Dutch media reports 2 of country’s largest retail chains announce they will not sell more products originating beyond Green Line
Following the European Union announcement regarding official guidelines prohibiting the funding of Israeli bodies and actions beyond the Green Line, it was reported Monday in the Netherlands that at least two large retail chains in the country have stopped selling goods produced in Israeli settlements. A third chain assured its customers that the sources of its products are unrelated to the settlements.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded: “This boycott is tainted with hypocrisy and prejudice, and is only worsening the problem it purports to solve.”
According to Dutch news website Trouw, the two chains that announced they will not be selling products originating in settlements are Aldi and Hoogvlit. The chains are particularly popular in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. The third chain that makes a distinction between Israeli products is Jambo.
In a research conducted by Trouw with several supermarkets in Holland, several Aldi and Hoogvlit representatives confirmed the ban. Aldi even demanded its suppliers to not supply products from the settlements anymore. The chain’s spokesperson commented that Aldi is not interested in its products “being part of public discourse in any way.”
The report further added that Jambo is recently requiring its suppliers to submit a formal approval which states that delivered goods will label “Israel” so as to ensure they indeed come from “the State of Israel” and not the settlements. Jambo commented that it was decided to take this unusual step due to the raising of the subject in public debate. “Our customer deserves honest information,” Jambo stated.
The Netherlands has long been preoccupied with the question of how large retail chains should act in the matter of products coming from the settlements. The issue dragged debates revolving around the need to have it emphasized on the packaging that the product comes from settlements, or alternatively have the chains remove products originating beyond the Green Line.
Hoogvliet, bans products from settlements (Photo: M.M.Minderhoud)
While three chains have already taken banning measures against products from the settlements, other retail chains await government decisions. Holland’s largest retail chain Albert Heijn is holding consultations with the Dutch Food Retail Association (CBL), which is awaiting the decisions of Finance Minister and Foreign Minister. The ministers themselves are awaiting clarifications on the issue from the EU.
CBL spokesperson said in response that “the first time we encountered this issue was a year ago, and in the last letter sent two months ago we demanded urgent clarifications. The sooner we receive these clarifications, the better. We are not concerned as to what the solution will be, whether they decide on having labels clarifying the source or have us remove products from shelves, as long as we get clarifications.”
Last March, the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed it received unofficial information regarding an official paper in the Netherlands, which recommends to importers and retail chains in the country to mark products coming from settlements. According to the report in Holland Monday, the recommendation was issued on the Dutch Finance Ministry website, and was since removed.
EU acknowledges obligation to not recognize Israeli colonisation and annexation of occupied Palestinian territory
European Investment Bank to stop loans to ‘virtually all’ major Israeli businesses and public bodies
New European Union guidelines will prevent Israeli ministries, public bodies and businesses that operate in occupied Palestinian territory from receiving loans worth hundreds of millions of Euros each year from the European Investment Bank, it emerged today. The EU will also stop awarding grant funding to Israeli ministries, public bodies or private businesses for activities that take place in occupied Palestinian territory, even if they are headquartered inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
According to a leaked version of the guidelines, the EU aims to ensure that its own institutions respect the obligation to not recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip as well as the Syrian Golan Heights.
The new guidelines exclude any Israeli entity with activity in occupied Palestinian territory from participating in EU financial instruments such as loans. Among those excluded from receiving loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) will be major Israeli banks including Bank Hapoalim, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and Bank Leumi because they all operate illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), including by having branches in illegal Israeli settlements. Bank Hapoalim received a €75m credit line from the EIB in 2006 and is likely to have put some of that credit towards its wide-ranging settlement financing operations.
Recent EIB loans such as the €120m lent to national Israeli water company Mekorot in 2011 or the €40m lent to electric car company Better Place in 2012 would not have been granted under the new rules as both companies have sizeable illegal settlement activities. The EIB has provided finance amounting to almost €1 billion to Israeli entities since 1981.
Zaid Shuaibi, spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society that forms the Palestinian leadership and reference for the global BDS movement, said:
“Virtually all Israeli ministries and national authorities, major Israeli banks and other private businesses participate in the discrimination and oppression of our people and the colonization of our country. Many of them play a key role in maintaining and expanding illegal Israeli settlements and infrastructure of the occupation regime. These new guidelines should all but end Israeli eligibility for EIB loans.”
“Regardless of the scope and reach of these European measures they are already sending strong signals around Europe and the world at large that the era of sanctions against Israel has started. These guidelines will undoubtedly further erode Israel’s standing in international public opinion and encourage European and other citizens to seriously consider joining the fast growing BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. The ‘S’ in BDS is becoming more realistic, as a result.”
Michael Deas, BNC Coordinator in Europe, explained:
“These guidelines show that grassroots civil society pressure is forcing the European Union to acknowledge its legal responsibility to not recognize Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people and to end some aspects of its deep complicity in maintaining this illegal and criminal system.”
The new guidelines have also been welcomed by students and conscientious academics in Palestine and Europe who have been campaigning against EU funded joint projects between European universities and illegal settlement companies such as cosmetics firm Ahava, which will also be excluded under the new EU eligibility criteria, or between European academic institutions and their Israeli counterparts, all of which are deeply complicit in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s occupation and apartheid.
