Press Releases

EU Commissioners Reward Israeli Human Rights Violations and Crimes
EU Commissioners Reward Israeli Human Rights Violations and Crimes

BADIL disagrees with and rejects the response of the Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell Fontelles, and the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, to the 60 Members of European Parliamentarians regarding their letter concerning the formalisation of the Horizon Europe Agreement with Israel and its eligibility, as well as channelling of European taxpayers money to Israeli institutions and military companies complicit in the colonial-apartheid system imposed by Israel over the Palestinian people.

In their response, issued on 21 March, the Commissioners not only unreasonably dismissed the legitimate concerns of 60 European parliamentarians, but also insisted on Israel’s continued and deepened engagement regardless of its persistent and increasing human rights violations and international crimes against the Palestinian people.

Whereas the EU has officially halted negotiations on upgrading the bilateral relations between EU and Israel in 2009 due to its human rights violations record,[1] the overall “business as usual” nature of relations has lessened the impact of an effective conditionality and compliance. Further, the bilateral relationship between Israel and the EU has continued to deepen through signing 13 bilateral agreements to supplement the overarching Association Agreement, most of which are without a conditional human rights clause.[2]

Additionally, while application of EU and international law allows EU’s withdrawal of bilateral benefits due to Israeli violations, the EU has in practice preferred constructive engagement with Israel.

The EU’s outstanding scientific interests have often dictated its lenient and complacent stance towards its Israeli partner by failing to display due concern to the latter’s gross human rights violations.[3] Consequently, the EU is funding Israeli government-owned companies that are using these funds as tools of oppression against the Palestinian people.[4]

Specifically, Israeli scientists and companies participate in EU Framework Programmes projects such as FP7, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. Under FP7 (2007-2013) alone, Israeli entities have received over US$1.06 billion in grants and gained over US$2.4 billion in value of knowledge (IP).[5]

Moreover, within the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 Research Programme aspiring at encouraging scientific research, Israel has been a net beneficiary of funding opportunities in research and innovation as an associated state,[6] with at least $155 (€130) million in benefits.[7]

Over the course of time, the European Community and European Union (EU) have formally been supporting “a just solution to the Palestinian problem,”[8] and “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people,”[9] while merely condemning Israeli violations of international law.  

The EU’s diplomatic approach to and political positioning vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians have played on misleading double standards, exemplified by statements condemning ongoing Israeli human rights violations while refraining from taking concrete and practical measures to terminate Israel’s impunity.

The EU’s dual approach, policies and objectives towards financial support for Israel and the Palestinians are an emblematic illustration of how the EU effectively contributes to reinforcing the current imbalance of power and the colonial-apartheid regime imposed by Israel d over all Palestinian people wherever they are.

The EU’s clearly biased policies towards Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people reinforce the status quo and benefit Israel’s enterprise of oppression, colonization and apartheid while trampling on the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. By the same token, the EU’s funding and partnering with Israel as described above violate, contradict and discredit its international obligations and responsibilities as well as its own legal and moral commitment to respect and uphold to human rights and relevant humanitarian principles.

Accordingly, BADIL calls on the EU Commission to:

  • Acknowledge the Israeli colonial-apartheid system over the Palestinian people as an international crime per international law;
  • Stop the biased policies which amounts to EU complicity in Israeli human rights violations and international crimes;
  • Comply with its own commitments and responsibilities based on EU and international laws and principles[10] by cooperating to bring an end to the illegal situation and the cessation of aid and assistance that would maintain that illegal situation;
  • Dissolve its bilateral agreements with Israel that serve to reward Israeli human rights violations and crimes. 

[1] EU Commission, ENP Country Progress Report 2009 – Israel, Memo/10/177, (Brussels 2010).

[2] “Policy Brief”, Oppenheim, Can Israel Overcome its Paralysis on Israel and Palestine?, Centre for European Reform, 2020.

[3] See David Cronin, “EU Representative Told to Treat Israel Softly,” Electronic Intifada, 9 November 2017, available at:

[4] See reports on

[5] Goldschmidt, R., Participation of the State of Israel in the Research and Development Framework Programme of the European Union, (Hebrew) The Knesset Research and Information Center, 6 February 2014.

[6] European Commission, “EU, Israel signs Horizon 2020 Association Agreement,” press release, 8 June 2014, available at:

[7]David Cronin, “Israel likely to bag $1.6 billion in EU science grants,” Electronic Intifada, 18 October 2019, available at:  [accessed 28 April 2020].

[8] European Economic Community, Venice Declaration, 13 June 1980, para.6, available at:

[9] EU-Palestinian Authority Action Plan, Political Chapeau, 2013, 3, available at:

[10] See Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations of 2011; EU Charter of Fundamental Rights of 2009; European Treaty on European Union of 1993; Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union of 1958; EU Common Foreign Security Policy.