New Briefing – Besieging health services in Gaza: a profitable business

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Corporate Watch’s new briefing exposes how the Israeli economy profits from the siege of health services in Gaza and highlights calls from Palestinian health workers to boycott Israeli pharmaceutical companies.

Read the briefing online | Download a PDF of the briefing

 

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Avoiding accountability: Life in Ramleh prison hospital

Akram Salameh holds up a picture of himself in prison uniform, taken inside Ramleh prison hospital

Akram Salameh holds up a picture of himself in prison uniform, taken inside Ramleh prison hospital – Photo taken by Corporate Watch, Gaza City, November 2013

Corporate Watch has been investigating the companies involved in the Israeli prison system and interviewing ex-prisoners. This interview is part of a series of articles to be released over the coming months that we hope will serve as a resource for action against companies providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison ‘Service’ (IPS).

Palestinian organisations are calling for action on 17 April, the international day of solidarity for Palestinian political prisoners, against G4S, a British-Danish multinational company working with the IPS, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major investor in G4S. Click here to find out more. Continue reading

Oxfam’s PR firm helping to greenwash Sodastream

Sodastream's factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adunim - Photo take by Corporate Watch, 2010

Sodastream’s factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adunim – Photo taken by Corporate Watch, 2010

UPDATE 09/04/2014 – Response from Oxfam America: Oxfam claims that Fenton does not do any work for SodaStream at this time. It had a one-year relationship with the company that ended in 2012. Oxfam did not begin to work with Fenton until 2013.” Since this article was written Fenton Communications have removed the Sodasteam logo from their website.

If Fenton’s relationship with Sodastream ended in 2012 it begs the question: why was the Sodastream logo listed on the company website last week?

Here is the original article:

There has been a lot of negative media attention in the last few months on Sodastream, an Israeli fizzy drinks company with a factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim. A partnership between Oxfam and Scarlett Johansson ended recently after an international campaign put pressure on the charity to end its relationship with Johansson because she was undertaking ongoing work for Sodastream.

However, a high profile US public relations (PR) firm, which boasts of its “ethical business practices”, is providing services to both Sodastream and Oxfam America. Fenton Communications states on its site that “We do not take on clients that we do not believe in ourselves” and claims that it works “for companies and foundations advocating social change”. Fenton’s corporate social responsibility rhetoric and greenwash doesn’t bear more than a few minutes of scrutiny. The PR firm has a client list which includes large multinationals such as General Mills and Unilever. General Mills jointly own the General Mills (Pillsbury) plant in the Atarot settlement Industrial zone, while Unilever only pulled out of the Barkan settlement industrial zone after years of pressure from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Both companies are also responsible for selling, marketing and lobbying hard for processed foods globally, which are damaging to people’s health. One of Fenton’s other clients is Oxfam America.

In response to the public campaign about Scarlett Johansson, Oxfam stated: “While Oxfam respects the independence of our ambassadors, Ms. Johansson’s role promoting the company SodaStream is incompatible with her role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador… Oxfam is opposed to all trade from Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.” Why then does Oxfam America find it acceptable to work with a PR firm that includes Sodastream on its client list? Continue reading

Anti militarists launch private prosecution against arms companies

Anti-militarist campaigners have launched a private prosecution of two arms companies. A statement by the activists lawyers reads:

“Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors today confirmed that they have obtained a summons against two international arms companies – TIAJIN MYWAY INTERNATIOANL TRADING COMPANY and MAGFORCE INTERNATIONAL for promoting unlawful weapons at the DSEi Arms Fair in the Excel Centre in September 2013.

Evidence that both companies had promoted unlawful weapons emerged during the arms fair itself. This lead to companies being ejected from the fair and the relevant material being passed to authorities.1

HJA had written to the DPP, CPS, Revenue and Customs, the Met police, Vince Cable and the Attorney General2 to enquire about an investigation by the State and make representation that action should be taken against the companies – to date no substantive response has been received.

The arms companies were promoting stun guns/stun batons and leg restraints – all of which are classified as “Category A items” under the Export Order Act 2008 and should not have been promoted in the arms fair.”

The two activists had previously been on trial for public order offences during the protests against the 2013 DSEi arms fair. Their charges were dropped after they argued that their actions were justified due to the illegal activities of companies at the fair. A statement from the activists reads:

“Following repeated attempts by our lawyers at disclosure regarding the nature and extent of the authorities’ investigation into breaches of law at the arms fair, most of our trial group’s criminal prosecutions were dropped. This week, we commenced our own private prosecution proceedings against the arms dealers.

We want to make clear that we are not merely opposed to ‘illegal’ weapons at the arms fair, we are against the arms fair full stop and everything it represents: the corruption, the human misery, and the profiteering by a narrow elite at the expense of people and planet. We see this private prosecution as a further step towards meeting our objective of discrediting and then stopping the DSEI arms fair for good.

Please support us in this campaign and spread this message.”

For more info see http://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

‘I can’t give you information about your health, it’s a security matter’: Life for a sick Palestinian prisoner in the Israeli prison complex

International action has been called for in solidarity with prisoners held in Israeli jails. Corporate Watch has been investigating the companies involved in the Israeli prison system and interviewing ex-prisoners. This interview is part of a series of articles which will be released over the coming months focusing on companies providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison ‘Service’ (IPS).

