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Israel excluded from war games in Italy following protests http://t.co/asEMPRbEdk #StopArmingIsrael1 day 2 hours ago
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More Than 60,000 Signatories, Including Nobel Prize Laureates, Celebrities and Religious Organizations, Call For Military Embargo on Isra... — 1 week 3 days ago

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The Palestinian BDS National Committee website
Updated: 20 min 46 sec ago

Cairo donor conference: Palestinian civil society calls for public scrutiny of aid and zero complicity with Israeli violations of international law

Sun, 12/10/2014 - 7:02pm

Occupied Palestine, 12 October 2014 – As governments, aid agencies and the Palestinian Authority meet in Cairo to discuss Gaza reconstruction after Israel’s latest 51-day military assault last summer, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society unions, political parties and organisations, condemns in the strongest terms the UN-brokered reconstruction mechanism, which further entrenches Israel’s illegal blockade of 1.8 million Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip, allows Israel to reap financial benefits from its war crimes and, therefore, encourages their continuation.

Donor money pledges are no substitute for holding Israel accountable for its grave violations of international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, and achieving justice for the Palestinian victims. The BNC calls on donors, international agencies and NGOs to adopt a clear and ethically responsible policy of transparency and zero complicity in aid delivery. The BNC also reiterates its call for a comprehensive and legally-binding military embargo on Israel and has delivered a petition with this demand to the UN.[1]

In addition, we call on states to support the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent Investigation Commission into all violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed in Gaza and elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory since June, with the aim of bringing those responsible to justice.

Israel’s blockade and repeated military assaults against the occupied Gaza Strip are part and parcel of systematic Israeli efforts to permanently separate the tiny Gaza Strip from the West Bank and “get rid” of its large Palestinian population, most of them refugees of the 1948 Nakba with unresolved rights and claims in Israel. Under the pretense of its redeployment out of Gaza in 2005, Israel treats the occupied Gaza Strip as a “separate” and “hostile” entity, violates the territorial integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), and murders and imposes inhumane living conditions and collective punishment on Gaza’s Palestinian population. All of these are acts characteristic of a regime of colonialism and apartheid.

The BNC calls on UN agencies, the ICRC and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), which will once more deliver a large chunk of reconstruction aid to Gaza, to end their active and ongoing complicity with Israel’s blockade. For over seven years, the UN, the ICRC and INGOs have operated within the confines of Israel’s policy of separation and collective punishment, while issuing only token calls for the blockade to be lifted. With the recently brokered reconstruction mechanism for Gaza, the UN has even gone a step further, by willingly taking on the management of aspects of the blockade on behalf of Israel in complete disregard for its international law obligations.[2]

No effort was made in all these years to physically break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, as the ICRC sought to do, for instance, with the sea blockade of Misrata (Libya) in 2011. Aid actors have also failed to adopt a collective position of refusal to cooperate with Israeli illegal demands, although they are required to do so and have done so in other contexts in order to put pressure on governments engaged in limiting humanitarian space. Why is a double standard used when dealing with Israel’s grave violations of international law and the dire humanitarian situation that result from them, particularly in Gaza?

One example of the complicity of aid agencies is a recent multi-million dollar contract awarded by UNDP to Mifram LTD[3], an Israeli company that develops mobile steel military watchtowers and checkpoints used in the occupied West Bank by the Israeli military to limit Palestinian freedom of movement and enable the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land.

Another example is the recent agreement of aid actors to source cement for the reconstruction of Gaza from Nesher, an Israeli company that illegally quarries in the occupied West Bank[4] and supplies cement for the construction of settlements, the Wall and other associated illegal infrastructure, all in blatant violation of international law. Millions of dollars are expected to flow to Nesher for the reconstruction of the 18,000 homes Israel wantonly destroyed in Gaza, helping Israel profit from its war crimes.

The BNC calls for public scrutiny of aid. Like governments and private business, agencies delivering aid to Palestinians must be held accountable for their routine disregard of the principle of “do no harm” and the promotion of political agendas through their operations. Previous attempts by Palestinian civil society to raise these issues have largely fallen on deaf ears. Promises of “follow up” by senior UN officials were quietly brushed aside, with no serious effort for transparency or accountability.

The BNC urges the UN, ICRC and INGOs operating in the OPT to present in writing steps for non-recognition, aid or assistance to the maintenance of the illegal situation created by Israel. In particular, we call for rules of procurement, which exclude companies, Israeli or other, that are complicit in Israel’s serious violations of international law and abuses of Palestinian human rights in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza and which prevent Israeli profit or benefit from the humanitarian assistance process. We also call for a periodic mechanism of full disclosure of procurement contracts to the public, including Palestinian civil society.

[1] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/more-than-60000-signatories-including-nobel-prize-laureates-celebrities-and-religious-organizations-call-for-military-embargo-on-israel-ahead-of-gaza-donors-conference-12736

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/03/gaza-reconstruction-plan-un-israel-blockade

[3] http://procurement-notices.undp.org/view_awards.cfm (last accessed 12 October 2014)

[4] Israel is prohibited from exploiting the natural resources belonging to the OPT in a way that undermines their capital and results in economic benefits for Israeli citizens, including settlers, or for its national economy: http://www.alhaq.org/publications/publications-index/item/pillage-of-the-dead-sea-israel-s-unlawful-exploitation-of-natural-resources-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory

Nobel laureates and 60,000 others call for military embargo on Israel

Sun, 12/10/2014 - 9:15am

More Than 60,000 Signatories, Including Nobel Prize Laureates, Celebrities and Religious Organizations, Call For Military Embargo on Israel Ahead of Gaza Donors Conference

New York, NY – As international donors prepare to gather in Cairo on October 12 for a conference to rebuild Gaza after the devastation inflicted by Israel in its 51-day assault last summer, the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) delivered apetition signed by over 60,000 people including Nobel Laureates, artists and public intellectuals, to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling on the UN and governments around the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during the apartheid era.

