Israel will not sign any contracts with Europe so long as its boycott of Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and even the Golan Heights - as per the new guidelines - continues.
Hundreds of legal experts from Israel and around the world have written to the EU’s Foreign Affairs Commissioner Catherine Ashton and asked her to annul the boycott.
The experts are noting that the decision does not have a legal basis, because, they argue, Judea and Samaria is not occupied territory in the legal sense of the term.