The European Union (EU) is channelling European taxpayers' money to Israeli entities accused of international law violations, according to a new briefing by human rights campaigners.
The research, carried out by the Brussels-based group European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), was published Tuesday.
"EU research funds have been a very important source of funding for Israeli academics, corporations and state institutions, among them a number of military companies and those involved in illegal Israeli settlements", stated ECCP in a press release launching 'EU and Israel: The Case of Complicity'.
"For many years European and Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations have been raising concerns over European taxpayers' money being channelled to Israeli companies and institutions accused of war crimes and involved in violations of international law and human rights".
According to ECCP, even at the same time as the EU has been criticising Israeli actions over the years in the occupied Palestinian territory, the body has also been "funding the very companies that sustain these unlawful activities".
Thus, the human rights campaigners add, "when it comes to Israel the EU continues to violate its own directives and commitments to international law by funding Israeli complicit entities at the expense of Palestinians".
In one example cited in the research, as part of the last funding cycle known as 'Horizon 2020', two of Israel's largest military companies – Elbit Systems and Israeli Aerospace Industry – received almost 10 million Euros of European taxpayers' money.
Although Israel is not an EU country, Israeli applicants have been able to access EU research funds on the same basis as member states since 1995 through the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
"While Israel, as the Occupying Power, bears the main responsibility to ensure respect for international law and human rights of the occupied Palestinian population", ECCP states, "third states which are not party to the conflict, such as the EU and its member states, also have an obligation to not aid, assist or recognise bodies that violate international law".