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We are writing to you regarding your contract with G4S Utility Services, which provides you with meter reading services. Read the rest of this entry »
The family of a woman who was crushed to death by a Caterpillar D9 bulldozer in 2003 have called for divestment from companies complicit in Israels occupation. The family have asked supporters in the US to pressure investment firm TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar and other companies.
by Adri Nieuwhof and Basma Salem
On 11 March 2011, the Danish-British security firm G4S announced its exit from some contracts in the West Bank. The company will continue to deliver security services to illegal settlements in the West Bank and to prisons in Israel.
G4S came under scrutiny after Who Profits, part of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, and Danish financial watchdog DanWatch, revealed in November last year that the company supplied equipment and services to Israel for use at checkpoints, police stations and settlements in the occupied West Bank and at Israeli prisons.
Following the disclosure of G4S involvement in the Israeli occupation, which was extensively reported in the Danish media, local politicians from socialist parties in Copenhagen, Gladsaxe, Roskilde, Odense and Aarhus have put the contracts of the municipalities with G4S on the agenda
of their city council. Read the rest of this entry »
In the light of the recent death of Jawaher Abu Rahma through tear gas inhalation (see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/1080/ ) Ryan Olander takes a look at the history of systematic ‘non-lethal weapon’ usage by Israel against Palestinians.
Jamal Shukeirat, resident of East Jerusalem, was a young man on the 26th of September 1988; 23 years old. For most people his age, September is a month to return to university or begin thinking about harvest. However, his life was cut short this day. Jamal was shot directly in the head with a large and heavy tear gas round by the Israeli Military. 
It is illegal under international law to use propelled tear gas in this way. An addendum of the Chemical Weapons Convention (of which Israel is a signatory ) states: “And, as toxic chemicals, RCA [riot control agents] are subject to the requirement that their types and quantities must be consistent with their purpose. This implies that the munitions or devices used to deliver RCA must also be consistent with that purpose.”  The reason it is considered a “less-than-lethal” weapon is because its dispersal effects come as the CS gas they burn are inhaled. This causes nausea, loss of breath and impaired vision. Many times the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) use this weapon as projectile to strike nonviolent activists. Instead of firing these heavy metal canisters indirectly and in a gentle arc, the IOF fires them directly at Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. Read the rest of this entry »
I am writing to you from Corporate Watch, a London based research group. We have recently returned from a research trip in the occupied West Bank.
In the West Bank we noted with concern that Vichy promotional material and sales/display areas were set up in several pharmacies in illegal Israeli settlements. We noticed Vichy window displays and products for sale in the settlements of Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim (photos attached).
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council calls upon “all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories” (1979). This was strengthened by the International Court of Justice’s 2005 ruling that states should ensure that no assistance is given to the settlements. The construction of settlements like Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim has resulted in home demolitions, expulsions and the fragmentation of the West Bank into isolated cantons.
Will Vichy make moves to ensure that your products are not sold in Israeli settlements?
Volvo machinery was used to demolish houses of bedouin in the Palestinian village of Abu al Ajaj on Wednesday 24th November 2010. The same week a wave of demolitions occurred across the West Bank and Israel, including the demolition of the village of Al Araqib in the Naqab (Negev).
Abu al Ajaj is situated in the Al Jiftlik area of the Jordan Valley, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, next to the Israeli colony of Massua. At 5am two Volvo bulldozers and 200 soldiers raided and demolished one house and three animal shelters in the Abu al Ajaj. Three tin buildings and one tent were also destroyed, two men were arrested and several injured. Several baby goats were killed and many were injured in the destruction. The estimated cost of the damage stands at around 120,000 NIS.
As part of Corporate Watch’s efforts to map settlement exports from the Jordan Valley, we visited the illegal Israeli settlement of Ro’i earlier this year.
Established in 1976, Ro’i is a “typical” Jordan Valley settlement in that it has a low population (of less than 150 settlers), but has stolen large areas of land from the indigenous Palestinian population. With its private security, army protection and rows upon rows of greenhouses, Ro’i poses a challenge to the existence of Bedouin communities such as nearby Al Hadidya and Ras-Al Ahmar, who are under constant threat of house demolitions and army harassment aimed at the ethnic cleansing of bedouin from the area. The Israeli’s described these communities as a “security threat” to the settlers.
