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Israel rejects EU settlements deal

Israel would rather forgo a research partnership with the EU worth hundreds of millions of pounds than accept an anti-settlement clause as part of such a deal, the country's deputy foreign minister has said.

New EU guidelines say partnership agreements with Israel must state clearly they are not applicable to the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem - lands Israel captured in 1967.

The guidelines were introduced to show the EU's growing dismay over Israeli settlement expansion on land the Palestinians want for a state.

The issue is coming to a head over Horizon2020, a seven-year European grant programme that begins next year. Israel is the only non-EU country invited.

Deputy foreign minister Zeev Elkin said Israel wants to negotiate, but that "we can't sign" if the terms remain.

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