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  • Israel and the FP7 European Security Research Programme (Security Industry: links between Israel and the Netherlands?)

    To get access to the European markets and to sell the “Israeli experience” as described in Chapters I, II and III, the programme of EU grants provides a great opportunity. The Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development, also called Framework Programmes or abbreviated FP, are funding programmes created by the European Union in order to support and encourage research in the European Research Area (ERA). The specific objectives and actions vary between funding periods.117 This chapter introduces the so-called Framework Programme FP7, aimed at Security Research, and discusses some of the arguments against Israel benefiting from this programme. It also gives an overview of the contacts the Programme provides between the Israeli homeland security industry and Dutch partners in some of the projects, and details of the content of one of those projects.

    The European Security Research Programme (ESRP) was set up after consultation of a high-level group of 27 top European industry executives and policy-makers. This resulted in a report “Research for a Secure Europe”, which advocated an annual EU budget of € 1 billion for security research. The setting is very much post-9/11 and echoes the shock of the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London. The idea is that new technologies are key in the fight against terrorism. Announcing the programme, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin emphasised the need to enhance Europe’s competitive edge in strong underlying security-related research.

    The FP7 has an overall budget of over 50.5 billion Euros, which is allocated differently for each of its components. The budget allocated for the Security Research component is 1.4 billion Euros for the years 2007 – 2013. The objectives of the ESRP are outlined as:

    • “building capabilities needed to ensure the security of citizens from threats such as terrorist acts and (organised) crime, natural disasters and industrial accidents while respecting fundamental human rights including privacy;
    • ensuring optimal and concerted use of available and evolving technologies to the benefit of civil European security; stimulating the cooperation of providers and users for civil security solutions;
    • Improving the competitiveness of the European security industry and to deliver mission-oriented results to reduce security gaps”.119

    In 2006, more than 75 percent of Israeli defence industry sales were to foreign armed forces. In 2007, Israel was the world’s fourth largest defence exporter, after the US, Russia, and France, and ahead of the UK. Israeli defence exports totalled $3.4 billion; in 2008 sales dropped by 10% but Israel was still in the top 10. However, Yossi Ben-Hanan, head of the Israeli Foreign Defence Assistance and Defence Export Department (SIBAT) expressed his hope that the European market would increase in the years to come. He said: “We need to create partnerships with European countries, which the Israeli defence industries could use to market their products”. This hope was put into practice after Israel became a partner of Europe under the new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The principal objective of EU- Israel cooperation, as described in the Country Strategy Paper 2007 – 2013. is “to develop an increasingly close relationship between the EU and Israel, […] including a significant level of economic integration, and a deepening of political cooperation […] and in the resolution of the Middle East conflict and on human rights issues.”

    Subsequently, Israel signed the Science and Technology Agreement for FP7 in 2007, which made it one of only two non-EU countries fully associated to the EU’s framework programmes for research and technological development, (Switzerland is the other country, signed in the same year). Until then, the EC/EU cooperation with Israel had been limited to “Programmes in support of civil society, mainly in the context of the EU Partnership for Peace programme and the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.” Now Israeli participants were able to obtain EU funding. At the time of writing, Israel participates in 653 FP7 projects, 19 of which fall under the Europe Security Research Programme.

    An influential critic of the European Security Research programme is the UK-based NGO Statewatch, and more in particular its associate Ben Hayes who released an extensive report on the matter in September 2009 called ‘NeoConOpticon. The EU Security-Industrial Complex.’ Hayes’ criticism focuses on two points: the lack of transparency and the role of Israel in the funding program. His work has been used as an important source of reference for other publications on similar topics since: for “Who Profits?”, for David Cronin in the fact sheet for Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and for Alejandro Pozo Marín who wrote an extensive report on the relations between Spain and Israel on the military and homeland security front. In October 2010, the British Quakers released a briefing paper entitled ‘Security Co- operation between the EU and Israel’, based on Hayes’ findings and opinions as well as on their own research. The most recent document on this topic is Hayes’ submission to the London Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in November 2010.

