An open Letter to JCB and its owners, Anthony and Carole Bamford

We write to you in the hope that you will share our concern for justice and human rights worldwide. July marked the anniversary of the 2018 Israeli preparations to destroy the entire village of Khan al Ahmar, in the occupied West Bank. The demolition of this village has so far been averted, after international outcry. Many of the bulldozers used in that attempted expulsion were manufactured by JCB.

Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes carries on almost daily. 461 demolitions were carried out in 2018 in the West Bank alone. They are an integral part of the Israeli State’s repressive military occupation aimed at displacing Palestinian communities and building Israeli settlements in their place.

This month, five activists from the campaign group ‘Stop the Demolitions’ went on trial for taking direct action at the UK premises of JCB in September 2018 and March 2019. They wanted you to know that JCB equipment is being sold or leased by Comasco, JCB’s sole Israeli representative, to the Israeli Civil Administration for use in the demolition of homes and schools in Palestine. They hope that you will grasp the gravity of the situation in Palestine where many families are displaced and made homeless by demolitions carried out with JCB machinery.

The planned demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar has been named a war crime by the ICC prosecutor, EU and the United Nations. British Prime Minister Theresa May said last year that she was ‘deeply concerned’ about the impending demolition of the village and school, and called on the Israeli government not to go ahead with it. We the undersigned, express our support for these activists for protesting JCB’s actions, and urge JCB to urgently reconsider its business dealings with Comasco. It is within your power to prevent JCB machinery being used in the Israeli State’s demolition policy, and we urge you to take action.

You are no doubt aware of your responsibilities set out by the UN’s Guiding Principles and OECD guidelines to ensure human rights compliance and due diligence in your business supply chain. Several legal and campaign groups have urged you to comply with these responsibilities, including War on Want, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, to which you have not responded. We are concerned that your relationship with Comasco, and your business in Israel in general, are not currently fulfilling these international business human rights guidelines.

As recent research shows, JCB’s products were used in 2018 in at least 130 demolitions, including the destruction of at least 2 schools and 31 homes. These demolitions displaced 163 people, including 31 children. We note that Carole Bamford’s charitable trust supports disadvantaged communities in India and Brazil, and the NSPCC in the UK. She has received an OBE for services to children as a result. In view of this, we urge you to recognise the effect that JCB equipment is having on communities- including children- in Palestine when schools and homes are demolished, leaving them displaced, homeless or unable to attend school safely, not to mention the impact of this trauma on the mental health of these children and their families. We want to impress on you the importance of JCB ceasing all business relations with Comasco. We also urge you to ensure that JCB products are not sold or leased to any of the authorities carrying out Israel’s home demolition policy, namely the Israeli government, Israeli military, Israeli police and border police, Israeli Lands Administration and Israeli Civil Administration.

Sincerely,

Organisations:

Stop the Demolitions, UK
JCB 5, UK. The JCB 5 are UK activists on trial for taking direct action against JCB.
Jordan Valley Solidarity (Palestine)
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), UK
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (UK)
War on Want (UK)
Sabeel-Kairos – A Christian based UK charity committed to supporting peace and justice in the Holy Land
Boycott From Within (Israel)
Shoal Collective and the Corporate Occupation project
Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine
Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Manchester Palestine Action
Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Justice for Palestinians
Liverpool Friends of Palestine
Football Against Apartheid (UK)
THE PALESTINIAN magazine
London Palestino FC
Portsmouth and South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Protecting Palestinian Families
Jewish Network for Palestine
Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Services and Research Centre for Palestine, Netherlands (docP – Diensten en Onderzoeks Centrum voor Palestina)
Tiye International (Netherlands)

Individuals:

Asad Rehman, Executive Director, War on Want
Rashed Khudairy, Jordan Valley Solidarity
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion
Dr Chris Rossdale, London School of Economics
Dr Luke Bhatia, University of Manchester
Dr Uri Gordon, University of Durham
Dr Cristina Masters, University of Manchester
Dr Rachel Massey, University of Chester
Dr Thom Tyerman, University of Sheffield Hallam
Dr Jamie M. Johnson, University of Leicester
Eliza Egret, co-author of ‘Resisting the demolitions in Palestine’
Tom Anderson, co-author of ‘Resisting the demolitions in Palestine’
Frea Lockley, Emily Apple, Glen Black, John Ranson, Ed Sykes, Tracy Keeling and Kevin McEvoy of The Canary
Ruth Tenne, UK based Israeli activist
Amy Hall, co-author of ‘Resisting the demolitions in Palestine’
Adri Nieuwhof, Human Rights Advocate (Netherlands)
Sahar Vardi, Israeli human rights activist
Emily Soothill LLM, Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors
Elisabeth Andresen LLM, Leigh Day Solicitors
Daniel Carey, Partner, Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors
Rita Naloop, Tiye International
Dr Joseph O’Neill, Interfaith for Palestine
Heather Stroud, author of Abraham’s Children

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