IPSC condemns EU-Israel data-sharing plan
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) today condemned the decision of the European Commission which stated that “Israel provides an adequate level of protection of personal data”, thus giving the green light for “the transfer of personal data of EU citizens to Israel”. The Irish Government had previously attempted to block this data-sharing relationship, but to no avail.
Condemning the approval, IPSC National Chairperson Freda Hughes said: “This is an outrageous move on behalf of the European Commission. Israel is a country that has used the passports of Irish, German, British and French nationals in order to extra-judicially assassinate a Hamas member in Dubai last year – and there is no reason to believe that this was the first or only such illegal action of its kind. Therefore for the Commission to allow the transfer of personal data of EU citizens to this rogue state would be farcical were it not such a patently serious issue. This move will leave millions of people potentially open to state-sponsored identity theft of the kind we witnessed in Dubai last January, and indeed would be a tacit acceptance the legitimacy of such acts of state terrorism carried out by Israel”.
Ms Hughes also criticised the partisan nature of the EU when it comes to Israel, saying: “This is part of a wider trend within the EU whereby, despite occasional mealy-mouthed statements criticising Israeli human rights abuses, the EU and its member states have been busy developing and entrenching economic and symbolic relationships with Israel. For example, “scientific research” is an extremely lucrative form of EU cooperation with Israel. Israel takes part in over 800 schemes with European universities and companies, with a total value of €4.3 billion. By 2013 it is expected that Israel will have received more than €500 million worth of EU grants. People should be outraged that Ireland’s European Commission representative, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, is the one administering these grants. Among the beneficiaries are arms-makers like Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries, who produce the drones and warplanes regularly used in attacking the people of Gaza.”
Ms Hughes reiterated the IPSC’s call for an end to Israeli impunity, and specifically for the suspension of Israel from the Euro-Med Agreement, saying: “Israel fears no repercussions for its actions from the EU or member states because these institutions continue to allow it to act with impunity. The Euro-Med Agreement between Israel and the EU gives Israel privileged access to the EU market. Article 2 of this Agreement makes clear that this access is conditional on Israel respecting “human rights and democratic principles”, which are said to constitute “an essential element” of the agreement. Israel has flagrantly breached international law on many occasions and should be suspended from this preferential agreement on this basis – yet not one EU member state or EU Commissioner has ever raised this possibility. As such, one has to ask serious questions about the EU’s commitment to the protection of human rights.”
Ms Hughes concluded: “I would advise anyone concerned with this trend of greater EU-Israeli cooperation - what effectively amounts to rewarding Israeli for its terrorisation of Palestinians - to read David Cronin’s excellent book on the matter, Europe's Alliance With Israel: Aiding the Occupation.”
 The full Commission press release is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/delegations/israel/press_corner/all...n.htm