    It is arguable, at the least, whether the competitiveness of the EU security industry should be a goal of the European Union. The Quakers put it this way: “While on the one hand security is a fundamental right of every human being, on the other military technology can transform the way in which democratic states are governed. Addressing security for profit could seriously affect the daily life of EU citizens by creating an advertising industry that fosters human fears; putting in danger people’s privacy; and favouring elites that use technology to control society in an undemocratic manner.”

    For the EU, “developing an increasingly close relationship” with Israel is part of the Union’s wider efforts to contribute to a resolution of the Middle East conflict. Lasting peace, according to the Country Strategy Paper, should be achieved through a two-State solution leading to a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on implementation of the Road Map, with Israel and a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace within secure and recognised borders and enjoying normal relations with their neighbours.”

    Another question to be addressed is whether the Israeli defence and homeland security should benefit from EU research money. Some European countries, like the Netherlands, claim to restrict their trade with Israel, and licenses for imports and exports are declined on the grounds of national policies and agreed sanctions to address Israel’s violation of human rights. The EU research grants seem to provide a back door to support the research and development (R&D) departments of the Israeli security industries.

    Before we can answer this question, we need to have a close look at the actual facts and figures. What can be said about the amounts of European research money going to Israeli companies and organisations?

    At the time of writing (December 2010), 90 projects have been funded under the FP7 European Security Research programme – and 23 Israeli companies or institutions take part in 19 projects. Eight of the research projects are lead by Israelis.The participation of twenty companies constitutes a relatively small proportion of the 600 companies listed as active in the field of homeland security by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute (a public-private institution to promote international trade).

    Critics of the EU funding for Israel point out that the European Commission signed off contracts to Israeli military industries that supply the Israeli army and make profits out of the occupation and aggression against the Palestinian territory. The examples mentioned (for instance in the Cronin’s Fact Sheet, the Quakers Briefing Paper and in Hayes’ submission to the Russell Tribunal) are Israel Aerospace Industries, the state-owned manufacturer of drones; Motorola Israel, the producer of virtual fences around the settlements; and Elbit Systems, one of Israel’s largest private military technology firms involved in the construction of the separation wall between Jewish and Palestinian communities.

    But exactly how substantial is the involvement of Israel? We have studied the data provided by the EU CORDIS and we will now describe what we found about the contracts and the amounts of money directed towards the Israeli industry. The table at the end of this chapter gives an overview of the FP7 Security Research Programmes which include both Israeli and Dutch partners, the budgets, and the average amounts awarded per company or institution. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for instance is involved in two FP7 Security Research programmes aimed at the civil use of drones. The first is Talos, set up to develop mobile equipment as an addition to the human factor in border control. The consortium applied for 20 million Euros, and was awarded 12.9 million Euros. A total of 13 companies have to divide the money between them over a period of four years, between 2008-2012. This comes down to roughly 250,000 Euros per company per year, although of course the actual payment may vary according to the contribution to the project. The second programme is called Oparus, it just started – in November 2010 – and aims to design an “open architecture” for the use of UAVs in European border control. A total of 12 companies get to divide 1.2 million Euros between them over 18 months, which is about 45,000 Euros for each company on a yearly basis.

    It is interesting to compare the EU funding of these projects to the sums IAI as a company spends on R&D in three months. “Research and development costs in the third quarter of 2010 reached $28 million.” The company considers investment in research to be crucial to securing its future. “The year to date investment reached $93 million (4% of sales).”135

    And to put things into perspective even further, it is worth taking a look at the financial figures for the third quarter of 2010 that IAI have just released:

    • Net profit of $25 million, an increase of 55% compared to the third quarter of 2009
    • Sales of $690 million, an increase of 2% compared to the third quarter of 2009
    • Backlog of $9 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion since the beginning of the year (14%)
    • Positive cash flow from current activities of $366 million136

     

    It seems reasonable to conclude that the actual amounts awarded as European research funding are next to nothing compared to the annual budget of the Israeli companies involved. The calculations for Elbit

    produce results similar in magnitude to those of IAI. Their research and development expenses net were $56.1 million (8.6% of revenues) in the third quarter of 2010. Revenues for this quarter were $649.9 million, and gross profit amounted to $197.9 million (30.5% of revenues).

