Vocal Europe: What is your view on Israel’s decision on 30 March to establish a new settlement deep inside the West Bank, to issue tenders for almost 2,000 settlement units and to declare further land deep inside the West Bank as state land?
Fulvio Martusciello: The question of settlements is a problematic one. It has been also used as an argument to stop the Two State Solution. As you know, the EU endorses the Two State solution as the only solution to achieve a peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The EU is ready to criticize Israel when the settlements issue comes up.
However, the EU should also criticize the Palestinians when they do not confront the terrorists among them, their education system which barely recognises Israel, if it really does, and these are two examples. Also, in an EU that supports diversity within the states, shall a Palestinian state have Jews or not? A deep conversation with the parties that confronts the settlements should also confront the Palestinians and not just the Israelis.
Vocal Europe: What is your take on the most relevant and current issues now on the table regarding Israel-EU relations and how are we affected by them?
Fulvio Martusciello: Israel and the EU have a very strong partnership in terms of trade and technology. Unfortunately, ideology on the European side is trying to undermine this strong partnership. Both the Israelis and the EU citizens have much more to gain with this partnership rather than trying to diminish it.
Vocal Europe: What is the reason for not having a two-state solution yet? Do you believe that President Trump is influencing this?
Fulvio Martusciello: A two-state solution does not exist because there is a lack of recognizing the State of Israel, on one side, and there is a concern for security on the other side. Recognizing the State of Israel implies educating the new generations in that trend as this will bring not only peace but also security to Israel and to the Palestinians.
Vocal Europe: Do you believe in a two-state solution?
Fulvio Martusciello: I believe in two states for two peoples. If that is the ethos of the two-state solution than I believe in that.
Vocal Europe: Both Israel and the EU will need to find a balance between their disagreements over the settlements and the beneficial economic and scientific co-operation. Do you believe that this issue will be resolved soon or will this remain a strain on the Israel-EU relation?
Fulvio Martusciello: No, I disagree with this assessment. The co-operation between Israel and the EU benefits both parties and the disagreements only will create a problem to the EU citizens. I’m not sure we are interested in this.
Vocal Europe: What is Horizon 2020 exactly and why is it a rather controversial topic concerning Israel?
Fulvio Martusciello: Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). The Horizon 2020 is not at all a controversial topic, just if it is in the mind of biased people. The Horizon 2020 benefits Israel and most especially develops Research and Innovation within the EU.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently assured President Trump that they are ready to make a peace deal. Do you see this happening anytime soon? And if so, will Israel take part in this or will they reject the idea?
I believe President Abbas and President Trump are very much engaged in the peace process between the parties but what Israel decides is not something I do know or can respond for.