One hundred and fifty-five European Researchers and academics have delivered a stinging rebuke to Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Science, Research & Innovation.
In a beautifully crafted letter they express the outrage felt throughout the world, and especially in European countries including the UK, at the EU’s policy of rewarding the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel. Each new act of unspeakable brutality, each new onslaught of disproportionate force against civilians brings fresh privileges, fresh co-operation, fresh embraces from an enthusiastic EU élite.
Perhaps the most shameful thing about Europe’s relations with Israel is the EU-Israel Association Agreement which came into force in 2000. This is about special trading and other privileges and its purpose is to promote (1) peace and security, (2) shared prosperity through, for example, the creation of a free trade zone, and (3) cross-cultural rapprochement. It governs not only EU-Israel relations but Israel’s relations with the EU’s other Mediterranean partners, including the Palestinian National Authority.
To enjoy the Association’s privileges Israel undertook to show “respect for human rights and democratic principles” as set out as a general condition in Article 2, which says:
“Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.”
“Essential” being the operative word.
Respecting human rights and democratic principles is not optional. Article 2 allows steps to be taken to enforce the contractual obligations regarding human rights and to dissuade partners from pursuing policies and practices that disrespect those rights. The Agreement also requires respect for self-determination of peoples and fundamental freedoms for all.
Given Israel’s contempt for such principles the EU, had it been an honourable group, would have enforced Article 2 and not let matters slide. They would have suspended Israel’s membership until the regime fully complied. Israel relies heavily on exports to Europe so the EU could by now have forced an end to the brutal occupation of the Holy Land instead of always rewarding it.
The signatories to the letter to Mogherini and Moedas aptly quote the warning by Israel’s own human rights group B’Tselem:
“If the international community does not come to its senses and force Israel to abide by the rules that are binding to every state in the world, it will pull the rug out from under the global effort to protect human rights in the post-WW2 era.”
Here is that excellent letter:
To Ms. Federica Mogherini – High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
To Mr Carlos Moedas – European Commission, DG for Research and Innovation
Brussels, June 4, 2019
Re: Letter from European researchers and academics concerning Israel’s participation in Horizon Europe
Dear Ms. Federica Mogherini, Dear Mr. Moedas,
We researchers and academics from Europe are writing to you in order to express our deep concern about the participation of Israel and its military companies in EU Research Programs. While we write, new Israeli raids flare up and the smoldering remnant of Gaza protesters of the Great March of Return, already forgotten and forsaken.
More than 270 unarmed civilians were killed during the March of return, including women, children and persons with disabilities and thousands more were injured [28.939, of whom 7.247 by live fire]. They were only demanding their rights enshrined in international law: end of the illegal blockade and for the right of return to their ancestral homes from which they were expelled.
A report of the United Nation’s Independent Commission of Inquiry published earlier this year concluded that the Israeli army might have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by indiscriminately killing health workers, journalists and unarmed protesters who did not pose any imminent threats to the soldiers.
Relentless violence rages again after 11 years of inhumane siege and three military assaults that shattered the fabric of normal life. Gaza is declared to be uninhabitable by 2020 according to a report by the UN, but this “environmentally defined” deadline reflects only the intentionality of an imposed series of emergencies, followed each time by a further decrease in health, energy, food independence and commerce after each episode of armed aggression since 2007.
The hermetic siege combined with the systematic large scale military destruction is slowly strangling nearly the two million inhabitants of Gaza. None of the basic civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and power plants, was ever sufficiently rebuilt after each of the three military assaults due to severe restrictions by the blockade. Electricity is available only a few hours a day, 98% of water is not drinkable, and many hospitals periodically stop functioning due to lack of medication, spare parts of machinery, electricity and fuel.
Permission for patients to leave in order to receive life-saving treatment elsewhere has been continually declining in time. Tools for education, number of teachers, and rebuilding of schools are severely impaired. The inhabitants of Gaza have been consistently denied basic human rights and human dignity.
The disproportionate use of force on the civilians amounting to war crimes has also been systematic throughout all, long and short term, military operations, including the almost daily assaults to fishermen and agricultural workers.
These facts have been meticulously documented in authoritative reports by the UN and human rights organizations and widely condemned by the international community. Yet Israel’s policies of aggression and repression have continued.