Al Hadidya is located just next to Ro’i, which was partially built on their land, and inhabitants have to more or less drive through the the outskirts of the settlement in order to reach their home. Any company trading from Ro’i, or importing their produce, are directly responsible for the very real possibility of Al Hadidya’s forced extinction.
Mount Hermon, located in the Occupied Golan, is trying hard to present itself as a unique destination for Israelis and foreign tourists alike. Promoted as the only ski resort in Israel, the mountain slopes of the Hermon is busiest in the winter, when visitors can participate in various skiing activities. In the summer it is popular with hikers, and a new bike track was recently opened for adventurous cyclists. Although Israel’s occupation of the Golan is sometimes less visibly repressive than in the West Bank -most notably through the lack of checkpoints- it would be a mistake for any holiday makers to fool themselves into believing that a trip there does not make them complicit in the same brutal occupation. Despite its proximity to the Syrian Druze town Majdal Shams, any business on Mount Hermon is tightly controlled by the Israeli mountain top settlement Neve Ativ. Neve Ativ is build on the land of the Syrian village of Jubata ez-Zeit, completely razed by the Israeli’s after six day war.
Video of work continuing at the Tovlan site here
As Corporate Watch has previously reported (see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/veolia-taking-out-israels-trash/ and http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/veolias-dirty-business-the-tovlan-landfill/) Veolia run the Tovlan landfill site in the Occupied Jordan Valley as well as provide rubbish collection services to numerous settlements in the area. Whilst the company’s involvement in the East Jerusalem tram line project has gained world wide infamy, their operations in the Jordan Valley have as yet not got them into as much trouble. However, their very direct support of the settlement infrastructure in one of the most vulnerable areas of Palestine prove that they are more than willing to profit from Israel’s brutal occupation as long as they can get away with it. In recent correspondence with critics of their conduct Veolia have downplayed their business in the Jordan Valley, claiming that their site there is no longer operating. On a recent trip there Corporate Watch decided to pay them another visit to see if we could prove them wrong…
by Adri Nieuwhof,
Photos by Activestills: Keren Manor, Anne Paq and Oren Ziv
Over the past few years the use of Volvo equipment in Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and the construction of the wall has been documented. Mr. M. Wikforss, Vice President of Media Relations & Corporate News of Volvo Group, response to an article in The Electronic Intifada of 2 July 2007, was that Volvo Group does not condone the destructive use of Volvo equipment and would regret the use of its products for destructive purposes. Wikforss claimed, “we do not have any control over the use of our products, other than to affirm in our business activities a Code of Conduct that decries unethical behavior.”
In its advisory opinion on the wall of July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) reaffirmed the illegality of the construction of the wall and Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. According to the ICJ construction activities should stop immediately and the wall and settlements should be dismantled. Palestinians who lost property because of the illegal construction activities should be compensated for their loss.
The Volvo Group Code of Conduct states that “within its sphere of influence, the Volvo Group supports and respects the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and ensures that it is not complicit in human rights abuses.” Read the rest of this entry »
Throughout our research around the West Bank it has become obvious that one of the most common ways for international companies to profit from the occupation market is through secondary involvements, such as operating franchises, in Israel’s illegal settlements. Companies such as Blockbuster, Tower Records and Lee Cooper have franchises of their businesses in settlements, Western Union trade in settlements automatically through their deal with the Israeli Post Office.
International companies like these accept royalties from their franchisee’s for the right to use the brand, boost their brand recognition and open a maket for their goods. However, by operating in a less direct way, they hope to be held less accountable for their actions.
For the BDS movement to let this happen would be a mistake.
One good example of how a seemingly distant involvement by a company can have a huge impact on the ground is the agreement by the mobile phone company Orange, which is owned by France Télécom, to license the Israeli Partner Communications Company to use its name and logo. Orange now has a shop or kiosk in many of the larger settlements in both the West Bank and the occupied Golan and advertises very heavily in them. Orange mobile phone masts (operated by Partner Communications) are located both inside the settlements themselves and on land specifically confiscated for the masts. The masts are situated to benefit the settlements and the Israeli army. The Palestinian Authority, in its crack down on settlements and enforcement of the boycott, recently called for all Israeli mobile phone networks, including Orange, to be banned in Palestinian cities. Orange is entirely separate from the Partner Communications Company, but this does not mean that they are innocents in the situation.
