Apartheid in the fields: From occupied Palestine to UK Supermarkets

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Israeli agricultural export companies are profiting from the Israeli colonisation of Palestinian land.

In 2005 a broad coalition of Palestinians made a call for ordinary people all over the world to take action to boycott Israeli goods, companies and state institutions: “We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”

This call has inspired a global solidarity movement aimed at targeting Israeli capitalism in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against oppression. We have compiled articles and interviews with Palestinian agricultural workers and farmers in the West Bank and Gaza, together with information on many of the Israeli exporters and UK supermarkets, as a resource for campaigners seeking to follow this call.

Palestine Solidarity for Families

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Demolition of a home in East Jerusalem, as depicted by a child of the Amro family. The children continue to suffer from anxiety, trauma, and bedwetting following the partial demolition of their home in 2015.

Sodastream, Hewlett Packard, and Barclays Bank have been among a number of key targets of Palestine solidarity activists in the last few years, not to mention G4S, Elbit Systems and EDO MBM. High street supermarkets and and now even the are also facing criticism for their business practises, regarded as undermining Palestinian human rights and being complicit in illegal Israeli occupation.
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Arms fair organiser operating at a massive loss

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Clarion Events, the company which organises the biannual arms fair in London’s docklands has been operating at a massive loss. The international trade exhibition organiser declared a consolidated loss of £22 million during 2014 following a £41 million loss the previous year.

DSEI is one of the world’s largest arms fairs, playing host to thousands of companies and government delegations from around the world. The fair sparked two weeks of protests, with campaigners attempting to disrupt the setting up of the fair by blocking the road to the exhibition centre and blocking trucks bringing weapons to the fair to display. Several protesters managed to bypass security and get inside the fair (see and ). breached Clarion’s cyber security and leaked documents containing commercial, logistical and security information intended for Clarion’s customers.

When Clarion bought DSEI from Reed Elsevier (now RELX Group) in 2008 it was new to the arms business. Its exhibition portfolio included the Baby Show, the Travel Show and the Spirit of Christmas fair. Since then, Clarion seems to have developed an appetite for arms fairs. It bought six more within the space of four years. In a clear statement of intent, Clarion has even become a member of the group, the industry body for the arms trade, and set up a special company called Clarion Defence and Security to manage their collection of arms fairs. It also organises the .

Clarion Events was bought by Providence Equity in January this year. The mainstream press that it was hard to find a buyer for Clarion because of its involvement in the arms trade. Providence will be hoping to see a turn around in Clarion’s finances. But this year’s anti-arms fair protests may have eaten into Clarion’s profits from DSEI.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “Clarion profits from an industry that thrives on war and conflict and has rightfully been a target for protest. If it was to fold or give up on DSEI then any prospective buyers would quickly find themselves facing the same opposition. Arms fairs are not just morally bankrupt, they’re also bad for your brand and bad for your business.”

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Arms fair’s cyber security breached

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Anarchists calling themselves the ‘Information Liberation Front’ (ILF) have to the website, which show that they were able to to company EZONE account on the DSEI arms fair’s website and register a at the fair. DSEI is one of the world’s biggest arms fairs and is taking place in London’s Docklands today. Hacking Team is a cyber surveillance company, which is exhibiting at the fair. Continue reading

French multinaltional SAFT complicit in Gaza massacre

A battery pack manufactured by SAFT USA, discarded in a house in Khuza'a, Gaza

A battery pack manufactured by SAFT USA, discarded in a house in Khuza’a, Gaza

As the anniversary of last year’s seven week long massacre by Israel in the Gaza Strip draws closer, evidence obtained by Corporate Watch shows that a French company manufactured equipment used by the Israeli military in Gaza last year. Photos taken by International Solidarity Movement activist Charlie Andreasson on 7 August 2014 show that a military battery pack manufactured in the US by French company SAFT was discarded in the village of Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip after one of the worst massacres of the attack.

The photos were taken in a house which was occupied by Israeli soldiers during July 2014. One photo shows a notice from the Israeli military to people living in the villages in the countryside east of Khan Younis, requiring them to leave their homes and go to the centre of the city until further notice. The notice said that if they did not go then they would be in danger. Other photos show shrapnel on the floor and cases for bullets.

Ammunition containers left by Israeli soldiers n a home in Khuza’a

Notices dropped by the Israeli military ordering Khuza’a residents to leave their homes

Map of the area for evacuation

Shrapnel from a shell fired by the Israeli military in Khuza’a

According to an article by Mondoweiss based on first hand accounts, on 23 July Israeli forces entered the village of Khuza’a, firing bullets and artillery shells at people trying to flee. Ambulance crews that had negotiated with the Israeli forces to rescue the wounded were also fired on. A missile was fired at a local clinic where people were attempting to obtain emergency treatment. Throughout the day medical crews were prevented from helping the wounded.

Later in the day, soldiers occupied several houses around Khuza’a, turning them into military posts. People trying to leave the village, many carrying white flags, were fired on with bullets and missiles from planes, helicopters and drones.