“Similar guidelines should also be adopted in order to bring an end to the shameful EU policy of awarding research funding to Israeli military companies, such as Elbit Systems, that ‘field test’ their deadly systems on Palestinian and other Arab civilians. Israeli military companies provide the weaponry and technology that enable Israel to commit atrocities and daily violations of human rights. European taxpayers will wonder why public money is being handed over to Israeli arms companies at a time of deep public spending cuts,” added Shuaibi.
Many leading international figures, including Nobel laureates, have endorsed the Palestinian civil society call for a military embargo against Israel and its weapons companies.
“Although these guidelines are an important step in the right direction, they do not absolve the EU from the legal responsibility to not recognize and support Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid in many other areas. In the area of trade, for example, mere labeling of products from the illegal settlements is not enough, because they can still be sold in European markets. They should be banned completely, because the EU has a responsibility to ensure that Israeli settlements do not benefit from trade in European markets,”
“Moreover, we have yet to see how these guidelines will be implemented by the EU. Civil society, including BDS campaigners, will have to play an important role in monitoring their implementation, making sure that all ineligible Israeli entities are excluded in practice from receiving EU money.”
“As Israel prepares to ethnically cleanse more than 30,000 Bedouin Palestinians from their land in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel, all of us will have to work hard to make the European Union recognize that Israeli apartheid is the same on both sides of the green line, and that the EU has a responsibility to not recognize the human rights abuses committed by Israeli public and private entities against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian refugees.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The new rules for eligibility for European Union ‘financial instruments’ such as the European Investment Bank are laid out in section 12 b) of the guidelines, which state “In the case of financial instruments, Israeli entities will be considered eligible as final recipients if they do not operate in the territories referred to in point 2 [those occupied by Israel in 1967], either in the framework of EU-funded financial instruments or otherwise.”
2. Many major Israeli banks operate branches inside occupied Palestinian territory and provide loans to illegal Israeli settlements
3. More information on the operations inside occupied Palestinian territory of Mekorot and Better Place is available at the following links
4. Elbit Systems – Israel’s leading military company, has received generous EU funding despite its role in supplying drones to Israel used to kill civilians and constructing Israel’s apartheid wall, declared illegal in 2004
Calls for Divestment Intensify as Retirement Fund Giant TIAA-CREF Drops Controversial Israeli Settlement Company
Protests in a dozen cities nationwide tomorrow as CREF holds annual shareholder meeting
July 15, 2013 - Pension fund giant TIAA-CREF has removed the increasingly controversial Israeli company SodaStream (NASD: SODA) from its portfolio. As of March 2013, financial data posted on TIAA-CREF’s website valued shares in SodaStream at $9,444,292. According to financial data available today, it is zero.
“No matter the reason TIAA-CREF dropped SodaStream, we view this as a conscientious decision.” said Sydney Levy of the We Divest Campaign (www.wedivest.org). “While SodaStream may be a profitable investment, it is socially bankrupt, operating out of an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.”
Tomorrow, July 16th, human rights activists in over a dozen cities nationwide will be protesting at local offices of TIAA-CREF, as TIAA-CREF shareholders meet in Charlotte, North Carolina for the company’s annual shareholder meeting. The annual meeting will not include a vote on a resolution submitted by over 200 TIAA-CREF shareholders, calling on the pension fund giant to divest from companies involved in egregious human rights violations, including those companies whose products are used by the Israeli military to commit grave and systematic human rights abuses against Palestinians, and to enforce Israel’s 46-year-old military occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands. This is the second time that TIAA-CREF officials have refused to allow investors to vote on the shareholder resolution, which calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from companies such as Veolia, Caterpillar, and Northrup Grumman which profit from segregated services, home demolitions, militarized violence, and other human rights abuses.
SodaStream is the second company targeted for divestment by international human rights groups to be dropped by TIAA-CREF. In 2012, TIAA-CREF took an important step towards its claim to be a socially responsible pension fund by dropping Caterpillar, Inc. from its Social Choice fund. Caterpillar’s bulldozers have been used for countless and egregious Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestinian Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. In that case, TIAA-CREF’s decision was based on the downgrading of Caterpillar stock by ethical investment ratings agency MSCI, which said in a statement that one of the “key factors” in Caterpillar’s downgrading was “on-going controversy associated with use of the company’s equipment in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
In recent years SodaStream became the subject of international calls for boycott due to their main production facility being located in the Mishor Adumim industrial park in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the occupied West Bank. The move by TIAA-CREF comes as the international campaign to boycott companies operating in illegal settlements is gaining mainstream traction. In 2012, the policy-making bodies of the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church USA each voted to boycott products made in Israeli settlements.
What Others are Saying
Steve Tamari, TIAA-CREF Investor said:
“I welcome the news that as a TIAA-CREF investor, I am no longer profiting from SodaStream, whose main production facility operates in an illegal settlement on Palestinian land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. I urge TIAA-CREF to drop the remaining companies in their portfolio profiting from confiscating Palestinian land and contributing to illegal settlement expansion. I hope in the coming year to see TIAA-CREF divest from the French multinational Veolia, which operates transportation, water-treatment, and garbage services for illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.”
Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights activist and founding member of the BDS movement said:
“The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people have endorsed the boycott of SodaStream and other corporations that are implicated in Israel’s occupation, settlements and other violations of international law. Those who claim that boycotting or divesting from SodaStream would hurt Palestinians are parroting a discredited argument that was proven false in apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow South. Nothing hurts the oppressed as much as oppression does. Injustice hurts us. Occupation degrades our humanity. Palestinian civil society strongly believes that freedom, justice and equality deserve our sacrifice, but we need effective solidarity from the world to achieve our rights.”
Anna Baltzer of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation said:
“We are hopeful that TIAA-CREF has finally recognized the implications of investing in companies like Caterpillar, Inc. and SodaStream. It should not pay to violate international law and Palestinian human rights. Why then has TIAA-CREF prevented its shareholders from voting to divest from other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation?”
Andrew Dalack of the US Palestinian Community Network said:
“SodaStream insists in its marketing materials that they are ‘Building Bridges, Not Walls,’ but the truth is that it profits from a system of illegal occupation and settlements, based on walls and checkpoints that control, humiliate, and criminalize millions of people. It appears TIAA-CREF was able to see through the empty slogans and identify SodaStream as a company that in no way could be passed off as ‘for the greater good.’ We commend them for that.”
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace said:
“It is becoming increasingly controversial, if not downright shameful, to be in any way associated with products made in illegal settlements in occupied territory. No matter TIAA-CREF’s motivations to drop SodaStream, it was the right decision for a company claiming to provide ‘financial services for the greater good.’”
More on SodaStream
1. While SodaStream for years falsely presented its products as being made in Israel, it has simultaneously and repeatedly reported to the Securities & Exchange Commission its susceptibility to boycott. In form F-1, filed October 19, 2010, SodaStream declared: ”A number of political groups have called for consumer boycotts of Israeli products originating in the West Bank, including our products…For these reasons, we may in the future be required to transfer a significant portion of our manufacturing activities to a location outside of the West Bank… [which] could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.” For more on this: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/abraham-greenhouse/risky-business-profiting-occupation
2. Instead of discontinuing a business model which profits from an illegal 46 year old military occupation, SodaStream has engaged in a massive multimillion-dollar PR campaign to obfuscate the moral and legal implications of its policies, marketing itself as “eco-friendly” and “socially responsible”. While this may have lead to a 55% increase in SodaStream’s stock between February and June of this year, it did not prevent TIAA-CREF from dropping their shares in SodaStream, much like it they did with Caterpillar in 2012.
3. Why Boycott Sodastream? Fact sheet: https://wedivest.org/post/284/flyer-why-boycott-sodastream
We Divest is a national, coalition-led initiative by Adalah-NY, the American Friends Service Committee,Grassroots International, Jewish Voice for Peace, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and the US Palestinian Community Network.
Concern over a possible international economic boycott of Israel has been growing. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is responsible for negotiations with the Palestinians. At the beginning of the month she warned that if there was no progress in diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, the European boycott of Israeli products would not be limited to goods produced in West Bank settlements, but that it would be applied to Israel proper as well.
At a speech in Eilat, Livni said that when it comes to economic issues, the discourse in Europe had also taken on an ideological turn, spawning increasing calls for a boycott of Israel. “It’s true,” she stated, “that it will begin with the settlements. But their problem is with Israel, which is perceived as a colonialist country, so it won’t stop with the settlements and will reach all of Israel.”
In Friday’s Haaretz, Yossi Verter reported that the relevant government ministries had recently received disturbing news. Major banks in Europe with operations around the world have been exploring the possibility of barring loans to Israeli companies that have a business or economic link with the occupied territories. According to the information received, these banks’ investment committees have been considering recommending barring their institutions from providing loans, or any other assistance, to Israeli companies that manufacture, build or conduct commerce in the territories, or to banks that provide mortgage lending or loans to builders or buyers of housing in the territories.
Although the recommendations have been rejected for the time being − after an Israeli lobbying campaign that came against the backdrop of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s diplomatic initiative in the region − the proposal will continue to hover over Israel.
The magnitude of the danger this poses to the Israeli economy is hard to overstate. A European economic boycott of those with any connection to the occupied territories would be very broad. And Livni is warning that it would spread way beyond that. Even at this point, the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) has chalked up a not-inconsiderable number of achievements.
As a result, Israel is facing its moment of truth. Is it prepared to pay a steep economic price for its continued occupation of the West Bank and for its diplomatic inaction? Is it ready to pay the price of the government’s refusal to work for the establishment of a Palestinian state, to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed back in 2009, with the economic implications that such a boycott entails?
The need for new, courageous and steadfast policy does not stem solely from the threatened economic damage. The diplomatic and moral price that Israel is paying for the continued occupation is high enough, but now − with Europe talking about stiffening its economic stance − the price that Israel is due to pay becomes substantial and tangible. Israel has only one conclusion to draw from this: To exercise a genuine readiness to end the occupation and reach an agreement, before this major threat becomes a reality.