When Partner launched Orange Israel the brandname was registered by Hutchison Whampoa, who were a major shareholder in Partner. The success of the new network when it was launched in 1999 is generally considered one of the best advertising efforts undertaken in Israel, largely due to the brandname. Hutchison Whampoa divested their shares from Partner in 2009. Since France Télécom took over Orange PLC in 2000 they have made a conscious decision to keep supporting the activities of the Israeli company, whose success relies heavily on Orange brand recognition. By withdrawing the licence for their name and logo Orange could take a very visible stance against the occupation rather that silently aiding it.
Partner Communications (Orange Israel) has kiosks in the settlements of Pisgat Ze’ev and Modi’in Illit and has erected over 160 antennas and telecommunication infrastructure facilities on occupied territory.
For Who Profits’ page on the Partner Communications Company see: http://www.whoprofits.org/Company%20Info.php?id=713
Partner Communications Company is now controlled by Ilan Ben-Dov’s company Scailex Corporation which owns 51% of its shares.
France Telecom (www.francetelecom.com) is based in Paris. The company has offices and franchises worldwide
Burger King has announced that it plans to pull out of the 55 branches of its Israeli franchise
Burger Ranch currently operates 107 resteraunts in Israel, including several based in illlegal settlements:
Burger Ranch is owned in Israel by Orgad Holdings.
UPDATE (12/05/10) – Valley Grown Salads and EDOM have replied to this letter claiming that the packing house in Tomer belongs not to them but to a grower that they have worked with in the past. They say that this grower is not part of their ‘supply base’ any more although they have ‘purchased from him’ on one occassion this season. EDOM claim that they have instructed the grower to take down the EDOM sign at the packing house in Tomer.
More updates soon.
An open Letter to Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk)
To Whom it may Concern
I am writing to you from Corporate Watch (www.corporatewatch.org). Corporate Watch has, recently, been undertaking research in Palestine and has noted, with concern, that EDOM UK, an Israeli company in which your company holds a 20% share, operate a packing house in the illegal settlement of Tomer (pictures at http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/uk-company-exporting-from-jordan-valley-settlements/). Read the rest of this entry »
Pisgat Ze’ev, with a population of over 50.000, is the largest settlement in occupied East Jerusalem and an area that pops up frequently in debates about Israeli settlement expansion. One month ago the area made the headlines when Obama criticised the Israeli government’s plans for 600 new housing units there. Situated just east of the Palestinian Shu’fat refugee camp, Pisgat Ze’ev is a strategically important location for the Israelis in their attempt to maintain a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem. It is also the end stop for one of the branches of the controversial Jerusalem Light Railway, which will connect illegal settlements to west Jerusalem and the old city. However, international companies still seem happy to trade there, as Blockbusters and Pizza Hut both have franchises in the Pisgat Ze’ev mall and the surrounding area. There is also an Orange mobile phone shop there. Orange Israel is owned by the Israeli Partner Communications Company Ltd and not connected to Orange owned by French Telecom. However, the Orange brand name is used under licence, hence representing the endorsement of the mother company. Read the rest of this entry »
After finding a packinghouse bearing Edom UK signage inside the settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley a few weeks ago, we decided to look more closely into this joint Israeli and British company and their exports.
As mentioned in the previous report, the British company Valley Grown Salads own 20% of the shares in Edom UK, and since then we have found out that another British company, Glinwell PLC, own another 20%. 30% is owned by a company called Chosen Agricultural Products, which consists of farmers from Moshavs in the Arava region, and a further 30% by a company called Magnolia UK holdings. Read the rest of this entry »
Western Union, the international money transfer operator, can be found in most big Israeli settlements including Ariel, Kiryat Arba and Ma’ale Adumim. The Israeli post office is the licensed operator for Western Union in Israel, and as the post office branches operate in the settlements it means that Western Union do too. Through this deal Western Union accept by default both Israel’s acts and language of occupation.
For instance, if you want to find a Western Union agent in occupied East Jerusalem, you get no results on their web-site when you search for agents in The Palestinian Territories, as all locations in Jerusalem -including illegal settlements such as Pizgat Zeev and Palestinian areas like Shu’fat- show up only under a search for Israel. There is also no distinction made between settlement branches and locations within Israel.
Agent deals like this one should alert any company doing business in Israel about how working with an Israeli company can automatically implicate them in illegal settlement trading, and for the boycott movement it should highlight the importance of focusing on a full Israeli boycott rather than just a settlement one, as the two can not be fully separated.