    The figures for several ESRP projects in the box below give an impression of the average amount of funding for each company per year.

    In several of the recent briefings and papers on the relation between the EU and Israel it has been implied that the Israeli weapon and homeland security industry are subsidised and sponsored by European grants. Take for instance the Quakers Briefing Paper, published October 2010. On page 8 it says:

    Recently awarded contracts include: a nine million Euro project to deliver “field-derived data” to “crisis managers” in “command-and-control centres” and an 8.99 million Euro project to develop airport security systems. Both projects are led by Verint Systems, an Israeli company producing intelligence products.

    The text suggests that the many millions of each of these programmes go to this one specific Israeli intelligence company. However, as the overview shows, the first programme called Emergency Support Systems (ESS) is a four-year project with 18 companies involved. This translates into an average of 125,000 Euros per company on a yearly basis, although of course the definite distribution of the money is not known. The second program, Total Airport Security Systems (TASS), has similar statistics. There are 19 companies and organisations that must divide up nine million Euros of funding in four years (2010- 2014), which comes down to an average of 118,500 Euros per company per annum.

    Therefore, based on facts and figures, it is not justified to imply that the European Security Research programme is financing the Israeli homeland security industry on an extensive basis.

    Of course, the absolute amounts of money are not the only way to judge the value and importance of the European Union to Israel. Hayes compares the funding to that of other non-member states, stating: “In per capita terms, no non-EU country has received more from the FP7 Security Research programme than Israel.” But then again, no other European country or non-member country is so specialised in security issues.

    It is our conclusion that money, as in the awarded funding, does not seem to be the best indicator for the importance of the European Security Research Programme. Rather, based on statements of the officials involved it seems fair to say that being part of the European research and development network is of prime significance to Israel.

    The Israeli government clearly sees the advantages of participating in the programme. It set up an Israeli inter-ministerial directorate specifically to support Israeli projects funded by the EU. This Israel-Europe Research and Development Directorate (ISERD) acts as Israel’s official representative in the EU Framework Programme. In its advertising campaign ISERD also outlines other benefits: “Israeli researchers not only benefit from an introduction into European business and research culture, they also gain access to projects and knowledge through consortia which are much bigger than Israel’s actual investment or its pay off in grants. The networking with European universities and companies is another advantage not to be ignored.” As stated by Marcel Shaton (General Director of ISERD): “from the perspective of the Framework Programme, Israel is part of the European continent”. And Javier Solana, the then EU foreign policy chief, seemed to agree. Israelis are unaware of the deep relationship their country has with the European Union, he said speaking at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem in October 2009. “There is no country outside the European continent that has this type of relationship that Israel has with the European Union,” Solana said, “Israel, allow me to say, is a member of the European Union without being a member of the institution.” By participating in the programmes, Israel is helping us deal “with all the problems of research and technology, which are very important.”

    In Chapter III about UAVs, we have seen how cooperating with an Israeli firm within a Security Research programme helped Poland to subsequently develop their own drone. The next section investigates the cooperation between Israel and the Netherlands within the FP7 programme.

     

    Israel and the Netherlands in the FP7 European Security Research programme

    We investigated the current European Security Research programme to track those projects that have involvement of both Israeli and Dutch companies and institutions. The table on p. 40-41 gives an overview of the projects running under FP7. From this overview it is impossible to say what the input of Israel is, as there is no publicly accessible information on the allocation of the budgets or the distribution of tasks. In the Netherlands, the Netherlands Organisation for applied research TNO is the institution to coordinate most of the programmes in which the Dutch take the lead. The TNO coordinator, Heather Griffioen-Young, informed us that although not secret, the details of the exact distribution of the budget are not made available to the public. Apart from that, she pointed out, there are large differences in the rates the various organisations charge; the TNO coordinator warned us not to jump to conclusions.