Calls to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people are gathering momentum. Words such as “boycott” and “apartheid” are no longer taboo and fast becoming mainstream.
Why, then, are well-respected charities such as IKV Pax Christi, a Dutch civil society organization in the Netherlands, and Oxfam working against efforts to hold Israel, and complicit corporations, accountable for serious human rights violations and war crimes?
On 17 June, IKV Pax Christi organized a seminar titled “Playing and Paying: EU responsibility and the two state-solution for Israel and Palestine.” The event kicked off with a stirring and principled speech by Nikolaos Van Dam, a co-author of a recent report on Palestine that had been commissioned by the Dutch Senate (“Between words and deeds: Prospects for a sustainable peace in the Middle East,” Advisory Council on International Affairs, March 2013 [PDF]).
Under international law, he added, the Netherlands and the European Union were obliged to take action against Israel for its behavior. He stated that this obligation ought to mean that trade restrictions are introduced not only on products emanating from Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, but also on products from Israel itself.
“Sanctions should be imposed on those who are responsible for Israel’s policies, and that is the Israeli state, not just the Jewish settlers illegally residing on land forcefully expropriated from Palestinians,” he said. “We should finally put our political positions into practice” (“What should the European Union do to save the two-state solution,” 17 June 2013 [PDF]).“More love”
Van Dam’s contribution received enthusiastic applause from the audience. But then the event took a strange and unexpected turn.
Without exception, all of the panellists invited by IKV Pax Christi to respond to the report launched strong and sometimes personal attacks against Van Dam.
Ilan Baruch, a former Israeli diplomat and military commander, argued that Van Dam’s report would “wash away support” for Israelis who criticized the government.
Walid Salem, director of a Palestinian organization called Panorama, remarked that a two-state solution would not be accomplished by “harming Israel.” Han Ten Broeke, a member of parliament (MP), claimed that “finger-pointing doesn’t work” and that Israel doesn’t need “tough love” but “more love.”
Another MP, Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, was less caustic in his response. He said that both “carrots” and “sticks” were needed in order to break the current impasse in negotiations, but also maintained that the “time was not right for sticks” at this stage and that “Israel should be given an opportunity to show its commitment” to a two-state solution.
Both Baruch and Salem have been engaged in so-called dialogue projects between Israelis and Palestinians, some of which IKV Pax Christi has funded. Such projects are widely opposed by Palestinian political activists, who believe that they “normalize” Israel’s decidedly abnormal occupation and its apartheid policies.
In an email message which he sent me during an exchange of views about the organizing of this seminar, Matthieu Hermans of IKV Pax Christi defended Salem’s work. “Mr. Walid Salem is one of our esteemed Palestinian partners, whose openness towards constructive, solution-oriented dialogue with ‘the other side’ have gained him vicious anonymous threats from the so-called anti-normalization camp; threats from people whom — I would hope — you would not want to be associated with,” he wrote.Counterproductive
Hermans’ stance was ill-informed. Far from promoting a sinister agenda, opponents of normalization insist that Israel be held accountable for its violations of human rights and advocate that Israel be subject to boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) until this is achieved.
During a recent national BDS conference in Bethlehem, numerous Palestinian campaigners denounced such normalization projects (“Report on the fourth national BDS conference,” Palestinian BDS National Committee).
Unlike the conference in Bethlehem, the seminar organized by IKV Pax Christi was not about justice or peace. It was not about serious, critical, open debate of issues that concern Palestinians and Israelis, and indeed all of us. It was about how Europe should play a role both in order to maintain Israel as an exclusive “Jewish state” and to continue its support to the discredited Palestinian Authority.
IKV Pax Christi is not alone in pursuing a counterproductive strategy.
Oxfam International has been campaigning in Britain, the Netherlands and elsewhere that products emanating from Israeli settlements ought simply to be labeled as such. Oxfam has refused to argue that Israel and companies profiting from the occupation face sanctions.
Barbara Stocking, the chief executive of Oxfam in the UK, has said: “We support the right of consumers to know the origin of the products they purchase. Trade with Israeli settlements — which are illegal under international law — contributes to their economic viability and serves to legitimize them. It is also clear from our development work in West Bank communities that settlements have led to the denial of rights and create poverty for many Palestinians” (“UK issues new guidance on labelling of food from illegal West Bank settlements,” Guardian, 10 December 2009).
While Oxfam clearly acknowledges that the settlements are illegal, it doesn’t appear to regard products from the settlements as illegal. It has not called for a ban on these products.
When faced by accusations that labeling amounts to a singling out of Israeli products and may lead to a boycott, Oxfam has quickly stepped in to emphasize that it is not in favor of boycotting Israeli goods (“Oxfam agrees to conditions on Israel set by UK Jewry,” The Times of Israel, 12 January 2013).Incomprehensible
Oxfam’s argument is not only self-defeating, it is contrary to international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention provides that any exploitation of resources from occupied territories — beyond the immediate needs of the occupying army, and that is not in the interests of the local population — is illegal and could amount to the crime of pillage.