For a full list of Western Union locations through the Israeli Post see http://www.israelpost.co.il/WL.nsf/6/City.pdf/$file/City.pdf
Veolia, possibly the international company providing the largest amount of services to Israel’s illegal settlements, has been observed picking up waste from the settlements of Tomer and Massua in the Jordan Valley. In 2009 Corporate Watch photographed Veolia garbage trucks picking up waste in Massua settlement. Last week we spotted a Veolia vehicle picking up rubbish from Tomer.
Veolia are also part of Citypass, the consortium building the Jerusalem Light Railway on occupied territory, and run bus routes between several of Israel’s illegal settlements. They also run the Tovlan landfill waste dump, again on occupied territory, in the Jordan Valley.
See http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3433 for more details
For more information see Adri Nieuwhof in Electronic Intifada – http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10909.shtml
The Jordan Valley is the Palestinian area most relentlessly exploited by settlement agricultural companies. Most famously campaigners have been focusing on the Israeli national exporter Carmel Agrexco for their illegal exports from the area. However, Corporate Watch has uncovered a new company to add to the target list. During a trip to the area we found a packing house bearing the signage of the Israeli company ‘Edom UK’ (http://www.edom.co.il/), 20% owned by the British company Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk). The packing house is based in the agricultural area of the settlement of Tomer. There was also a truck marked EDOM UK picking up produce from the settlement. Read the rest of this entry »
Katzerin is a settlement of 6444 people situated in the occupied Golan Height. It was established on the land of the Syrian area of Fakhura.
Simmons – http://www.simmons.com - International mattress company based in US. Simmons have an office in the UK:
Simmons Bedding Group plc
Knight Road, Rochester
Kent, England ME2 2BP
Lithotech – Produce kidney stones’ removal devices, sold by special agreement worldwide by Cook Urology (USA). See ‘Who Profits’ for more details.
Bobcat – http://www.bobcat.com – Bobcat are a manufacturer of construction equipment who are known to hire equipement, through Emcol, for the construction and maintenance of settlements. Bobcat Company is a business of Doosan Infracore International, a US-based subsidiary of Doosan Infracore (South Korea). Bobcat machnes were seen working on the road in Katzerin industrial zone. See ‘Who Profits’ for more details. Read the rest of this entry »
We paid a visit to the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel, deep inside the West Bank, last week. Here’s a picture of Coca Cola deivering there.
Despite increased publicity regarding the labelling of Israeli settlement produce, and the recent DEFRA guidance on the matter which states that produce from the settlements should be labelled as such, it only took us a few minutes inside the illegal Jordan Valley settlement of Mehola to find herbs bound for a British company being mislabelled. Herbs bearing the logo of Fresh Direct, who have their head office in Oxfordshire, were spotted inside the Halpert Moshe ‘fresh herbs’ packing house which operates under the Carmel Agrexco banner. At this location herbs being prepared came with a joint Fresh Direct/Carmel Agrexco label which clearly states the product as being “Produce of Israel”, despite being packaged in an organic farm on an illegal settlement in the Israeli occupied West Bank. The label we collected was for 70 grams of sage with the text written in English, indicating that the contents were intended for export to Britain. There were also herbs labelled in German (without the Fresh Direct logo) inside the packing house. Read the rest of this entry »
A P& O shipping container was seen in the illegal settlement industrial zone of Katzerin this month. It is pictured below.P&O are a British freight and passenger ferry company with offices in Dover (see).
Capernaum Vista Olive farm – www.oleaessence.net: Producers of olive oil and olive oil based skin products. Seem to market themselves primarily over the internet and to wholefood stores. Their contact address is in California.
Nistec – www.nistec.com: Nistec is a high-tech/arms company who opened a new plant in Katzerin in 2009. Nistec also has offices in Petach Tikhvah annd Maalot.
Sealy – http://www.sealy.com: Sealy advertise themselves as ‘America’s best selling mattress company’. They are a multinational company and the factory in Katzerin is run by an Israeli licensee They have a UK base in Cumbria (http://www.sealy.co.uk/contactus.php)
Katzerin is a settlement of 6444 people situated in the occupied Golan Height. It was established on the land of the Syrian area of Fakhura.