     

    Safire: TNO, RAND and Israeli Counter-terrorism academy

    To get an impression of the contacts between Israel and the Netherlands provided by EU projects, and the opportunities for selling the ‘Israeli experience’, we had a closer look at one of the European Security Research programmes. The programme that raised our interest was Safire, aimed at understanding radicalisation and developing interventions to prevent extremism.

    Although money does not say everything, we had a look at the budget first. Ten institutions and companies are taking part in the Safire programme that runs for 42 months from mid 2010-2013. The ESRP awarded 2.9 million Euros (out of the total cost of 3.6 million) which translates into an average of 83,000 Euros per partner per year and 290,000 per institution for the entire period. However, the Psychology Department of the University of Amsterdam got 600,000 Euros, which could be seen as something of an indicator of their share in the work and consequently the weight of their approach; additionally, the press release announcing the funding is entitled: “UvA is an important participant in radicalisation research.”

    Then we had a look at the outline of the research (as the project took off in the summer of 2010, no interim reports are available yet). The description of the Safire project bears the marks of the Dutch approach towards radicalisation. The outline of the research fits the tradition of Dutch social scientists like Jean Tillie and others at the IMES and Frank Bovenkerk, the professor occupying the FORUM Frank Buijs chair in radicalisation studies from 1 January 2009:

    SAFIRE addresses the conceptual process of radicalisation from moderation to (violent) extremism and intervention principles in order to halt, reverse or prevent radicalisation. The goal of the proposed project is twofold. The first goal is to increase scientific insight into the process of radicalisation from moderation to (violent) extremism. The second goal is to provide theoretical argumentation and empirical evidence for the implementation of practical interventions and related means.

    Key in the SAFIRE approach is that we do not consider the process of radicalisation to be linear – as has often been the case in radicalisation research up until now – but rather to be non-linear and dynamic, consistent with theories of social dynamics (see e.g. Weidlich, 1971).

    […]

    SAFIRE aims to gain a thorough understanding of the processes that underlie radicalisation in its most extreme forms and to develop principles to design and improve interventions to prevent, halt and reverse processes of radicalisation where it moves towards violence.

    The behaviour of individuals involved, the social, cultural, psychological and economic context in which radicalisation processes take place and intervention abilities of communities at the local level are key themes in SAFIRE.

    The other participants in SAFIRE consist of universities and similar institutions on the one hand, and on the other hand institutions involved in risk assessment and monitoring.

    Apart from the University of Amsterdam, there is Dutch involvement from the Hogeschool Utrecht, FORUM (a large NGO in the field of integration policy and minority issues in the Netherlands) and TNO, (a governmental scientific centre focusing on Defence, Security and Safety), and Portuguese participation involving the University of Coimbra. On the other hand, there are private institutions active in risk management, such as RAND, Strategic Intelligence European Company (CEIS) and the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) both from France, Bridge 129, an Italian company specialised in Internet monitoring, and the Israeli International Security and Counter-terrorism Academy (ISCA). The universities and TNO work on the model for radicalisation and the most useful approach for interventions, while the risk managers seem to be tasked with delivering input, such as source material.

    RAND Europe, and specifically its researcher Lindsay Clutterbuck will provide data relating to terrorism in Europe, on how individuals became involved and on why they became disenchanted. Clutterbuck’s personal profile at the SAFIRE website promises a wide contact network which could indeed be very useful for this project. Prior to joining RAND Europe he served for over 27 years with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London as a specialist in terrorism and counter terrorism in the Specialist Operations Department, based at New Scotland Yard. He retired as a Detective Chief Inspector in 2006. During his last eight years, he served as Head of the MPS Counter Terrorism Policy and Strategy Unit and in a variety of policy, strategy and research roles for the police National Coordinator of Special Branch. He is a member of the European Experts Network on Terrorism.