Israeli surveillance technology overlooks Palestinian farmland in Beit Hanoun- Picture taken by Corporate Watch, November 2013

Israeli surveillance technology overlooks Palestinian farmland in Beit Hanoun- Picture taken by Corporate Watch, November 2013

We met ‘Salah’* at his home in Beit Hanoun in the Northern Gaza Strip a few weeks after his release from seven years prison in Israel. A celebration tent had been set up in his house since his release. We wanted to speak to Salah about the conditions for sick patients in Israeli jails, the particular problems for prisoners from Gaza and the complicity of international companies like G4S and Hewlett Packard in the Israeli prison system. The Ketziot prison where Salah spent some of his period of imprisonment has been receiving services from British/Danish company G4S since 2007.

The effects of Israeli air attacks are never far away in Beit Hanoun. As his sons and grandsons bring us tea to drink, Salah tells us that during the Israeli bombardment in November 2012 his grandson ‘Hisham’, who was three and a half years old, “was playing a little way away from a government building. The building was struck by an F16 and rubble hit him on the head. He was in intensive care for seven days.” We are invited to feel the soft patch in Hisham’s skull where he was injured. Salah goes on to tell us: “My son ‘Abed’, now 20 years old, was in the street when the group of boys he was with was targeted by an Apache [helicopter]. One of them was killed and 18 injured. Abed’s hand was amputated, he is seriously psychologically affected.” Continue reading

Resist the Drone Wars: Public meeting and discussion

Resist the drone wars page 1

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Download a PDF of the flyer

*Resist drone wars: The impact of drone attacks on Gaza*

*When:* Monday 24 March, 7pm

*Where:* Friends House, 173-177 Euston Rd, NW1 2BJ

Public meeting and discussion

Drone attacks caused the most deaths during the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012. Come and hear the stories of those at the receiving end of drone technology, taken from Corporate Watch‘s recent visit to Gaza.

Find out how to make sure that Israeli drone makers don’t profit any further from bloodshed in Gaza.

Mary Dobbing will talk about Drone Wars UK‘s newly published research into Israel’s production, use and proliferation of drones.

Plus practical planning about how we can resist the drone wars from here in London, led by London Palestine Action.

*”If they just knew for a second what a weapon can do, what it costs us, I think they would stop. I think they have no souls . When they look at the TV and see the news did they see the people killed by these drones, how did they feel? If they just came here for one night and heard the bombing and the planes and the drones – I don’t know what they would feel – I think they should come here and live our experience in war and they would understand.”* Ridda Abu Znaid, who watched as her sister and cousin were killed by an Israeli drone strike in the Gaza strip in 2009, speaking about the companies who manufacture drones

Organised by UK groups campaigning against drones

www.corporatewatch.org

www.dronewars.net

www.londonpalestineaction.tumblr.com

www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

www.waronwant.org/

www.smashedo.org.uk

Cases dropped against arms fair campaigners

Blockade of the 2013 DSEi arms fair (Photo taken by Campaign against arms trade)

Blockade of the 2013 DSEi arms fair (Photo taken by Campaign against arms trade)

This week the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) discontinued a case against five activists charged with disrupting the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair. Here is a personal account from one of the defendants. Continue reading

Will the flowers of Gaza break Israel’s siege this Valentine’s Day?

Flowers from Gaza being prepared for export

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and for supermarkets and florists that means a massive increase in the sale of flowers. But where are the bouquets they are flogging to romantic couples grown?

Farmers in Gaza have long been encouraged by Israeli companies to focus their production on high risk ‘cash crops’ such as flowers and strawberries, and the arrival of carnations from Rafah to European markets for Christmas or Valentine’s day is often cheered on by the Israeli Government which uses it as a PR exercise to show how it ‘facilitates’ Palestinian exports. Unsurprisingly, this is not the full story.

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Ahava blockaders Supreme Court appeal fails, but campaign remains victorious

ahava closed

The sign on the door of Ahava’s flagship London store the day it closed due to a successful direct action campaign

An appeal to the Supreme Court by two campaigners against the Ahava store in London has been unsuccessful.

The campaign

Ahava manufactures its products at the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank. The settlements of Mitzpe Shalem and Kibbutz Kalia are shareholders in the company (see here).

Ahava, a multinational Israeli Dead Sea products company, was forced to close its flagship store Monmouth Street, central London in 2011 after two years of concerted campaigning by grassroots groups. Continue reading

Israeli Apartheid Week talk: University of Kent

Corporate Watch have recently visited Gaza to research Israeli drone
attacks. Drones were the weapon that caused the most deaths during the
Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012. But the Israeli drone industry is
profitable as well as deadly. Israeli arms companies, profiting from their experience gained by committing war crimes against the people of Gaza, have sold drone technology to 49 countries around the world. Israeli company Elbit are working with the UK government to develop a British drone. Come and hear the stories of those at the receiving end of of drone technology and find out how you can join the campaign to make sure Elbit don’t profit any further from the bloodshed they have caused in Gaza.