Mey Eden/Eden Springs – http://www.meyeden.co.il/www.edensprings.co.uk: Mei Eden extract water from the occupied Golan and sell it throughout Israel. Eden Springs supply water coolers to businesses, local authorities and universities across the UK. A successful campaign in Scotland has seen boycotts of Eden Springs at universities and pressure on Edinburgh City council to pull out of its contract with the company (http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/index.php?option=com_sectionex&view=category&id=23&Itemid=200208). Eden Springs’ Scottish depot has recently closed.
Click more for more companies Read the rest of this entry »
The other day we took a trip to to the settlement Ma’ale Adumim in search of signs of dodgy business dealings -and, for the first time, we found a British company trading directly in a settlement. Lee Cooper, a British denim company established in 1908, were joined by the international businesses Western Union, Dr Fischer and a Tower Records franchise in their willingness to make a profit out of the occupation.
Veolia, a French multinational, are involved in several projects in occupied Palestine, providing services to Israel’s illegal settlements (see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3433, http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3474 and http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3514). Veolia has come under intense pressure to pull out of the Citypass Consortium, the group of companies responsible for building the Jerusalem Light Railway. After years of pressure Veolia has attempted to pull out of the scheme but has not been able to extricate itself from its contractual obligations to the Israeli government.
We decided to spend a few hours walking the route of the tramline from Jaffa St to the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev. The line connects illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem and the Old City. We walked along Jaffa Street to the walls of the old city. Past the border police checking Palestinian IDs at New Gate and on to Damascus Gate. From Damascus Gate the line runs west stopping frequently outside the hotels and Jewish religious communities built on occupied Palestinan land on Nablus road. The tramway runs past the settlement buildings and Palestinian houses occupied by settlers in Sheikh Jarrah and stops outside the settlement of Giv’at Ha Mivtar. The line passes through the Ramot Eshkol area, a settlement built on the land of the Palestinian area of Lifta and splits into two with one line running straight to the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev.
The line conveniently bypasses the Hizmah checkpoint leading to the lands of Shu’afat and Hizma. These lands are encircled by a 6 foot fence, rolls of barbed wire and a military road overlooked by a military watchtower. About half a kilometre along the road the tram line returns from its detour in the affluent community of Pisgat Ze’ev. Pisgat Ze’ev is a settlement of over 4000 people established in 1985 on the land of Palestinians from Beit Hanina and Hizma.
Ever since the first Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in 2005, French multinational Veolia has been on campaigners’ list of boycott targets for its investment in the controversial East Jerusalem tram line and involvement in ‘settlers only’ bus routes. As a result of high profile boycott campaigns around the world, Veolia last year attempted to abandon its part in the tram line project (see previous articles: 1 | 2). But Veolia’s shameless facilitation of settlement infrastructure does not end there. On a recent visit to the area, Corporate Watch investigated the impact of Veolia’s other big operation on occupied land: the Tovlan landfill. Read the rest of this entry »
Veolia sponsors Wildlife Photographer of the Year
This year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is being sponsored by Veolia Environmental Services, which is accused by campaigners of profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine (see http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10909.shtml). The international showcase for the “very best” nature photography is owned the Natural History Museum and the BBC Wildlife Magazine. The award is no stranger to controversial sponsorship deals; recent years saw fossil fuel giant, Shell, acting as sponsor.
Over the last year Corporate Watch has reported on the growing international campaign against Veolia and its attempts to extract itself from a controversial contract with the Israeli government. Read the rest of this entry »
In 2005, just after the publication of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid, Palestinians began calling for an international boycott campaign against Veolia, a company involved in the Citypass Consortium, a scheme to build a tramline on occupied territory in the West Bank. Veolia is a huge multinational, that arguably has the biggest financial commitment of any international company to Israel’s colonisation of the West Bank. Read the rest of this entry »
The Green Park construction company is engaged in building illegal settlements in the West Bank, notably, the settlements of Mattiyahu East and Modi’in Illit, which have been built on land annexed from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, by the Israeli apartheid wall. Read the rest of this entry »
On the second big Gaza solidarity march in London on 10th January, angry protesters smashed the front of a Starbucks store on Kensington High St, near the Israeli embassy, while other activists occupied the Ahava beauty shop in central London.
Other actions in protest at the Israeli massacre in Gaza that month included occupying the offices of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in central London, ‘decommissioning’ the ITT/EDO arms factory in Brighton and university occupations across the country calling for divestment. So, who are these companies and why are they being targeted by protesters and campaigners?
Corporate Watch takes a detailed look.