Last week, Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz filed a lawsuit against Israeli software company NSO for selling Pegasus software to the government of Saudi Arabia. That software was allegedly then used to target Mr Abdulaziz’s communication, including with murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi (1).
The Israeli government has previously also provided export licenses for NSO software used by the governments of Mexico, the UAE and Ethiopia against human rights defenders.
A number of Israeli military and security companies, including Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries have received funding under Horizon 2020 and/or its predecessor FP9.
1. Can the HR/VP and the Commission guarantee that no EU funding, under any heading or budget line has directly or indirectly funded NSO?
2. What effect will the granting of licences by the Israeli government for NSO software exported to countries with dubious human rights record have on EU-Israeli cooperation and the use of EU funds in the field of (dual-use) software development?
3. In what way will human rights conditions for dual-use items such as laid down in the EP position of 17 January 2018 on the ‘control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items’ be taken into account and/or considered in the funding of projects under the new Horizon Europe framework and/or other EU research and innovation programs?