A cross-party group of 60 MEPs sent a letter to High Representative of the EU, Joseph Borell, expressing their concerns over formalisation of the Horizon Europe agreement with Israel.
Association with Horizon Europe is one of the closest forms of cooperation in research and innovation between the EU and non-EU countries. Since years European and Palestinian civil society organisations and MEPs were raising concerns over channeling European taxpayers money to Israeli institutions complicit in illegal settlements and to Israeli military companies.
„The vision of Horizon Europe is to create “a sustainable, fair and prosperous future for people and planet based on European values”. Nonetheless, Israel’s inhumane acts targeting Palestinians have been characterised by international and European experts as amounting to internationally wrongful acts of apartheid and persecution, requiring obligations of non-recognition by Third States and an obligation to bring the internationally wrongful act to an end” – the group of MEPs say in their letter.
„Recent revelations around the use of cyber surveillance technology such as Pegasus spyware against Palestinian human rights defenders and the source of such technology should be investigated and addressed” – the letter reads.
„Furthermore, Israel has escalated its attacks against Palestinian civil society, more recently through the unjustified designation of six leading organisations as “terrorist” and unlawful, aiming to isolate them, endangering the viability of the Palestinian human rights movement and civil society – key to any democratic and inclusive society” – the MEPs add.
“It is against this backdrop, that we urge the European Commission to reconsider and freeze Israel’s participation in Horizon Europe, until Israel guarantees compliance with its obligations under international law towards Palestinians” – the letter concludes.
Rosa D’Amato – one of the MEPs that initiated the letter said: „I refuse to be a passive onlooker of human rights violations in Palestine. EU’s credibility is at stake here: we claim to uphold certain values across the globe, but these standards do not seem to apply to Israeli authorities. The formalisation of Horizon Europe agreement with Israel when attacks on NGO’s and civil society have intensified sends a worrying message.”
Horizon Europe agreement with Israel was signed on December 6 by the European Commission, however the European Parliament still needs to give its consent to the signature.