ER Editor: Several things come to mind with this story, some of which David Cronin points out below.
1. Why can Israel just jump on board with European military research and development using EU taxpayer money?
2. How does it manage to make a profit out of it to the tune of around $155 million?
3. How does Israel manage to influence the direction of some of the R&D projects?
4. How can the EU morally and legally support such participation in view of the truly horrific situation in Gaza and elsewhere?
We recommend this piece from 2015 titled EU Directly Funds Israeli Military Companies and Institutions. Regarding the EU’s role in this:
By allowing Israeli actors that perpetrate or are complicit accomplices to unlawful acts and impediments to Palestinian self-determination to participate in research projects that it funds and administers, including projects that are developing technology that may be used in future unlawful acts, the EU lends legitimacy to Israeli violations of international law and renders assistance to the maintenance of these unlawful acts in a way that calls into question whether the European Union and member states are in violation of their own obligations under international law.
Funding for Israeli military and homeland security companies, such as Elbit Systems, will not only run counter to the growing call for a military embargo on Israel but violate the EU Commission’s commitment against dual use funding. According to the EU Commission: “In accordance with rules drawn up by the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission, funding for projects under Horizon 2020 can only be drawn down for research that will be applied for civilian purposes only9. Elbit’s research and technology – as showcased by the LGI technology – is inevitably liable to be used to perpetrate violations of international law by the Israeli military, as well as technology manufactured by IAI and Technion.
Israel likely to bag $1.6 billion in EU science grants
One internal paper indicates that – behind closed doors – EU representatives are really motivated by values of a financial and commercial nature.
The document was prepared for Carlos Moedas (pictured), the EU’s science commissioner, before a discussion he had during December 2018 with Aharon Leshno-Yaar, Israel’s ambassador in Brussels.
The officials who wrote the paper told Moedas that “you value greatly the role research and innovation play” in shaping relations between Israel and the EU.
Clearly impressed by Israel’s reputation as a high-tech powerhouse, the officials added there is “no doubt about our appetite to pursue cooperation” in the years ahead.
Although Israel has taken part in the EU’s research activities since 1996, the scope of its participation has widened considerably during that period.
Recent recipients of EU science grants have included Israel’s defense and “public security” ministries. They are the government departments which oversee a military that occupies the West Bank and Gaza, and prisons in which Palestinians are frequently tortured.
Ignorance is no excuse
As the man in charge of Horizon 2020 – the EU’s science program – Moedas bears responsibility for allowing bodies which oppress Palestinians to benefit from it.
Is Moedas properly informed about these matters? Probably not.
The aforementioned briefing paper does not discuss the ethics of embracing a massive human rights abuser such as Israel.
Ignorance is no excuse, however. Even if his entourage has decided to keep him in the dark, Moedas could easily find out the truth about Israel from other sources.
One condition of participating in Horizon 2020 is that Israel contributes towards the program’s budget.
Moedas’ briefing paper – obtained through a freedom of information request – stresses that Israel looks set to be a net beneficiary.
According to projections by EU officials, Israel will have drawn down almost $1.6 billion in grants from Horizon 2020 by the time it concludes next year (the program began in 2014). The overall sum would be approximately $155 million higher than the $1.4 billion which Israel is expected to pay into the program.
Singing in harmony
The briefing paper – published below – suggests that Israel will be able to join the EU’s next multi-annual research program, named Horizon Europe.
Israel is nonetheless perturbed that Horizon Europe will provide fewer financial opportunities for its weapons makers than the current program.
Horizon Europe will be separate from the European Defence Fund, a new initiative designed to stimulate innovation in the war industry. Israel may not be able to sign up to that fund, the paper indicates.
Israel’s merchants of death should not be too miffed at this slight.
Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries – leading suppliers of drones used in attacks on Gaza – have proven adept at winning EU grants until now. With a bit of ingenuity, they should be able to continue doing so.
Moreover, Israel has helped to set the agenda whereby the EU is splurging greater quantities of taxpayers’ money on developing killer robots and other futuristic weapons.
Israel’s war industry was active in some of the “expert” discussions which paved the way for the new fund to be established.
For the first time, the EU will soon have a commissioner dedicated to bolstering the war industry. That is unlikely to have escaped Israel’s attention.
EU policy makers and Israeli weapons makers are singing in harmony.
Elbit has lately used arms fairs to showcase its “vision” for how the battles of tomorrow will be fought. Elbit’s work on envisaging the future has been facilitated by its past testing of weapons on Palestinian civilians.
Israel and its war industry are perfectly capable of seizing the opportunities afforded by greater militarization in Europe, the US or further afield. With the correct branding, they will even be lauded for protecting Western “values.”
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