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Israel Blinks In EU Dispute

Israel’s thriving science and technology sector looked to be shut out of a massive $95 billion EU-funded grants program starting next year, due to EU restrictions on funding going to organizations with a presence in the West Bank. Members of Netanyahu’s coalition dug their heels in over the EU’s demands earlier this summer, and talks seemed to have stalled out. But with the deadline less than a week a way and pressure mounting from Israel’s R&D community, an agreement was finally reached on Tuesday:

Under the compromise reached, the EU prohibition of funds for groups in occupied territories will be referenced in an appendix to the deal while Israel will add its own appendix stating it does not recognize the new guidelines, the official said.

Israeli companies and organizations that have operations on occupied land can request funds if they ensure the money does not cross the pre-1967 border.

Our guess is that Netanyahu is trying to wind up as many distracting side-issues as possible to gain the most leverage for the biggest challenge to face the Jewish state since 1967: An Iranian hegemony over the arc of land stretching from the mouth of the Euphrates to Israel’s northern frontier.

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