The linked EUROPEAN VOICE article by Ben Hayes includes opinions that Israel has received more in EU subsidizing than other nations. Its sub-headline blares:
"The inclusion of Israel in the European Security Research Programme undermines the EU's commitment to even-handedness in the Middle East."
Since incorporating Israel into the ‘European research area', the Commission has signed off on dozens of lucrative EU research contracts to the likes of Israel Aerospace Industries (a state-owned manufacturer of drones), Motorola Israel (producer of ‘virtual fences' around Israeli settlements) and Elbit Systems (one of Israel's largest private military technology firms, responsible for segments around Jerusalem of, to use the United Nation's term, the separation wall constructed between Jewish and Palestinian communities).
Some 58 EU ‘security research' projects have now also been funded under the new €1.4bn ‘security research' component of FP7. Israeli companies and institutions are participating in 12 of these, leading and co-ordinating five of them. Only the UK, Germany, France and Italy lead more projects.
Among this latest tranche of contracts is a €9.1 million project led by Verint Systems that will deliver “field-derived data” to “crisis managers” in “command-and-control centres”. (These contracts tend to avoid phrases such as ‘surveillance' and ‘homeland security', substituting less emotive terms.)
Verint describes itself as “a leader in enterprise workforce optimisation and security intelligence solutions, including video intelligence, public safety and communication intelligence and investigative solutions”. What it primarily provides is workplace surveillance, CCTV and wire-tapping facilities. Verint is now effectively being subsidised by the EU to develop surveillance and communication systems that may ultimately be sold back to the member states.
The raison d'être for establishing the EU security research programme was to enhance the ‘industrial competitiveness' of the nascent European ‘homeland security' industry. The Commission argues that funding for Israeli ‘homeland security' is wholly consistent with this aim (insofar as it will enhance Europe's “knowledge base”).
But should the Commission be giving more money to Israel's flourishing security sector than to its counterparts in most of the EU states?
More importantly, should it be subsidising it at all? Israel's control of what remains of the Palestinian territories now depends as much upon the hardware and software provided by its ‘homeland security' industry as its traditional military supremacy.
The midpoint of the current European Neighbourhood Project is this summer. This might be VERY SIGNIFICANT!
That's it for your friendly Monday morning wakeup call! Have a good and WATCHFUL day!