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World

The European Union is Complicit in Israeli War Crimes

Translated Wednesday 5 August 2015, by Henry Crapo

The European Union is an unrivalled comrade in arms. And it may be, under the cover of certain research programs, the principal financier of Israeli war crimes and of the colonisation of Palestine. [1]

The Israeli occupation is murderous. On Friday, a baby was killed in a criminal incendiary act by colonizers. The organization Stop the Wall and some euro-deputies denounce the access to financing, via a research program, of Elbit Systems, an enterprise engaged in the 2014 war against Gaza.

Colonization must not continue. The little Palestinian Ali Dawabcheh, 18 months old, was burned alive during the night of Thursday to Friday. Israeli colonizers threw Molotov cocktails on the house of his parents, who are still, along with his brother, in a critical state. His funeral made the baby a symbol. Demonstrations occurred throughout occupied West Bank of the Jordan River. Also in Israel, thousands of citizens expressed their refusal of hatred. And the prime minister, Netanyahou, felt obliged to react against "jewish terrorism". He tried to wash his hands of his own responsibilities in the promotion of colonization and the banalization of the extreme right, which is an integral part of his government.

But if Netanyahou is able to continue his policy of colonization, it is because he has help from other countries, and particularly from countries in Europe. Brussels, passing by way of contracts for research, finances industries of the Israeli military-industrial complex. This is what is denounced by Euro-deputies and the non-governmental organization Stop the Wall in a report that shows how the wealth of Europe is showered upon the company Elbit Systems. This company developed systems for "security" that assure the surveillance of the wall of apartheid between the West Bank and Israel, and the drones that were used to kill Palestinians in Gaza last summer, in acts that even the European Union declared to be "war crimes".

Last summer, while a deluge of fire-power fell without respite on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, the European government in Brussels pretended to harden its position, without ever imagining it could suspend the agreement of association, which binds the European Union to Israel, in order to force Israel to respect international law. If the bombardment ceased, the respite was only apparent, and the level of military collaboration between the European Union and Tel Aviv continued in another form. Thus, 73 euro-deputies, mainly from the group European Unitary Left - Nordic Green Left (GUE-GNL) and from the European Socialist Party are concerned about the access to European funding by the company Elbit Systems and by other leaders of the Israeli military-industrial complex. Leading element in the market for drones, Elbit Systems could profit from the program for research and development "Horizon 2020", for which the budet is estimated at 80 billion euros.

In a letter sent to the high commissioner of the European Union for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, and to the director-general of the general management of research for the European Commission, Robert-Jan Smits, the European deputies denounce the cooperation with organizations that "have become complicit in Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people", as emphasized by Martina Anderson, of the Irish Sinn Fein. The parliamentarians base their position on a study carried out by the organization Stop the Wall, a group of non-governmental organizations, of people’s committees and of Palestinian associations, militating against the wall of apartheid, which exposed six propositions for projects submitted to Brussels by Elbit Systems. Martina Anderson indicates, moreover, that during a preceding research program of the European Union, (2007-2013) "Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries participated in projects valued at 393,600,149 euros, and a number of these projects were for the development of drones."

And she continues, "The financing of projects tied to Isaeli enterprises involved in the framework of "internal security" in the colonies risks going against the orientations established by more than 20 member states, that they not maintain economic links that would benefit the colonies. To be clear, the participation of Israeli groups in European funds is to be strictly controlled, and the European Union is not supposed to provide financing for enterprises operating in the occupied territories. Normally, the European funds can only be used in a civil framework in conformity with international law. Israel, nevertheless, remains the primary commercial partner of the European Union, and enjoys a privileged position, contrary to European community rules. Linked by an agreement of association, the two parties have particularly pushed cooperation in science and technology.

Thanks to a previous program in the European fremework for research and development, 2000 common projects between Israeli and European companies have benefitted from grants. The European Union contributes to "creating a status quo ante on the terrain", as denounced by Saëb Erekat, principal Palestinian negociator, member of the executive committee of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine, in regard to the French company Orange, considered to be the "principal partner in the occupation". Thanks to a trademark contract with Partner Communications Company, Orange receives an economic benefit from communication infrestructure installed in the colonies. And contributes to maintaining illegal implantations in the West Bank.

