500 Academicians: EU Legitimizing Israel’s Illegal W. Bank Settlements

Over 500 academicians from 20 countries (in Europe, Latin-America, the US and Israel) last week published an open letter condemning Horizon 2020, the EU’s most recent science program, for granting research funds to Israeli scholars working at Ariel University in the occupied Palestinian territory . The signatories to the letter entitled “Ariel University and Horizon 2020 – The EU is legitimizing Israel’s illegal settlements” demand that the EU desist from providing such research grants to academicians from Ariel University.

In the letter, the signatories “note with grave concern the ongoing failure of the European Union to ensure that its taxpayer-funded research programmes [sic] are not used to legitimize or otherwise sustain the establishment and the activities of Israeli academic institutions in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).”

“As the EU Commission recently reiterated, ‘Article 19 of the Horizon 2020 Framework Regulation provides that all the research and innovation activities carried out under Horizon 2020 must comply with ethical principles and relevant national, Union and international legislation.’…The necessary provisions have been made in EU legislation and its implementing rules to “ensure the respect of positions and commitments in conformity with international law on the non-recognition by the EU of Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967.”

The letter goes on to say, “In addition, in all cases Ariel University is falsely indicated on projects material as located in Israel. The far-right-supporting, now defunct Trump administration made its support for illegal Israeli settlement institutions official, including by ending long-standing restrictions on research funding. The EU must and can do better.”

Specifically, they claim, “Research projects should not be used to legitimize or otherwise sustain illegal Israeli settlements. The EU cannot resile from its own obligations in this respect without further empowering Israel’s unlawful military occupation and its oppression of millions of Palestinians, and without further undermining the Palestinian people’s inalienable and universally recognized rights under international law.”

Among the Israeli academicians who signed the open letter: Ofer Aharony, Weizmann Institute of Science; Yonathan (Jon) Anson, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Outi Bat-El Foux, Tel Aviv University; Irena Botwinik, Open University; Jerome Bourdon, Tel Aviv University; Raz Chen-Morris, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nomi Erteschik-Shir, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Snait Gissis, Tel Aviv University; Amos Goldberg, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Amiram Goldblum, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Oded Goldreich, Weizmann Institute of Science; Nir Gov, Weizmann Institute of Science; Ilana Hairston, Tel Hai Academic College; Ahmad Ighbariah, Tel Aviv University; Anat Matar, Tel Aviv University; Yoav Peled, Tel Aviv University; Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Shakhar Rahav, University of Haifa; Dmitry Shumsky, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Kobi Snitz, Weizmann Institute of Science.