Supporting Israeli Apartheid – EU Funding For Elbit Systems

Stop the Wall has published a new briefing on EU funding for Elbit Systems. This briefing follows the announcement by Israel that the EU has already approved 205 projects with….

Stop the Wall has published a new briefing on EU funding for Elbit Systems. This briefing follows the announcement by Israel that the EU has already approved 205 projects with Israeli participation within the framework of the EU research cycle Horizon2020.

The briefing warns about possible funding to Elbit Systems and other Israeli companies involved in the military-industrial-scientific complex of a country that systematically commits war crimes and is in ongoing violation of the basic norms of international law and human rights.

Such funding would violate not only the growing call for a military embargo on Israel but as well the EU’s obligations under international law.

Stop the Wall calls on European civil society, members of the European and national parliaments and governmental representatives to lobby and pressure the relevant EU institutions to exclude Elbit Systems and any other Israeli entity involved in the state’s military-industrial-scientific complex (including their subsidiaries) from EU financial mechanisms and cooperation.

With a total budget of nearly €80 billion, Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation programme, is one of the world’s largest research and innovation programmes. Israel is associated to Horizon 2020 allowing Israeli entities to participate in the programme. Already during the previous funding cycle (FP7), Israeli entities participated in over 1500 projects.

Palestinian and European civil society has mounted sustained campaigning efforts to pressure the EU not to use taxpayers’ money to finance Israeli occupation, apartheid and colonialism through its funding cycles. To ease pressure, the EU introduced guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities to funding, grants, prizes and financial instruments.

It is highly alarming that on February 9, the Israeli R&D Directorate for the European Research Area (ISERD) published a document announcing that the EU has already approved within the Horizon2020 research cycle 205 projects with Israeli participation with a total value of 452,3M€

Elbit is one of the most iconic accomplices of Israeli violations of international law and a notorious war profiteer. Just after the military aggression on Gaza in July/August 2014, Elbit’s shares rose 6.6%. Elbit is deeply complicit in Israeli military aggressions against the Palestinian people and one of the world’s most important promoters of the use in drones in war and population control and directly involved in the construction of the Wall and the settlements.

Elbit Systems has been participating and coordinating a number of projects during the FP7 funding cycle and has already applied with at least 9 projects to Horizon2020. One of the projects aims to develop its patented Laser Gated Imaging (LGI) technology. This dual-use technology is widely used in military applications such as security and surveillance systems and is likely to be used in the maintenance of the Wall and the settlements, in unmanned boats of the kind Israel already uses to enforce its illegal siege on Gaza, sniper rifles and drones.

Will the EU fund the Israeli military capacity and dual-use technology?

The movement for a military embargo against Israel, based on the call from Palestine, have grown particularly after the 2014 attack by Israel on Gaza, which left over 2200 Palestinians dead. Protests are ongoing, in particular against Elbit. EU funding for the Israeli military-industrial-scientific complex that produces Israeli military, space and homeland security is inherently fuelling Israeli occupation and military aggression and with this war crimes and grave violations of human rights and international law by Israel.

Possible 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 only.” 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.

Will Horizon2020 continue involvement in the Israeli Wall and settlement project?

Should Elbit gain access to EU funding once again, this would show that the existing guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities are unable to ensure the EU complies with its obligations under international law in respect to Israel’s violations of international norms and human rights and undermine member states’ business guidance.

– a) Necessity to take into account the fungibility of grant money: The money channeled to Elbit Systems through participation in Horizon 2020 increases cash flow, thereby allowing Elbit to finance their operations and to develop technologies which they use to further Israel’s occupation and colonization of the West Bank and in conjunction with the Israeli military. The issue at stake is not the project itself but that these projects de facto are a subsidy to the company, including its production of drones and weapons and technology for the Wall and the settlements.

– b) EU facilitates its own institutions and companies to benefit from and contribute to violations of international law: The EU risks through Elbit’s participation in Horizon2020 to facilitate and finance the complicity of its own institutions and companies. While 19 EU member states have issued guidance to private business that warn businesses about the economic, legal and reputational “risks” of economic ties with illegal Israeli settlements and state that firms should be aware of the “possible abuses of the rights of individuals” such transactions may contribute to2 the European Commission through Horizon2020 risks to promote the opposite principle.

Read the full briefing here