EU subsidies for drone terror – take action to end EU support for Israel’s arms companies

War on Want published a report“Killer Drones” that exposes UK and EU complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Israeli arms companies benefit enormously from European Union public funds.The EU’s Framework Research Programme is the biggest single research and development budget in the world. The FP7 programme (2007-2013) has a budget of €51 billion; the upcoming programme, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), will have between €70 and €80 billion, with €2 billion earmarked for security research.1

Israeli organisations are involved in the European Security Research Programme, participating in 46 projects. No other non-European country is involved in so many projects. Marcel Shaton, General Director of Israel-Europe Research and Development Directorate, stated:“From the perspective of the Framework Programme, Israel is part of the European continent.”2

Both Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries participate in the programme. Beyond drone technology, both are involved in different ways in the occupation of Palestinian territories, notably by supplying technology for the Apartheid Wall.

Elbit is a partner in 5 EU projects (3 of which are ongoing) funded by the European taxpayer, totalling €29.2 million. Israel Aerospace Industries participates in 25 EU projects (10 of which are ongoing), totalling €215 million. Israel Aerospace Industries is a partner in the EU-funded OPARUS (Open Architecture for UAVbased Surveillance Systems) project, receiving an EU subsidy of €11.88m for the development of drones. Other OPARUS partners include BAE Systems (UK), Dassault (France), EADS (pan-European) and Thales (France).

In 2004, the International Court of Justice held that international law places obligations not only on Israel but also on other states.These obligations include not providing support in maintaining the situation created by an unlawful act in occupied Palestinian territory, and ensuring that any impediment to the exercise of the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination is brought to an end.3 The EU must abide by international law by ceasing to provide generous grants to Israeli companies involved in violations of international law and human rights.

Israel and Horizon 2020

Israel is one of the most heavily militarised states on earth. Israeli arms companies, such as Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries, play a leading role in the export of drones globally.

By allowing Israel’s arms companies to take part in public research projects, the EU is helping develop the next generation of technology that will be used to oppress Palestinians and violate international law. Currently, in the European Security Research Programme Israeli organisations participate in 46 projects.

Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) is the EU’s upcoming seven year €80 billion research and development funding program.

War on Want launched a campaign to end EU support for Israel’s arms companies.

Take Action – insist that Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, takes concrete action to assure that Israeli arms companies do not receive subsidies from European taxpayers. You can send a letter here.

To find out more about EU support for Israeli arms firms and the role of these firms in the UK drones programme see War on Want’s report Killer drones: UK complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Source: War on Want


1)See European Commission web page, ‘The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation’, 25 July 2013.

2)ISERD, ‘Israel and the European Framework Programme for Research and Development – Looking Ahead: the Seventh Framework Programme 2007- 2013’, 2006, p. 31.

3)Legal consequences of the construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion (9 July 2004), para. 159, International Court of Justice.