Complicit Union – a guide to EU funding of Apartheid Israel
A guide to the most shocking aspects of the funding Apartheid Israel receives from the European Union under the EU-‐Israel Association Agreement. This brief deals specifically with the territories Israel occupied in 1967, namely the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. A more thorough brief, which will include EU complicity in discrimination of Palestinians citizens of Israel and refugees, will follow.
The EU-‐Israel Action Plan makes reference to a “special status” Israel enjoys in its relationship with Europe on the basis of so-‐called “common values”. The Goldstone Report provides ample evidence that Israel committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinians in Gaza. Israel is yet to abide by hundreds of UN resolutions, which it has persistently ignored, including the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, which were endorsed by the UN General Assembly as well as, more recently, by the European Parliament. While Israel enjoys preferential access to European markets, research funding and a whole range of political and financial support, fundamental human rights are denied to the entire Palestinian people by Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid, among them 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip who are submitted to collective punishment by Israel’s illegal blockade. Human lives, rights and aspirations are being shattered on the back of this so-‐called “special relationship”, which at its core is a relationship of deep complicity in covering up and perpetuating Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.
The EU funds the Israeli military industrial complex. The EU is a main provider of international humanitarian and development aid to Palestinians under Israel’s occupation. In many cases of proven wanton Israeli destruction of EU-‐funded infrastructure and other economic projects, the EU simply paid lip service in criticizing Israel but quickly jumped to fund rebuilding what Israel had destroyed, thereby subsidizing and covering up Israel’s aggression and illegal destruction of civilian facilities. In addition, the EU provides substantial financial support to key Israeli military suppliers that form the backbone of Israeli oppression:
* Israeli arms companies and universities receive funding through their involvement in 13 EU ‘security’ research programmes worth €47.99m.1
* Recent studies have revealed the complicity of Israeli universities in Israel’s occupation and violations of international law.2
• Israeli arms companies, Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Azimuth Technologies, all receive funding from the European Union.3
• The funding of Elbit Systems is particularly disturbing given its active involvement in the construction of the Apartheid Wall,4 condemned as illegal by the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly and the EU itself.
• Some companies even receive funding to develop the very same technologies used against the Palestinians. For example, Motorola Israel take part in a €2.3m project led by Israeli arms manufacturer Azimuth Technologies that develops surveillance and detection technology.5 The same set of technology already developed and supplied by Motorola Israel is currently in use in between 20 and 47 illegal settlements.6
The EU assists Israeli corporations that profit from the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land
Israel’s occupation and colonial enterprise is profitable – very profitable. While EU ministers and officials denounce the illegal colonial settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), they also provide financial and logistical support for the companies that profit from these settlements.
• The EU-‐Israel Business Dialogue was established by former EU Commissioner Günther Verheugen and aims to create new business links.7 Israeli participants include arms company Elbit Systems, Bank Leumi -‐-‐ Israel’s second largest bank, the operator of several settlement branches and the provider of mortgages for the purchase of properties in settlements8 -‐-‐ and Steimatsky, a bookshop with stores in the illegal Israeli colonies.9
• In 2006, the European Investment Bank agreed a €75m credit line with Bank Hapoalim.10 Bank Hapoalim has branches in Gilo and Pisgat Ze’ev settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.11
The EU provides a market for settlement produce
The EU is the second-‐largest market for Israeli goods, after the United States. In 2008, Israeli companies exported €12 billion ($16.2 billion) in goods to Europe. An estimated one-‐third of these goods are either fully or
partially made in colonies on the occupied territories.12
-‐ Illegal application of EU-‐Israel trade agreements has led to produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT being exported with reduced tariffs.13 The EU is widely believed to be the biggest market for agricultural goods from illegal settlements.
-‐ In March 2010, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that settlement produce should not qualify for reduced tariffs under EU-‐Israel agreements or under EU-‐Palestinian Authority agreements and urged member states to ensure that settlement produce do not benefit from reduced tariffs.14 Member states have yet to make progress in implementing the court’s decision.
The EU normalises Israeli aggression
Cultural events and projects involving Palestinians and/or Arabs and Israelis that promote “balance” between the “two sides” in presenting their respective narratives, as if on par, or are otherwise based on the false premise that the colonizer and the colonized, the oppressor and the oppressed, are equally responsible for the “conflict,” are intentionally deceptive, intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible.15 Nevertheless, the EU funds many such projects which are commonly known in Palestinian civil society as a ‘peace industry’. Grantees include:
• Palestinian-‐Israeli Peace NGO Forum co-‐founded by the Peres Center for Peace: a columnist in Israel’s Ha’aretz Daily called the Peres Center for Peace patronizing and colonial organization that is in the business of training “the Palestinian population to accept its inferiority and prepare it to survive under the arbitrary constraints imposed by Israel”.16
• “Investing in Peace: Palestinian-‐Israeli Engagement through ICT Business Cooperation” which serves the “economic peace” agenda of Israel’s government.
• “’Football: Our Common Ground’ – Promoting Coexistence between Israeli and Palestinian Youth through Football” assuming that the conflict is a matter of therapy and ignoring Israel’s policies of occupation, colonization, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
7 Israel Venutre Capital & Private Equity Journal, December 2007 www.cgpeurope.com/pics/mgmt/200712_IVC_CG.pdf