We are a group of Israeli citizens, active against our government’s severe and ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.
We have been informed of an ongoing collaboration named LAW TRAIN between the Belgian university KULeuven and Belgian Police, and Bar Ilan University and the Israeli Police.
We believe this collaboration is wrong, and in violation of basic EU and Belgian principles of human rights. We therefore write to you to ask that you terminate the project.
LAW TRAIN is headed by Bar Ilan university in collaboration with the Israeli police and several European universities and national police forces, and the project has a strong focus on interrogation techniques. We understand that the project trains officers to collaborate during cross border interrogation of suspects in transborder crimes.
Israel’s interrogation methods should not be adopted by Belgium, or by any other EU country. For example, Israel uses illegal pressure, coercion and torture methods in its policing of the occupied Palestinian territories. According to UN findings, in its concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Israel, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/targets/united-nations/1045-israels-fifth-periodic-review-by-the-un-committee-against-torture), torture is routinely used by the Israeli Police, with complicity on the part of the Israeli Ministry of Public Security. One prominent example for this policy is the illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Belgian and European involvement in this project serves to legitimize Israeli violations of human rights. And it should be obvious that this collaboration will not steer Israel away from its violent, illegal conduct, which is based on strong political and religious motivation.
It should be noted that the Portuguese government has already stepped out of the program, following international appeals by concerned human rights activists (http://www.stopthewall.org/sites/default/files/AnswerVerdes1-Sobre%20a%20participac%CC%A7a%CC%83o%20de%20Portugal%20no%20projeto%20europeu%20LAW-TRAIN_RESPOSTA.pdf). We believe all European governments should follow suit.
We expect Belgian universities and the Belgian police to meet high standards of international law and human rights, and refrain from collaboration with perpetrators of severe violations of international law and human rights. The information on Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and international law is abundant, and comes from the most respectable NGOs and international institutions dealing with human rights. The Belgian authorities cannot say “We do not know”, and try to ignore the facts.
We would like to thank a group of 50 professors of KULeuven, who wrote a letter opposing the project, as well as Belgian NGO's which sent a letter to the Belgian partners in this faulty project. In view of the facts as to Israel’s illegal conduct, we ask that the Belgian government and police refrain from collaboration with Bar Ilan University and the Israeli Police.
We will gladly address any question or comment you may have.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within.