This ongoing impunity is allowing Gaza, the world’s largest open air prison, to be used as a military testfield. In each offensive Israel deployed, tested and perfected new high-tech military weapons and surveillance systems. These new cutting edge high-tech products are exhibited and sold as “battle-tested”, an exclusive label Israeli home land security industry boasts. Israel became the world’s top arms exporter per capita.
This grave violation of human rights is thus highly profitable for Israel’s war industry disclosing another side of the claim of “only self-defense” and the interests beyond the lack of measure in the aggressions on Palestinians of Gaza.
Nonethelss, in spite of continual and serious breaches of international law and violation of human rights, and regardless of the commitment for upholding human rights of European countries, Israel enjoys an exceptionally privileged status in dealing with Europe also through the Association Agreement and has been receiving grants from the European Commission in the area of research and innovation (FP7 and its successor Horizon 2020).
Funds are granted even to Israeli arms producers such as Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI), the producers of lethal drones that were used in the Gaza military assaults against civilians, together with numerous academic institutions that have close ties with Israeli military industry.
We appeal to the European Union to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, as long as Israel continues to blatantly violate human rights. We are deeply disturbed that public funds contributed by European tax payers are channeled to a country that not only disregards human rights but also uses most advanced knowledge and technology for the very violation of human rights.
We believe that knowledge and innovation should serve progress in humanity and society, not to develop dual use or military research of a country that has a record history of grave human rights violations. This is not compatible with the values Europe upholds.
In 2017 more than 150 European trade unions, political parties, human rights organizations and faith groups from over 16 European countries issued a call urging the EU to uphold its legal responsibilities and exclude Israeli military companies from EU Framework Programs.
We support Amnesty International call for a military embargo on Israel issued last year following the attacks on the unarmed protesters of the Great March of Return using maiming bullets and brutal means by the Israeli army, unnecessary in that context.
Youth of Gaza appealed to you to stop funding Israeli manufacturers of weapons and surveillance system that guard their open-air prison, maimed them and destroyed their future.
In support of their outcry we call upon European Union and European Commission to suspend the Association Agreement with Israel and exclude Israel as an eligible partner for Horizon Europe (successor of Horizon 2020), as long as it refuses to comply with the rules of international law. We also share the concern of B’Tselem, Israeli human rights organization, which stated,
“If the international community does not come to its senses and force Israel to abide by the rules that are binding to every state in the world, it will pull the rug out from under the global effort to protect human rights in the post-WWII era.”
1. Dr. Nozomi Takahashi, Center for Inflammation Research, VIB-Ghent University, Belgium
2. Prof. Marc Van Ranst, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, KU Leuven, Belgium
3. Dr. Leander Meuris, Medical Biotechnology, VIB-Ghent University, Belgium
4. Prof. Tarek Meguid,
5. Prof. Em. John Dugard, Universities of Leiden and the Witwatersrand (UN Special Rapporteur onthe human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 2001-2008)
6. Prof. Em. Herman De Ley, Ghent University, Belgium
7. Dr. Andrea Balduzzi, Università di Genova, Italy
8. Prof.Giuliano Donzellini, University of Genua, Italy
9. Prof.Sergio Morra, University of Genua, Italy
10. Prof. Paolo Bartolini, University of Genua, Italy
11. Dr.Angela Waldegg, Austria
12. Prof. Salvatore Palidda,University of Genua, Italy
13. Andrea Sbarbaro,office worker (psychologist),University of Genua, Italy
14. Prof.Marcello Maneri, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
15. Dr.Syksy Räsäne, University of Helsinki, Finland
