EU funds drone technology used by Israel in Gaza war, observers say

This article was originally published English

MEPs have already condemned European funding of Israeli military institutions in the past.

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The European Union has funded drone technology used by Israel in its devastating war against Gaza, two observers say. State surveillance e Demilitarization Information Center (IMI) concluded in an analysis Xtend — a drone manufacturer that supports the Israeli Defense Forces — received Research and Development Grant From the European Union’s Horizon Europe Fund.

„Other Israeli companies and military organizations have received millions of euros for drone development in recent years. Although there is a ban on EU funding for military and defense projectsThe European Commission has been contacted for further information.

Xtend received €50,000 from Horizon Europe, a multimillion-dollar research and innovation fund, to prepare a study on improving its Skylord Xtender drone system and find „strategic partners for the production and commercialization of the technology,” Statwatch and IMI wrote in a statement Friday. According to observers, the company later signed contracts with the US Department of Defense covering the Israeli military in 2021.

Following the October 7th Hamas attack on southern Israel, Xtend „redirected energies to 100% support of the Israel Defense Forces,” CEO Aviv Shapira told CTECH. Xtend, on its website, features testimonies from Israeli troops in Gaza In the states It „allows soldiers to perform precise maneuvers in complex combat scenarios.”

„Human rights groups have called on the EU to suspend its agreement with Israel The devastating effects of the attack From the latter to Gaza: massive civilian casualties, massive displacement and infrastructure destruction,” said Statewatch director Chris Jones.

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„This report shows that the EU should also take a hard look at companies that provide research and development funding,” he said. „Public money should be used for the public good, not to support corporations that profit from war and destruction,” he continued.

Los EU Treaties A Statwatch-IMI report on several EU-funded programs bans funding „expenditures deriving from activities with military or security consequences”. They gave millions of Euros of public money to Israeli companies and institutionsincluding the Ministry of Defense of the country.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense has participated in at least two EU-backed drone research projects in recent years – ResponseDrone y UnderSec – receiving a total of 200,000 euros for their work, audience profile.

They report that they received almost 8 million euros in EU funding for their efforts to develop the RespondDrone, which began in May 2019. Unmanned aerial system To support emergency services and search and rescue operations.

For its part, UnderSec has received €6 million in funding from Brussels to develop systems „with multimodal sensors and robotic assets” that can be used in drone technology. Both projects are “clear Possible military applications„, according to the report. This is not the first time that EU funding for Israeli military and defense programs has been called into question.

In February, MEP Clare Daly expressed concern Horizon Europe money – funded by European taxpayers – will go to the controversial Pegasus spying programMade in Israel, it routinely attacks journalists and politicians around the world.

„From the beginning, EU 'defense research’ had a dual use and was a gift to the European, Turkish and Israeli arms industries,” said IMI’s Christoph Marischka. „It is a logical consequence that the results of this research are now being used in various battlefields such as Gaza.”

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In 2021, a group of 60 left-wing and green MEPs urged the European Commission to suspend Israel’s participation in Horizon Europe. The country does not respect the values ​​that the European Union wants to uphold In the research and innovation programme, 95.5 billion euros have been allocated.

MEPs said Israel should be excluded until Palestinian rights are guaranteed. They said the research and findings „will not be detrimental to respect for human rights and international legal norms”.

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