    The descriptions of the specific tasks were confirmed in an interview with Bertjan Doosje, the leading researcher for the project at the University of Amsterdam. He said RAND and ISCA are particularly useful for their contact network. Doosje also confirmed our impression of the Israeli partner in SAFIRE, the “International Security & Counter-Terrorism Academy” (ISCA). This is basically a one-man operation of the founder and President Ran Cohen – again a man with many contacts. When we started our investigation, the ISCA website was off line and last updated in 2006 (according to archive.org).

    We found no reference to ISCA of any importance on the Internet. The only thing we unearthed was ISCA as the co-organiser of a Zionist training scheme, offered to (Jewish) students from around the world:

    Maccabi World Union and the International Security and Counter-Terrorism Academy [I.S.C.A.] present this unique program. The programme consists of seminars on security and personal development conducted by the world’s top-class professional instructors from the world’s most security-experienced country, combined with theoretical and practical study of personal security. Other courses are taught in guarding, Institutional Security and industrial espionage; reacting and leading in extreme security situations in addition to many other subjects.

    The main goals and objectives of the programme were listed as strengthening participants’ ties with Israelis and the State of Israel, as well as their Jewish identity, encounters with young Israelis and training in security. However, it is not entirely clear when this programme was offered last – the last time was a few years ago, so the links might not exist anymore.

    The Academy’s main (and only) product, however, is a course called Select, Detect, React (SDR), and the website for this (www.sdr.org.il) has a client list that shows nothing but Dutch services, such as police Amsterdam-Amstelland, Utrecht, Rotterdam-Rijnmond, the National Railway Police, the KLPD and the Royal Dutch Marechaussee Schiphol Airport. The website announces pilots and projects for the year 2009 as well with even more Dutch partners (and none in other countries).

    According to Doosje, the Safire programme offers the possibility to finally get a good oversight on the different research projects running in various countries, and to evaluate which approaches work and which do not. In the Netherlands alone, it is often difficult to assess current projects and the effects in the longer term.

    The programme promises to be an alternative to approaches that are based on surveillance and repression only. The interim reports would be of interest to assess the dispersal of the “Israeli experience” – if there is any. Apart from that, it would be good to find out how this programme relates to other projects focusing on radicalisation. The European Union already adopted a “radicalisation and recruitment programme” in 2007, including a detailed Implementation Plan. The UK has a plan called the “Prevent” programme, endorsed by the Joint UK Parliamentary Committee on Communities and Local The plan was criticised by Institute of Race Relations, in a report called “Spooked: How not to prevent violent extremism” for fostering division, mistrust and alienation instead of combating them.

     

    Protectrail

    The Protectrail project will address the following security sub-missions: protection of signal and power distribution systems against any terrorism act, track clearance, clearance of trains before and after daily use, staff clearance, luggage clearance control, passenger clearance control, freight clearance control, tracking and monitoring of rolling stock carrying dangerous goods, protection of communication and information systems, stations, buildings and infrastructure protection.

     

    Name Companies involved Israeli companies Dutch companies Project budget (euro) Funding EU (euro) Duration
    Protectrail 29 Elbit Systems Ltd TNO 21.78 million 13.12 million 3.5 years 2010-2014
    Infra

    The fundamental objective of the Infra project is to research and develop novel technologies for personal digital support systems, as part of an integral and secure emergency management system to support First Responders in crises occurring in Critical Infrastructures under all circumstances.

     

    Name Companies involved Israeli companies Dutch companies Project budget (euro) Funding EU (euro) Duration
    Infra 11 Athena GS3 Security Implementations Ltd.

    Halevi Dweck & Co. ARTTIC Israel Company Ltd.

    Opgal Optronics Industries Ltd

    Hopling Networks B.V. (bankrupt!) 3.81 million 13.12 million 2 years

    2009-2011

     

    Prevail

    The Prevail concept and objectives are to prevent the use of hydrogen peroxide (HP) and acetone as precursors to home-made explosives by the development of a series of novel inhibitors, and to ensure that the detection of ammonium nitrate (AN) based devices is facilitated by adding markers tailored to a very sensitive detection system.