In February 2009, IKV Pax Christi director Jan Gruiters argued that trade privileges granted to Israel by the EU should be suspended (“Nioscoop,” 1 February 2009 [Video, in Dutch]).
It is therefore incomprehensible, both in light of Gruiters’ earlier statements and the stated mission of IKV Pax Christi, that the organization has seemingly dropped this position and now supports normalization.
The broad-based Palestinian-led BDS movement is striving towards a lasting and just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. Through nonviolent critical engagement and insisting on Israel and companies’ compliance with international law, the BDS movement explicitly rejects the perpetuation of the international crime of apartheid. Why then are groups that claim to champion the dispossessed opposed to this movement?
Unless Oxfam and IKV Pax Christi seriously engage with the movement and reconsider their counter-productive positions, they risk being perceived as irrelevant to the realization of a just peace.
Jeff Handmaker is a senior lecturer in law, human rights and development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He has worked closely with both IKV Pax Christi and Oxfam in the past.
“Prawer Plan” to uproot and dispossess indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian Communities in the Naqab (Negev) is latest definitive evidence of the colonial nature of Zionism
Occupied Palestine, 9July 2013 – The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) condemns the racist and colonial “Prawer Plan” which was adopted by the Israeli government as official policy and recently passed by parliament (Knesset) in the first reading. This plan calls for ethnically cleansing tens of thousands of Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel by confiscating hundreds of thousands of dunams  of land that they have owned for generations in the Naqab and destroying their homes and communities to expand Jewish-only settlements in the Naqab.
On today’s 8th anniversary of the Palestinian BDS Call, the BNC, which is the largest coalition in Palestinian society, reiterates its unwavering support for the struggle of our people in the 1948 territory against Israeli apartheid and its racist laws  and warmly welcomes the principled support for this struggle by anti-Zionist Jewish Israelis. The BNC calls upon all people of conscience around the world to escalate BDS campaigns against the state of Israel and its institutions which are responsible for this latest chapter of ethnic cleansing against our people.
In response to the Israeli parliament’s approval in the first reading of this racist “Prawer Plan”, and given its record of enacting tens of racist laws in the past, Palestinian civil society, as represented in the BNC, calls upon the Inter-Parliamentary Union to freeze the Knesset’s membership until it repeals all racist laws that are inconsistent with international law and the principles and objectives of the United Nations and of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in particular the principle of “protection and promotion of human rights.”
The “Prawer Plan” is a new chapter of the ongoing Nakba (catastrophe) against the indigenous Palestinian people which started in 1948 when Zionist militias, and later the newly established State of Israel, uprooted and dispossessed a majority of Palestinians from their ancestral land.
The main objective of the Prawer scheme is to sever the historical ties that bind Bedouin Palestinian communities to their land. It therefore presents new irrefutable evidence of the colonial nature of Zionism in thought and practice, as well as the nature of the apartheid system which the Israeli regime imposes on our people in the 1948 territory, reaching its peak with the insistence of this regime on maintaining an exclusionary “Jewish” identity that relegates the indigenous Palestinians into an inferior status by law. This aspect of Israel’s regime of oppression recalls the defining characteristics of apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow South in the United States.
The “Prawer Plan” violates universal principles of human rights, such as equality and effective participation in decision-making matters that are related to human life and well-being. It specifically violates the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples , which in Article (8) states that “Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture,” including “Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources,” as well as “any form or forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights.”
The plan also violates article (10) of the Declaration which prevents forcible removing of the indigenous peoples from their lands or territories.
“Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.”
All Palestinians in the 1948 territory, regardless of their different ideologies or political affiliations, are waging a determined and unified struggle against the Israeli apartheid regime that they are forced to live under in order to preserve what remains of their lands. Since the 1948 Nakba, successive Israeli governments have illegally looted and confiscated most of the land owned by Palestinians, who became citizens of the state, in order to further entrench the existing apartheid system that racially privileges Jewish citizens over Palestinian (Muslim and Christian) citizens, with legal and legislative cover. The Israeli judicial system and parliament share direct responsibility for their indispensable role in this ongoing process of dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian minority in Israel.
The time-honored logic of consistently pressuring rogue states to bring about their compliance with international law, including human rights principles, should be further applied to Israel, a regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people. BDS is one of the main forms of Palestinian popular and civil resistance which aims at regaining our fundamental rights, whether individual or collective, including the rights of nearly 1.5 million Palestinians in the 1948 territory.
BDS has proven over the last 8 years to be the most effective form of international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. The impressive achievements of the BDS movement in the last few months, such as Stephen Hawking’s boycott of an Israeli conference organized by Shimon Peres, and the frantic reaction of the Israeli establishment to the inspiring growth of the BDS movement across the world have underlined Israel’s vulnerability to this non-violent, rights-based movement that is anchored in international law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 One dunam = 1000 m2
 The 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines apartheid as “inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/romefra.htm Israel’s regime over its own Palestinian citizens fits this definition as it maintains more than 50 laws that racially discriminate against them. http://adalah.org/eng/Israeli-Discriminatory-Law-Database
The Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq has issued a legal opinion regarding Italian firm Pizzarotti’s involvement in the construction of Tel Aviv – Jerusalem high-speed train crossing the occupied Palestinian territories. Italy has an obligation under International law to act.
