Foreign Ministry officials clashed with the government on Monday when Deputy Foreign Minister MK Zeev Elkin decided to shelve an internal ministry report blaming top Israeli government for being caught off guard by the recently announced European Union sanctions against cooperating with Israeli organizations in the settlements.
The clash came about two months after the European Union announced that it had decided to boycott Israeli institutions that operate beyond the Green Line. The dramatic decision, which could have far-reaching financial implications on the Israeli economy, took the political echelon in Jerusalem by surprise, even though, according to the MFA report, officials in the ministry had warned that the mood in Brussels against the settlements was turning increasingly cold.
The Foreign Ministry took no preemptive measures ahead of the announcement mainly because senior ministry officials didn't know about it until just before it was made. Furthermore, the government wasn't briefed properly and many government officials learned about it from the media.
In light of the debacle, Elkin asked the director-general of the ministry to launch an internal investigation into the incident and compile a report on his findings, including suggestions for future improvements. According to Israeli media sources, it was one of these suggestions that "made Elkin upset" because it lay the blame for the calamity on the political echelon, while concluding that the ministry's professional staff acted appropriately, and made the necessary warnings.
"Elkin rejected the report because he is looking for a scapegoat among the ministry's professional staff," said one senior ministry official.
Meanwhile, Israel is still trying to convince the EU to rescind its sanctions. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is helping Israel with these efforts.