A diver in the Mediterranean sea
A diver in the Mediterranean seaAFP file

The European Union is not the only one that can impose sanctions and boycotts, Israeli officials said Thursday. A report in Maariv said that if the EU insists on boycotting Israelis and Jews living and doing business in the lands liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, Israel could boycott some major European Union projects that feature Israel as a central partner.

Among them is an 80 billion euro project to clean up the Mediterranean by 2020. Horizon 2020 aims "to de-pollute the Mediterranean by the year 2020 by tackling the sources of pollution that account for around 80% of the overall pollution of the Mediterranean Sea: municipal waste, urban waste water and industrial pollution,” the EU said when the project was announced in 2011. Israeli green technology is a centerpiece of the project, with Israeli researchers providing numerous systems to remove pollution from the shores of Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, and northern African countries.

Perhaps even more important is the fact that Israel is a major funder of the project, allocating 600 million euros to the project over the next seven years. Sources in the Foreign Ministry said that the EU's new policy may put the whole project in jeopardy, since at least some of the technologies Israel is contributing to the project were developed by companies and academic institutions located in Judea and Samaria and in areas of Jerusalem liberated in the Six Day War. Considering the financial crisis in many Mediterranean countries, Israel's funding for the project may be a major issue for the continuity of the project.

According to the new EU rules, Israel will have to pledge not to supply any of that technology to the project – removing a good chunk of the technology contributions Israel was slated to make.

Speaking Wednesday, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said that he would personally ensure that Israeli businesses affected by the policy were not hurt. “We, too, can impose our own rules on the EU. For example we have something to say about EU projects in the Palestinian Authority,” Bennett told reporters. “Sanctions like this could mean the end of such projects,” as Israel must approve such projects.