16. PhD. Prof. Haseeb Shehadeh, University of Helsinki, Finland
17. Paola Manduca, Former Associate Professor Genetics,University of Genoa, Italy
18. Prof. Em.Giorgio Forti, Unuversità degli Studi di Milkano, Italy
19. Adjunct Professor Pertti Multanen, University of Tampere, Finland
20. Dr. Angela Flynn, University College Cork, Ireland
21. Docente ordinario Giuseppe Mosconi, Università di Padova, Italy
22. Prof.Anna Boato, Uniiversità di Genova, Italy
23. Dr. Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland,
24. Mathias Urban, Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education, Dublin City University, Ireland
25. Prof. Sancia Gaetani, Già Istituto Nazionale Nutrizione, Italy
26. James Roche, Lecturer,Technoligical University Dublin, Ireland
27. Prof. Angelo Baracca,University of Florence, Italy
28. Prof.Giorgio M. Giallocosta, University of Genoa, Italy
29. Prof PhD Alessandro Bianchi, Department Informatics – Univ. Bari, Italy
30. Em. Prof Elisabetta Donini, University of Turin, Italy
31. Prof. Luca Queirolo Palmas,University of Genoa, Italy
32. Rosella Franconi, Senior scientist, Italy
33. Pediatric surgeon Bruno Cigliano, University “Federico II” Naples-Italy
34. Prof. Vittorio Agnoletto,University of Milan, Italy
35. Em. Prof.Andrea Frova, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Physics Dept, Italy
36. Em. Prof. Mariapiera Marenzana, Ministry of Education, Italy
37. Massimo Di Rosa, Italy
38. Prof. Iain Chambers, University of Naples, “Orientale”, Italy
39. Dr. Paola Rivetti, Dublin City University, Ireland
40. Prof. Lidia Curti, University of Naples, Italy
41. Phd. Kati Juva, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland
42. Hessel Christiane, Epouse de l’Ambassadeur de France Stéphane Hessel, France
43. Phd. Bruno Lapauw, Ghent University, Belgium
44. Prof. Matthieu Lenoir, Ghent University, Belgium
45. Prof. Stef Craps, Ghent University, Belgium
46. Prof. Dr. De Baerdemaeker Luc, Ghent University, Belgium
47. Ana Cabal, University of Antwerp, Belgium
48. Dr. Kristina Mercelis, Belgium
49. Arch assistant. Geert Pauwels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
50. R. Van Laere, Royal academy for Archaeology of Belgium
51. Prof. Karel Arnaut, KU Leuven – IMMRC, Belgium
52. Prof. Dr.Willie van Peer, University of Munich, Austria
53. Prof. Dr. Em. Frans Daems,University of Antwerp, Belgium
54. Omar Jabary Salamanca, Ghent University, Belgium
55. Prof. Jan Delrue, KU Leuven University, Belgium
56. Em. Prof. Christian Kesteloot, KU Leuven University, Belgium
57. Prof. Em. Aviel Verbruggen, University of Antwerp, Belgium
58. Medical student Serhat Yildirim,Ghent University , Belgium
59. Prof. Emer. Piet Mertens, KU Leuven, Belgium
60. Associate Professor Nadia Fadil, KU Leuven, Belgium
61. Em. Prof. Dr. Patric Jacobs, Ghent University, Geology Deparment, Belgium
62. Honourary Professor Michel Vanhoorne, Ghent University, Belgium
63. Docent Jan Wyns, Belgium
64. Em. Prof. Marc David, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium
65. Prof. Pieter Rombouts, Ghent University, Belgium
66. Mireille Gleizes, Belgium
67. Dr. Barbara Van Dyck, University of Sussex, UK
68. Em. Prof. Claude Veraart, University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium
69. Professeur Honoraire Pierre Gillis, Université de Mons, Belgium
70. Researcher Patrick Italiano, University of Liege, Belgium
71. Professeur Ordinaire Honoraire André Gob, Université de Liège, Belgium
72. Researcher Jacques Moriau, ULB, Belgium
73. Philosopher Marc Vandepitte, Technische Scholen Mechelen, Belgium
74. Abdessalam Faraj, Belgium
75. PhD Gillet S. University of Namur, Belgium
76. Em. Prof. Mateo Alaluf, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
77. Prof. Em. Biesemans Monique, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
78. Em. Prof. Fred Louckx, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
79. Prof. Marc Jacquemain, University of Liege, Belgium
80. Prof. Germain Marc, Université de Lille, France
81. Professeur-chercheur Lucienne Strivay, Université de Liège, Belgium
82. Prof. Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, Ghent University, Belgium
83. Researcher Andrew Crosby, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
84. Prof. Bert Cornillie, KU Leuven, Belgium
85. Docent Dario Giugliano, Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli, Italy