The same goes for Alstom and the construction of a tramway crossing East Jerusalem to serve the colonies. In 2004, after the Israeli operation "Protective Border" ithe Gaza Strip, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul cancelled its cooperation agreement with Elbit Systems, following a strong social mobilization. The government of that state emphasized that the drones furnished by the company had been tested during the military agression that had killed more than 2100 Palestinians, and that the price of shares in Elbit had gone up since the war.

"Armament represents only the tip of the iceberg"

In fact, investors had anticipated an increase in orders for these drones, being those most sophisticated in the world. The cancellation of the contract was saluted by the BDS movement (Boycott, Dis-investment, and Sanctions). "If Israel can continue its violations of human rights, it is only because of an international collaboration, and especially because of agreements such as that which the government of Rio Grande do Sul has now cancelled," explains Jamal Juma, member of the national committee of BDS. Prior to this action of Rio Grande do Sul, the Norwegian state also freed itself from all cooperation with Elbit Systems. This is a pressure of the kind called for by "Stop the Wall" with respect to European institutions, when research programs are financed by European taxpayers. Acccording to Hugh Lovatt, Israel-Palestine coordinator of the European Council on Foreign Affairs, a laboratory for pan-European ideas, "Armament represents only the visible tip of the iceberg. The real question is to what degree do the relations between the European Union and Israel contribute to maintaining the occupation of Palestinian territories?"


"The Europeans Finance the Israeli Military Industry"

Interview

Resistance.

Jamal Juma is at the origin of the revelations concerning the European financing of Elbit Systems, which openly violates international laws.

Huma: In what way did Elbit Systems become guilty of violations of international law?

Jamal Juma: Elbit Systems consciously violates both international laws and human rights. The enterprise takes profits from Israeli war crimes. Palestinian organisations have shed light on these facts, and the United Nations also attests to them. A succession of European financial institutions have already broken off their engagement with Elbit. This company is involved in the construction of the wall of apartheid and of infrastructures in the colonies. Lastly, Elbit produced most of the drones and the technologies employed in the wars of aggression against Gaza and against Lebanon. During the assault on Gaza in 2009-2010, the arms that killed the most civilians were drones. In 2014, when 2100 persons were killed, the drone Hermes 900 underwent final tests, and flights without pilots were tried for the first time.

Huma: How does Elbit intend to make profits on European research funds?

Jamal Juma: Elbit Systems has already brought to completion seven projects thanks to funds from current European research programs. During an earlier program, Elbit coordinated a project estimated at 2 million euros, aiming to develop advanced technologies permitting observations from outer space. At the same time, Elbit has become a key actor in the development of the system of multi-mission satellites for the Israeli army. In the next program, Elbit intends to develop laser imagery, widely used in military applications such as "security". This technology serves the surveillance of the wall, of the colonies, and of the pilotless boats used by Israel to reinforce the illegal seige of the Gaza Strip. It also serves in the perfectioning of rifles for snipers and drones.

Huma: Are European research projects affected by funds passed to Elbit?

Jamal Juma: Financing provided to Elbit amounts to giving European tax money to the Israeli military-industrial complex. These sums are a form of support and legitimation of Israeli military aggression. These funds encourage European partners to benefit from the technology used by Israel to violate international law. They contribute, finally, to maintenance of the Israeli war economy. Such transfers of funds show the profound weaknesses in procedures of the European Union, which, for the most part, rely only upon the ethics certificates provided by the enterprises.

Huma: How can European citizens bring pressure to bear?

Jamal Juma: The lack of democracy in European institutions affects not only the Palestinians but also the Greeks, and ordinary citizens of all countries. Meanwhile, the existing policies restricting the financing of Israeli enterprises are the result of citizen mobilization. It is important to contact Euro-deputies and national governments, to demand the stopping of such funding. The collaboration between Thales and Elbit in the construction of a new drone in the United Kingdom is another example of European complicity. It is high time to put an end to all military relations with Israel and to stop using European tax money to finance these operations.


