By Tom Anderson & Therezia Cooper
Activists campaigning for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli militarism, occupation and apartheid have asked for information about the Bezeq telephone company’s involvement in Israel’s illegal settlements.
On Saturday 12th January 2013 Corporate Watch photographed a piece of Bezeq telephone infrastructure in Kfar Adumim settlement. Kfar Adumim is situated above the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar close to the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. Settlement expansion in Kfar Adumim is threatening the existence of Khan al Ahmar, who are currently fighting eviction in the Israeli courts.
Bezeq, previously a state-owned company, has historically had a monopoloy on the telecommunications market. Since the 1990s, the state has been selling off its stake in Bezeq. The company is now owned by private consortia.
Bezeq was privatised in 2005. It is the largest telecommunications provider in Israel and owns Pelephone, one of Israel’s four leading cellular providers. The company offers cellular and landline services to the army, checkpoints and Israeli settlers, owns telecommunications infrastructure in the Occupied Territories and provides discriminatory services within Israel.
For example, Palestinian residents of the unrecognised Palestinian villages in the Naqab are Israeli citizens they are excluded from connection to landline services as building in these villages is prohibited by the Israeli state. Often telephone lines run above the houses of Palestinian residents of the Naqab but the inhabitants of those houses have no hope of ever being connected.
Furthermore, it has been reported by the Arab Human Rights Association that Bezeq has only ever recruited a handful of Palestinian Israeli citizens.