According to the legal opinion published by Al Haq, the noted Palestinian organization dedicated to protecting human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, there are “substantial grounds on which to determine that Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A. could be held responsible … in acts that can amount to serious violations of international law such as the war crimes of pillage and of destruction and appropriation of property” according to both the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC ).
Pizzarotti was contracted by Israel Railways for the excavation of two tunnels as part of the new high-speed rail line that will link Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, crossing, for over 6.5 km, the occupied Palestinian territories. The construction of these tunnels, one of which will be the longest in Israel, has already led to the illegal confiscation of Palestinian land in the villages of Beit Iksa, Beit Surik and Yalu. The company is therefore being targeted by the lobbying campaign of the Italian Coalition Stop That Train until it ceases to operate in violation of international law.
In the legal opinion, Tunnelling Activities and War Crimes: Why Pizzarotti Could Be Found Responsible for Grave Violations of International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Al Haq notes that the “property was appropriated to provide a more effective transportation system for Israeli citizens and for the economic interests of the contractors involved in the mining activities.” The appropriation of property amounting to war crimes includes not only land but also “the mined material which will be exploited from the tunnelling activities,” which, contrary to the norms of international law, is be extracted for the exclusive benefit of the Occupying Power and the companies involved.
According to Al Haq, “[t]he new infrastructure will in fact be detrimental for the interests of the local Palestinian population, who will lose a considerable part of their land as a result of the construction.” It should be noted that Israel has already confiscated large tracts of land belonging to the Palestinian villages of Beit Iksa and Beit Surik, whose inhabitants are for the most part refugees from 1948, for the construction of settlements and the Wall.
Al Haq notes that “Pizzarotti has demonstrated to be perfectly aware of the problematic character of the Project under international law.” In fact, Deutsche Bahn, the German state railway company, withdrew from the project precisely due to its problematic character under international law.
The legal opinion stresses that Italy, as a State Party to the International Criminal Court, “has a duty to exercise criminal jurisdiction over actions committed by its nationals(in this case the members of Pizzarotti Board of Directors and high level executives) that could amount to crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.” In addition, Al Haq underscored that “all States are under a customary international law obligation to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.”
Al Haq welcomed the resolutions condemning Pizzarotti approved by municipal councils of Rho, Naples, Vomero-Arenella, Corchiano and Sasso Marconi as part of the Stop That Train campaign and “encourages other Italian municipalities and public authorities to follow these examples.”
Stop That Train commits to continue with determination in the campaign to convince Pizzarotti to withdraw from the project. Stop That Train calls on the Italian government to meet its obligations, as established under international law, to investigate and prosecute Pizzarotti. Stop That Train renews its call, echoed by Al Haq, for local administrations, in accordance with Italian Public Contracts Law regarding those subjects “guilty of grave professional misconduct,” to exclude Pizzarotti from tenders for public works.
Stop That Train
 The Italian Coalition Stop That Train, http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/english-menu/429-pizzarotti-call
Stop That Train is a campaign of BDS Italy, a movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, made up of associations and groups throughout Italy endorsing the 2005 call by Palestinian civil society promoting BDS campaigns and initiatives on the local and national level.
 Statement of the German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs.http://www.bds-kampagne.de/assets/77/110314_FM%20Transport%20to%20MP%20Hoeger.pdf
 Italian Law 163/2006, Article 38, comma 1, letter f http://www.camera.it/parlam/leggi/deleghe/testi/06163dl.htm
The activists denounced the fact that G4S is still being awarded contracts even when its complicity in the detention and torture of children by Israel has been documented extensively.
MEP’s came out in support of the demonstration at which Addameer, a renowned Palestinian human rights organisation was represented by Sahar Francis– to stress the urgency of the matter.
Paul Murphy - Irish MEP said: „I`m here to support the protest against an ongoing contracting services to group for security G4S in European Parliament and in Luksembourg in particular. G4S is involved in management and running of many prisons in Israel where Palestinian prisoners are held”
„G4S is involved actively in the opression of Palestinians. We need to build a big movement within Europe opposing those who profits from the occupation” – he added
G4S is the world’s largest private military and security company. One of the issues receiving worldwide media attention is G4S’ provision of services to the Israeli police, Ministry of Defence, Prison Service, army, as well as to businesses in settlements.
G4S also provides security services to the detention and interrogation facilities of the “Russian Compound” in Jerusalem and the “al-Jalameh” detention centre next to Haifa where Palestinian teens are interrogated.
In their latest report UN Committee on the Rights of the Child confirms that “ Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,”
In March 2013 the European Parliament issued a resolution condemning Israel for using torture and calling for a fact-finding mission to investigate Israeli prisons. But at the same time the EU is in fact condoning G4S’ policy to profit from human rights abuses against Palestinians by continuing to award contracts to G4S. G4S renewed its contract with the European Parliament for its Luxembourg properties, in a deal worth 48 million euros- 15.9 million euros more than the 2008-2012 tender.In January last year – just before the third armed hold-up in the parliament – the European
Commission awarded its security work to G4S for 237.8 million euros, ending its previous arrangement with Securitas.