    Use science to solve this problem by making it harder for potential terrorists to make HMEs (home-made explosives) or by facilitating the detection of these. Prevail will address these scientific challenges by a novel approach.

     

    Name Companies

    involved

    Israeli

    Companies

    Dutch

    companies

    Project budget

    (euro)

    Funding EU

    (euro)

    Duration
    Prevail 10 Technion TNO 4.3 million 3.34 3 years

    2010-2013

    Seren

    Seren, the Security research NCPs network, intends to coordinate and bring to a higher level the FP7 programme. As an efficient interface between the European Commission and the Security Research community, Seren will improve the overall promotion of the FP7 Security theme, and of its specificities and its procedures. As a result, the average quality of proposals submitted to call for proposals should increase.

     

    Name Companies

    involved

    Israeli

    companies

    Dutch

    companies

    Project budget

    (euro)

    Funding EU

    (euro)

    Duration
    Seren 28 Matimop Israeli Industry Center For

    Research & Development

    Senter/Novem 743597.00 557692.00 1.5 years 2008-2009

     

    NMFRDisaster

    Identifying the Needs of Medical First Responder in Disasters (NMFRDisaster) is a project coordinating medical first responders with research institutes in order to identify need for further research

     

    Name Companies

    involved

    Israeli

    companies

    Dutch

    Companies

    Project budget

    (Euro)

    Funding EU

    (Euro)

    Duration
    NMFR

    Disaster

    9 Magen David

    Adom in Israel

    Ambulance Zorg

    Nederland

    815079.00 815079.00 1.2 years

    2008-2009

     

    Seabilla

    Seabilla is based on requirements for sea border surveillance defined by experienced operational users. These requirements have been transformed into scenarios, representative of gaps and opportunities for fruitful co-operative information exchange between Member States: for fighting drug trafficking in the English Channel; for addressing illegal immigration in the South Mediterranean; and for fighting illicit activities in open sea in the Atlantic waters from Canary Islands to the Azores in coherence with the EU Integrated Maritime Policy, with the EU Integrated Border Management Policy (ref. EUROSUR), and in compliance with Member States sovereign prerogatives.

     

    Name Companies

    involved

    Israeli

    companies

    Dutch

    Companies

    Project budget

    (Euro)

    Funding EU

    (Euro)

    Duration
    Seabilla 26 Correlation Systems Ltd TNO

    HITT Holland Institute of Traffic Technology

    15.55 million 9.84 million 3.9 years 2010-2014

     

     

    According to the brochure there are no Israeli companies, according to the website there is one.

     

    Safire

    The goal of SAFIRE is to improve fundamental understanding of radicalisation processes and use this knowledge to develop principles to improve interventions designed to prevent, halt and reverse radicalisation, and improve the implementation of these interventions.

     

    Name Companies involved Israeli companies Dutch Companies Project budget (Euro) Funding EU

    (Euro)

    Duration
    Safire 10 International security and counter-terrorism academy TNO

    Stichting Forum, Instituut voor multiculturele ontwikkeling

    Stichting Hogeschool Utrecht Universiteit van Amsterdam

    3.68

    million

    2.91

    million

    3.5 years 2010-2013

     

    EUSecon

    EUSecon builds an integrated and collaborative approach, which will lay the foundations for the development of a new European multidisciplinary research agenda in security economics and security policy. The unifying theme of the proposed research are the human drivers of the new insecurity that is terrorism and organised crime. Specifically, EUSecon analyses the causes, dynamics and long-term effects of both human-induced insecurity threats and European security policies.

     

    Name Companies

    involved

    Israeli

    companies

    Dutch

    Companies

    Project budget

    (Euro)

    Funding EU

    (Euro)

    Duration
    EUSecon 15 The Hebrew

    University Jerusalem

    Institute of

    Social Studies

    3 million 2.36 million 4 years

    2008-2012