A bilateral deal to bring foreign laborers from Romania to work in Israel's construction industry is dependent on Israeli compliance with a Romanian demand that its citizens not work beyond the Green Line, Army Radio reported on Tuesday.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry denied the request, causing the deal, which was at an advanced stage, to fall through. The negotiations had been ongoing for several months, and included a renewed effort following the election of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta's government a year ago. But the reason why the deal had not fallen into place was unknown until now, Army Radio reported.
"Israeli residents are being harmed on a daily basis by the government's activities in the territories," said MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), according to the report. "At this rate, it's only a matter of time until the state gives up its place for Benjamin Netanyahu's settlement state."
Romanian Ambassador to Israel Andrea Pasternak responded to the claims, saying, "This information is inaccurate. The deal is still being negotiated and there is interest on both sides to reach the finish line. Important diplomatic talks are set to take place later this month, and we expect to continue the discussion on the deal in that framework."
Former Israeli ambassador to the European Union Avi Primor told radio show "Good Morning Israel" that the "move was not made against Israel, but against a specific aspect of Israeli policy. This of course worsens during talks with the Palestinians, since it seems to the Europeans that we are making unnecessary provocations to torpedo the talks with new announcements about settlements every other day."
Meanwhile, a government committee dealing with construction workers met on Monday and decided to increase efforts to bring in laborers from Bulgaria and Moldova, Army Radio reported.