They therefore called the EU institutions to end their cooperation with G4S and actually start an independent investigation towards this corporation.
International solidarity with French BDS activists facing repression
June 26 2013 – As more than 150 Palestine solidarity and social justice organizations from across the world, we stand in solidarity with all of the French campaigners for Palestinian rights facing legal action and repression for participating in demonstrations calling for a boycott of Israel.
French campaigners have faced criminal charges for their solidarity activity since 2009. Despite a previous ruling that advocating boycott is not illegal and should be permitted as part of the right to freedom of speech, three activists were brought to trial earlier this month in Perpignan, seven more will attend court on June 27 in Alencon and further trials will take place later this year.
In all of these cases, campaigners have been charged with “incitement, provocation to discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or group of persons, due to their ethnicity, race, religion or nation” following their participation in actions at supermarkets calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.
This misuse of anti-discrimination law is part of a wider attack on solidarity with the Palestinian people. French pro-Israel organizations are plaintiffs in many of the cases against boycott activists and have successfully pressured the French government to support repression of solidarity activity. In 2010, then justice minister Michèle Alliot Marie ordered prosecutors to press charges against boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists. Police regularly demand the names and addresses of those present at protests calling for a boycott of Israel and Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was deployed to stop protests at a basketball match involving an Israeli team that took place in France.
Alarmed by the growth of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the BDS movement in particular, Israel and leading Israeli think tanks have made clear their desire to sabotage and disrupt solidarity activism. Senior Israeli foreign ministry official Amir Sagie recently admitted that the Israeli government has been “investing heavily” in legal warfare against BDS in France and other European countries.
To Bernard, Jeanne, Yamina, Alain, Chantal, Christine Francis, Jo, Nicole and Pierre, to all those facing criminal charges and the whole of the French movement: we stand with you.
While we cannot be with you as you demonstrate outside the court at the start of the next trial on June 27, we express our full support for your efforts to build solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of state repression. We cannot allow Israel to export its attacks on basic freedoms to Europe or anywhere else.
Inspired by the steadfastness of the Palestinian struggle and the resolve of the French BDS movement, we pledge to continue to work with the BDS movement in France to support their efforts to resist oppression and to continue to build the international movement for a boycott of Israel.
Australians for Palestine, Australia
Association Belgo-Palestinienne, Belgium
Palestina Solidariteit, Belgium
Palestina Solidariteit vzw, Belgium
Vrede vzw, Belgium
Anel – Assembleia Nacional dos Estudantes – Livre!, Brazil
Ciranda Internacional de Comunicação Compartilhada, Brazil
CSP-Conlutas – Central Sindical e Popular, Brazil
CUT – Central Única dos Trabalhadores, Brazil
Frente em Defesa do Povo Palestino-SP, Brazil
Front of solidarity with the Palestinian people – Sao Paulo, Brazil
MML – Movimento Mulheres em Luta, Brazil
PSTU – Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado, Brazil
Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de São José dos Campos, Brazil
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver, Canada
Canada Palestine Association, Canada
Independent Jewish Voices, Canada
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Canada
Seriously Free Speech Committee – Vancouver, Canada
ICAHD Finland, Finland
BDS Berlin, Germany
Greek Association for Solidarity with the Palestinian People INTIFADA, Greece
InCACBI (Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel), India
Palestine Solidarity Committee in India, India
Irish Friends of Palestine, Derry, Ireland
Derry Stop the War Coalition, Ireland
Derry to Gaza, Ireland
Gaza Action Ireland, Ireland
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Ireland
Peace & Neutrality Alliance, Ireland
Trade Union Friends of Palestine (ICTU), Ireland
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, Israel
100 idee per la pace, Siena, Italy
BDS Italia, Italy
BDS Milano, Italy
BDS Milano, Italy
BDS Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Castelli per la Palestina, Rocca Priora, Italy
Comitato BDS Campania, Napoli, Italia
Coordinamento Campagna BDS Bologna, Italy
Forum Palestina, Italy
Gruppo BDS Roma, Italy
ISM, – Milano, Italy
Parallelo Palestina, Italy
Rete di Solidarietà con la Palestina – Milano, Italy
Rete Romana di Solidarietà al Popolo Palestinese, Italy
U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice – Rome, Italy
Un Ponte per, Italy
Artists Against Occupation, Japan
Palestine Forum Japan, Japan
Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Netherlands Palestine Committee (NPK), Netherlands
Service and Research Centre for Palestine (docP), Netherlands
The Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine, Norway
BDS Maroc, Morocco
Alternative Information Center (AIC), Palestine
Lajee Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Palestine
Polish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Poland
Edinburgh Students For Justice in Palestine, Scotland
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Scotland
We are all Hana Shalabi, Scotland
Students for Palestinian Rights – Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland
BDS South Africa, South Africa
Palestine Peace & Solidarity in South Korea, South Korea
Al-Quds Málaga, Málaga, Spain
Asociacion Al Quds, Spain
Asociación de Amistad Palestina-Granada Turab, Spain
Comité de Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe, Spain
Junts Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins,, Spain
