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Northern Ireland: PSNI must end work with Israeli police and security services

‘Northern Ireland, and particularly our police service, must ensure it is not implicated in Israel’s human rights violations’ - Patrick Corrigan

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) should end its joint programmes with the Israeli police and security services, Amnesty International said today. 

The call came after The Detail revealed the PSNI is working on at least four security research projects which involve either the Israeli Ministry of Public Security or an Israeli company linked to Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The projects - including the development of surveillance technology to allow analysis of private telephone calls - are funded by a €1.7bn European Union security research programme.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“Given the Israeli authorities’ long record of institutionalised discrimination against Palestinians in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the frequent use of excessive force against Palestinians, and the collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza through an illegal blockade, it’s highly questionable whether the PSNI should ever have set up projects like this in the first place. 

“However, the distressing scenes of recent weeks from East Jerusalem and Gaza must now be a wake-up call.

“Even post-ceasefire, normal life for Palestinians living in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories involves systematic oppression, often at the hands of forces under the Israeli Ministry of Public Security. 

“Northern Ireland, and particularly our police service, must ensure it is not implicated in Israel’s human rights violations.

“As a matter of urgency, the PSNI should suspend all programmes with the Israeli police and security services where there’s a clear risk of involvement in human rights violations - both in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

“This needs to come as part of a wider halt to all military and police exports from the UK to Israel, including any training and technology which could lead to further human rights violations.

“If the Chief Constable refuses to act, the Policing Board and the Northern Ireland Justice Minister must step in and take action.”

Surveillance and security projects

The projects are funded by the European Union under the security stream of Horizon 2020, an €80bn investment programme, of which €1.7bn is allocated for security research. 
One of the PSNI’s ongoing projects with Israel, ‘Roxanne’, is aimed at developing surveillance technology that identifies people involved in organised crime and terrorism - through analysis of private telephone calls, texts, speech patterns and video.

The PSNI is also working on a separate security research project with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, called the ILEAnet project, which aims to “set up and develop a sustainable network of law enforcement agency practitioner organisations from all over Europe”. 
In addition, the PSNI is involved in two projects with private company Motorola Solutions Israel, a subsidiary of the telecoms giant.

Last year, the UN listed Motorola among 112 businesses linked to Israeli settlements. The report states that Motorola, and its subsidiary Motorola Solutions Israel, are supplying “surveillance and identification equipment for settlements, the wall and checkpoints directly linked with settlements”.

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