War Crimes in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip

Last summer, at the height of the war against the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army sealed off the villages to the east of Rafah, on the pretext of the capture of an Israeli officer, Hadar Goldin, by a commando of Palestinian resistants. An operation named "Hannibal". Reinforcing the land attack by artillery and tanks, fighter aircraft F-16 had free rein to launch their missles. 135 civilains were killed, 75 of whom were children. Documents in hand, Amnesty International demands investigation of war crimes, and eventually of crimes against humanity, occurring during the period 1-4 August 2014.


Impunity of Colonizers is Encouraged by the Government

by Gaël de Santis

The murder of a Palestinian baby, burned alive on Friday during an attack by colonizers, has been widely condemned in Israel. But only a segment of the Israeli opposition places clear blame on the policy of colonization maintained by the government of Benyamin Netanyahou

Horror, on Friday, in Douma, in the West Bank. Four masked men throw Molotov cocktails at the house of the family Dawabcheh. The 18-month old baby, Ali, does not survive. He is dead, burned alive. His parents and his brother are in a "critical" state. The authors of the crime, the colonizers, are being sought by israeli authorities. If the identity of the aggressors is unknown, the faces of those indirectly responsible are well known. This weekend, israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahou went so far as to use harsh words. He qualified the fire-bombing a "terrorist attack", vocabulary usually reserved for actions of the Palestinian resistance.

Mahmoud Abbas will take the case to the International Criminal Court

The Palestinian head of government, who, in an unaccustomed way, made a visit to the parents, even promised to "arrest the murderers and bring them to justice". This poorly disguises the fact that, during his time in office, actions by extremists implanted in the colonies have rarely been the object of legal pursuits. One can count 11,000 attacks by colonizers these last ten years in the Left Bank, the Palestinian Authority recalls, while the israeli non-governmental organization Yrsh Din reveals that 15 palestinian homes have been burned since 2008, without any action being taken concerning the authors of the crimes.

The israeli government, and the person who has been in command since 2009, Benyamin Netanyahou, carry an enormous responsibility. "The parties of the right wing in the government can not stop at (a simple) condemnation (of the act), by washing their hands", denounced Dov Khenin, member of the israeli Communist Party and deputy of the United List. For years, the prime minister has not stopped playing with fire, while relying on the lobbies and parties of the colonialists. Certainly, the action of the colonizers, assembled on Friday under the banner of "The Price to Pay", follows the destruction, on Wednesday, of two uncompleted houses in the colony of Beit El, at the demand of the israeli Supreme Court. But on that same Wednesday, the govenment announced that it authorized the "immediate" construction of 300 lodgings in that same colony. It is not the first time that such an announcement has been made. The new lodgings scatter about, mainly in East Jerusalem, and around the site that should be the capital of the state of Palestine. And for good reason: in the Netanyahou government, which looks toward the participation of the extreme right wing, the colonizers are obtaining for themselves the best seats. The Jewish Foyer of Naftali Bennett thus has the office of Justice minister.

In the Left Bank, emotions are high. As in the demonstrations on Friday, a day on which two adolescents were also killed by the army of occupation. Not confident in the capacity of Tel Aviv to render justice, the Palestinian Authority, by the voice of its president Mahmoud Abbas, announced that it will take the case to the International Court of Justice, of which the Palestinians are members since earlier this year. The peace camp, in Israel, is also mobilized. Demonstrations were held on Saturday in meny cities of the country. In Tel Aviv, the slogan was "An End to Hatred", but among the different political groups, only the left wing group Meretz and the United List clearly implicated the policy of colonization, as reported in a communique from the Israeli Communist Party. In Jerusalem, the march took a special route: the demonstrators went to the place where, last Thursday, a religious extremist wounded, with a knife, six participants in the Gay Pride event.

[1This is a composite of three related articles published in l’Humanité on Monday 3 August:
L’Union européenne complice des crimes de guerre israéliens, Les Européens financent l’industrie militaire israélienne, and L’impunité des colons encouragée par le gouvernement. Only small portions of the first two articles are freely available on the French web site.


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