86. Prof. de Beer Daniel, Université Saint-Louis, Belgium
87. Researcher M Louise Carels, Université de Liège, Belgium
88. Prof. Victor Ginsburgh, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
89. Em. Prof. Heinz D. Hurwitz, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
90. M.A. Maria Aurora De Angelis, SOAS University of London, UK
91. Dr. Jef Peeters, KU Leuven, Belgium
92. Em. Prof. Magda Devos, University of Ghent, Belgium
93. Em. Prof. Norbert Van den Bergh, Gent University, Belgium
94. Em. Prof. Stefan Kesenne, University of Antwerp, Belgium
95. Prof. Dr. Em. Madeline Lutjeharms, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
96. Marie Scheirlinck, Belgium
97. Koen Verrept, VUB, Belgium
98. Prof. Roberto Beneduce, University of Turin, Italy
99. Prof. Patricia Willson, Université de Liège, Belgium
100. Em. Prof. Christiane Schomblond, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
101. Em. Prof. Florimond De Smedt, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
102. Professeur Honoraire Mormont Marc, Université de Liège, Belgium
103. Dr. Zahidi, University of Antwerpen, Belgium
104. PhD Leena Saraste, Finland
105. Em. Prof. P. Marage, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
106. Em. Prof. Michel Gevers, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
107. Senior Research Associate Giselle Corradi, Ghent University, Belgium
108. Tiziana Terranova, Italy
109. Honorary Prof. Albert Martens, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
110. Em. Prof. Vandermotten Christian, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
111. Prof. Jean-Claude Gregoire, Université libre de Bruxeles, Belgium
112. Researcher Xavier May, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
113. Dr. Duez Colette, University of Liege, Belgium
114. Phd Tanneke Herklots, the Netherlands,
115. Em. Prof. Marc De Meyere, Gent University, Belgium
116. Researcher Antonio Mazzeo, Italy
117. Prof. Michele Carducci, UniSalento – Lecce, Italy
118. Prof. Carine Defoort, KU Leuven, Belgium
119. Dr. Chiara Cardelli, Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Vienna, Austria
120. Prof. Em. Pieter Saey, Gent University, Belgium
121. Independent scholar Celeste Ianniciello, Italy
122. Em. Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics, UK
123. Prof. Dr. Em. Erik Van der Straeten, Belgium
124. Prof. James Dickins, University of Leeds, UK
125. Dr. Tajul Islam, University of Leeds, UK
126. Dr. Barry Heselwood, University of Leeds, UK
127. Patrik Lasure, Pax Christi Vlaanderen, Belgium
128. Wim Nerinckx, Belgium
129. René Weemaels, Belgium
130. André Posman, Belgium
131. Technician Kelly Lemeire, University of Ghent, Belgium
132. Em. Prof. Schomblond Christiane, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
133. Dr. Gie Van Den Berghe, University Gent, Belgium
134. Rasha Soliman, University of Leeds, UK
135. Simona Antonova, UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands
136. PhD Michail Mamantopoulos, Belgium
137. Dr. Tom Moerenhout, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland
138. Prof. Dirk Vandermeulen, KU Leuven, Belgium
139. Em. Prof. Heinz Hurwitz, Université Libre Bruxelles, Belgium
140. Sénateur Honoraire Galand Pierre, Belgium
141. Prof. Megan Povey, University of Leeds, UK
142. Branch President UCL UCU Sean Wallis, University College London, UK
143. Dr. M Akhtar, University of Leeds, UK
144. Tom Hickey, University of Brighton, UK
145. Dr. Karen Evans, University of Liverpool, UK
146. Dr. Anne Alexander, University of Cambridge, UK
147. Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
148. Prof. Franco Montanari, University of Genoa, Italy
149. Dr. Stephanie Kourula, Belgium
150. Em. Prof. Chris Roberts, University of Manchester, UK
151. Researcher-PhD student Ainhoa Benedicto, Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau, Spain
152. Tica Font, Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau, Spain
153. Researcher Edgard Vega, Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau, Spain
154. Ph Dr. Retired Assistant Professor Xavier Bohigas, Uinversitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Catalonia-Spain
155. Prof. Jan Dumolyn, University of Ghent, Belgium
* Institutions are added for identification purposes only. All signatories have signed the letter in a personal capacity.