One resident, Mohamed Ismail, sent out accounts on Twitter. His updates read:

“My family & I made it out, light injuries. Hundreds of casualties, bodies in the streets. Many of the dead in Khuza’a bled to death bc ambulances unable to reach. From my window I watched a 20 yr old die for hours. One doctor, Kamal Abu Rjeila, treated injuries that came into his clinic even after it was bombed & his father killed. The Israeli army used ten families as human shields. They took over their homes and wouldn’t let them escape. Home I was sheltering in with 50 others was bombed. I don’t know what happened to them but my shoes soaked in their blood. We escaped to our home under the cover of the dust from the bombing. Minutes later, it was hit by 3 artillery shells. We tried to escape on foot to Khuza’a’s exit, but helicopters fired on us. I saw a woman carrying her dead child in one arm and a white flag in the other. She used the white flag to wrap his body. As we walked I saw my uncle and his son, dead on the road next to their house. Snipers were hitting people in the legs. My other cousin died trying to save his bleeding brother in the street. They died on top of each other. There are corpses still lying in the streets, injured people waiting to become corpses, families who still haven’t escaped”.

SAFT is a multinational company headquartered in France. It produces batteries used in the aviation, transport (tram and metro), oil and gas and telecommunications industries as well as for military use. The battery pack photogaphed in Khuza’a was from the US, where SAFT has a significant presence.

The battery found in the house in Khuza’a had, written on it in English and Hebrew, “SAFT AMERICA INC standard issue organic lithium battery, date of manufacture Feb. 2013”

The civil socitety call for boycott, divestment and sanctions calls for campaigners to target companies involved in supplying equipment used by the Israeli military. Activists should consider campaigning for SAFT’s non-military contractors to drop their contracts with SAFT over its complicity in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.

Shareholder activists target Barclays AGM

20150423_110056On Thursday 23 April 2015, several protests were held outside the gates of the Barclays Annual General Meeting at the Royal Festival Hall.

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Imprisoned voices: Corporate complicity in the Israeli prison system

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This briefing is being published on 17 April 2015 to coincide with the annual day of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

It collects the memories of the pain, suffering and resilience of Palestinians who have been imprisoned by Israel.

In 2013, Corporate Watch visited the West Bank and Gaza Strip and interviewed released prisoners about their experiences. The 11 accounts give a glimpse of the struggles of Palestinian prisoners.

They have been collected together here to inspire readers to take action in solidarity with them and against the companies profiting from their suffering.

The first part of this briefing compiles interviews with prisoners from the Gaza Strip. The second part focuses on the West Bank. The final part summarises the companies providing equipment and services that aid the arrest and imprisonment of Palestinians and gives detailed profiles of two of the biggest culprits: G4S and Hewlett Packard.

We dedicate this briefing to all those who remain imprisoned, and to everyone living within the open air prison that is occupied Palestine.

The briefing is currently only published online. It will be available to buy in the coming weeks from www.corporatewatch.org

The story of a released Palestinian prisoner, banned from returning home

Israeli soldiers prepare to tear gas Palestinian protesters outside Ofer prison in the West Bank

Israeli soldiers prepare to tear gas Palestinian protesters outside Ofer prison in the West Bank (2013)

This interview is part of a series of articles about Palestinian prisoners and companies complicit with the Israeli prison system. 17 April 2015 is the annual global day of action for Palestinian prisoners, when solidarity activists around the world are called on to take action to highlight the abuse of Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli prison system. Both G4S and Hewlett Packard provide services to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS). Palestinian prisoners’ organisations have called on the global solidarity movement to pressure them to end their contracts. International companies such as Samsung, Canon, and Motorola have also provided equipment used in Israeli prisons Continue reading

Born in an Israeli prison

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Palestinian women and their children join the weekly sit-in in solidarity with Palestinian detainees in israeli jails – Gaza City

This interview is part of a series of articles about Palestinian prisoners and companies complicit with the Israeli prison system. 17 April 2015 is the annual global day of action for Palestinian prisoners, when solidarity activists around the world are called on to take action to highlight the abuse of political prisoners in the Israeli prison system. Both G4S and Hewlett Packard provide services to the Israeli Prison Service (IPS). Palestinian prisoners’ organisations have called on the global solidarity movement to pressure them to end their contracts.

We visited Fatima Al Zak in her home in Shuja’iyeh, a neighbourhood in Eastern Gaza City, in November 2013 to hear about her experience of giving birth and trying to bring up an infant in an Israeli prison. Fatima is one of many Palestinian prisoners who have been denied proper medical care while in prison. Continue reading

UK Supreme Court rules in favour of mass surveillance of protestors

Last Wednesday a landmark protest case was lost when Metropolitan Police won its appeal against John Catt, a 90 year old anti-war campaigner from Brighton who has fought a long battle to have his details removed from the national ‘domestic extremist’ database’ (also referred to as the National Special Branch Intelligence System). The Met was appealing against a court of appeal judgement from 2013, which stated that the police had no right to retain Catt’s details on the database as this constitutes a breach of his rights to private life and that the records should be destroyed.

Bound to have wide reaching consequences, the new supreme court ruling gives the police the go ahead to continue surveillance of protestors more or less unchecked. As the Network for Police Monitoring put it in its statement about the outcome: ‘The significance of today’s ruling is that it changes the basis on which retention of data must be justified, from the individual to the general’. Or in other words, anyone who attends a public demonstration or protest can expect to be put on a database as long as the police considers it to be useful for wider, mainly undefined, data gathering purposes.

John Catt has indicated his intention to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

For detailed analysis and back ground to this case see Corporate Watch’s article Will the Supreme Court give police the ‘right’ to mass surveillance? and reports from the Network for Police Monitoring, including its statement regarding the recent verdict: Analysis of the UK Supreme Court ruling on surveillance of political activism

The full Supreme Court ruling can be read here: https://www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0112_Judgment.pdf

Statement from the anti-militarist campaign Smash EDO, quoted in the ruling: Smash EDO response to supreme court ruling on surveillance