La Comuna Presxs del franquismo/ Fed.Castilla y Leon, Burgos, España
Plataforma solidaria con Palestina en Valladolid, Spain
Red Solidaria contra la ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP), Spain
Taula per Palestina, Palma, Spain
BDS Schweiz, Switzerland
BDS Zürich Switzerland, Switzerland
Gerechtigkeit und Frieden in Palästina Bern, Switzerland
BDS Thailand, Thailand
All African Women’s Group, London, UK
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP), UK
Boycott Israel Network, UK
Global Women’s Strike, London, UK
ICAHD UK, UK
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK, UK
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, UK
Legal Action for Women, London, UK
Liverpool Friends of Palestine, UK
Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
Payday Men’s Network, UK
Portsmouth & South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
Queer Strike, UK
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
War on Want, UK
Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike, UK
14 Friends of Palestine, Marin, US
Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, US
Al-Nakba Awareness Project, Oregon, US
American Iranian Friendship Comte (AIFC), New York, US
Bay Area Women in Black, US
Bard Students for Justice in the Middle East, Annandale-on-Hudson, US
BDS Los Angeles, US
Boulder Palestine Film Festival, US
Boulder WILPF, US
Chicago Faith Coalition for Middle East Policy, US
Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, US
Chico Palestine Action Group, US
CODEPINK Women for Peace, US
Colorado BDS Campaign, Colorado, US
Cornell SJP, US
Corvallis-Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Corvallis, Oregan, US
CU-Divest!, Colorado, US
Culture and Conflict Forum, US
Free Palestine Movement, California, US
Friends of Palestine Wisconsin, US
Friends of Sabeel-North America, US
Guilford College Students for Justice in Palestine, US
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace, US
Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights, Texas, US
International Solidarity Movement – Northern California, US
Israel Palestine Task Force CA/NV Conference United Methodist Church, US
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, US
Justice for Palestinians, California, US
Labor for Palestine, US
Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Oredan, US
National Lawyers Guild – Free Palestine Subcommittee, US
National Lawyers Guild – International Committee, US
NorCal Friends of Sabeel, US
North Coast Coalition for Palestine, US
North Texas BDS, US
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Wisconsin, US
Minnesota Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Minneapolis, US
Middle East Peace Now, Minneapolis, US
Minnesota Anti-War Cpmmittee, Minneapolis, US
Palestine Israel Action Group (PIAG), US
Palestine Solidarity Group – Chicago, US
Palestine Study Group Peace and Social Justice Center, US
Palestine-Israel Working Group of Nevada County, US
Payday Men’s Network US, US
Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas, US
Peace Panel Project, US
Salaam Shalom, North Carolina, US
St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, US
Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College, US
Students for Justice in Palestine at Hunter College, US
Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College, US
Tiffin Area Pax Christi, US
Tucson Women In Black, US
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility United Church of Christ, Tennessee, USA
University of Denver Students for Justice in Palestine, US
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, US
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, US
Vancouver for Peace, US
Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, Vermont, US
WESPAC Foundation, New York, US
WI Middle East Lobby Group, US
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
The unique model of apartheid, colonisation and military occupation that Israel imposes on the Palestinians, along with myriad violations of international law, have made Palestine the moral cause of a generation. Yet many people continue to ask, ‘what can we do?’
Generation Palestine helps to answer this question by bringing together Palestinian and international activists in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The movement aims to pressure Israel until it complies with International Law, mirroring the model that was successfully utilised against South African apartheid.
Featuring: KALI AKUNO, NIDAL AL-AZZA, IAIN BANKS, OMAR BARGHOUTI, RAMZY BAROUD, PROFESSOR RICHARD FALK ARCHBISHOP ATALLAH HANNA, SHIR HEVER, HAZEM JAMJOUM, RONNIE KASRILS, RIFAT ODEH KASSIS, AYESHA KIDWAI, PAUL LAVERTY, KEN LOACH, EAMONN MCCANN, MICK NAPIER, ADRI NIEUWHOF, REBECCA O’BRIEN, ILAN PAPPE, PRABIR PURKAYASTHA, DAVID RANDALL, RAJI SOURANI, ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU, RAFEEF ZIADAH.
‘The BDS movement is the most enlightened, moral, fearless and dynamic blow for freedom I have known for many years. I believe it will be a vital factor in the liberation of Palestine. The inspiring voices in this book will help achieve that goal.’
JOHN PILGER, journalist and filmmaker
‘When governments cannot be relied upon to defend humanity, it is the role of us, the people, to lead the struggle for justice. Generation Palestine is essential reading for all who believe in changing this world for the better. Never again should we ask ‘What can we do?’ This excellent book provides us with the answers.’
STEìPHANE HESSEL, diplomat, writer, concentration camp survivor, and former French resistance fighter
‘Reading this book, talking about it and acting upon its ideas is a further political act against an injustice that has lasted a life-time and which we must put an end to’
JOHN BERGER, author of Ways Of Seeing (1972)
‘This book tells the story of the BDS campaign, designed to secure justice for Palestinian people by mobilising civil-society to apply pressure on Israel. It describes the injustices that have prompted it and the measures taken in its pursuance.
JOHN DUGARD, Professor of International Law and former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
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