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The construction site at the Jewish settlement of Har Homa in east Jerusalem on December 20, 2012 ( Ahmad Gharabli (AFP/File) )

Romania and Israel dispute over settlements

Bucharest refuses to send construction workers to Israel if employed 'beyond the Green Line'

The Romanian government announced Tuesday it would not send construction workers to Israel any longer if they are employed beyond the Green Line.

According to Israel Army Radio, Israel has refused to agree to the stipulation not to employ the workers in the settlements.

Negotiations over a deal between Israel and Romania have been stalled for two years now, over the disagreement, Israel Army Radio recently found, but the reason was not made public until now.

“Israeli residents are being harmed daily by the government’s activities in the territories,” said Meretz MK Michal Rozin. “At this rate, it’s only a matter of time until the state gives way to [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement state.”

Former Israeli ambassador to the European Union Avi Primor told Army Radio Tuesday that the “move was not done against Israel, but against a certain aspect of Israeli policy. This of course gets worse during talks with the Palestinians, since it seems to the Europeans that we are doing unnecessary provocations to torpedo the talks with new announcements about settlements every other day.”

Israel decided this week to increase recruitment efforts to bring in construction workers from Moldova and Bulgaria instead.

This is not the first international incident Israel is involved in due to the controversial issue of the settlements.

Only last month, the European Union and Israel have finally reached an agreement that will enable the sides to sign the Horizon 2020 scientific cooperation agreement, after an impasse in negotiations.

Israel and the EU have been locked in a dispute over the European Commission's recently issued anti-settlement guidelines that prohibit any EU funding of Israeli entities that operate beyond its internationally recognized borders.

Under the guidelines, issued in July, institutions located inside the pre-67 lines will be asked to sign a territorial clause stipulating that the "occupied territories," meaning the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, are not part of Israel.

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