The petition highlights the complicity of the United States, the European Union, and other countries, through their entrenched military trade agreements with Israel, in the crimes Israel is committing against the Palestinian people. It states: “By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), said: “The recent brutal Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, including 501 children, could only be carried out because of the impunity and military aid Israel is provided by the international community.”

“During the donor reconstruction conference on October 12, we want to remind governments of their complicity in Israel’s violations of international law, and their legal and moral responsibility for ending it,” Nawajaa added. “The governments of the world cannot provide Israel the military hardware it uses to destroy Palestinian lives and at the same time claim that they support Palestinian rights. It’s time for world leaders to put their money where their mouths are and to support nonviolent Palestinian-led efforts such as this to defend themselves and secure their rights.”

Signatories to the petition include Nobel Peace Laureates Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu,Adolfo Peres EsquivelJody WilliamsMairead MaguireRigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams; intellectuals and academics such as Noam ChomskyRashid KhalidiJudith Butler,Ilan Pappé, and David Palumbo-Liu; artists such as authors Alice Walker and Michael Ondaatje, musicians Roger WatersBrian Eno, and Boots Riley, and filmmakers Mira NairMike Leigh,Ken Loach, and John Pilger; and faith groups such as American Jews for a Just Peace, theBaptist Peace Fellowship of North America, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network, the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, the Quaker Palestine Israel Network, and the United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network. The call for an arms embargo against Israel is also supported by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International.

The Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) is the coordinating body for the growing global boycott and divestment initiatives being carried out by unions, faith-based organizations, civil society groups and academics and cultural workers against Israel until it ends its occupation and colonization of Palestine.

The petition was submitted on behalf of the BNC by three U.S.-based human rights organizations:Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of IsraelJewish Voice for Peace, andCODEPINK Women for Peace.

For more on the petition, visit: http://www.bdsmovement.net/stoparmingisrael.

###

Palestinian Civil Society Salutes California Dockworkers and Endorses their “Block-the-Boat” BDS Action

Sat, 11/10/2014 - 4:53pm

Occupied Palestine, 7 October 2014 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society that leads the global BDS movement for Palestinian rights, warmly salutes the Oakland, California dockworkers and community activists for their inspiring new victory against the Israeli container ship Zim on 27 September 2014.

As widely reported, community and trade union activists demonstrating against the recent Israeli massacre in Gaza have launched a 200-strong fresh picket at the Port of Oakland in California, preventing the Zim Shanghai from unloading its cargo.

Heeding Palestinian civil society’s call from Gaza for intensifying BDS actions against Israel and its complicit companies and institutions, the “Block the Boat” campaign activists gathered at the port to prevent the Zim from offloading. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU-Local 10) refused to unload the ship, citing “safety fears.”

The 5 September Call from Gaza, issued by the BNC and the main trade and professional unions, women’s associations and mass movements in Gaza, called for:

“Building effective direct action against Israel and Israeli companies, such as the inspiring Block the Boat actions that prevented Israeli ships from unloading in California and Seattle … .”

Abdulrahman Abu Nahel, BNC coordinator in Gaza, commented on this fresh victory saying, “This success will further boost the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s ability to hold Israel to account for its siege of Gaza and other crimes committed against the Palestinian people.”

“The dockworkers of ILWU-Local 10 and Oakland community activists are showing what effective, principled solidarity looks like. We deeply appreciate their ongoing support for our struggle for freedom, justice and equality,” added Abu Nahel.

BDS National Committee (BNC)

SodaStream: is BDS hitting where it hurts?

Sat, 11/10/2014 - 4:50pm

This morning, the Israeli-based fizz merchant SodaStream announced miserable preliminary financial results for the quarter ending September 30. Its stock promptly fell by over 20%, compounding losses over the last year. It’s now more than 70% off its all-time high set in July 2011, and the company may well put itself up for sale.

The company’s explanation of the glum performance was not much of an explanation at all. From their official release:

“We are very disappointed in our recent performance,” said Daniel Birnbaum, Chief Executive Officer of SodaStream. “Our U.S. business underperformed due to lower than expected demand for our soda makers and flavors which was the primary driver of the overall shortfall in the third quarter. While we were successful over the last few years in establishing a solid base of repeat users in the U.S., we have not succeeded in attracting new consumers to our home carbonation system at the rate we believe should be achieved. The third quarter results are a clear indication that we must alter our course and improve our execution across the board. We have already begun a strategic shift of the SodaStream brand towards health & wellness, primarily in the U.S., where we believe this message will resonate more strongly with consumers….”

In other words, sales were off because not enough people are buying the product.

Media reports (like this one) glossed the company’s explanation with the commonplace that Americans are losing their taste for soda. But SodaStream’s fizz-inducing system’s could be used to make bubbly water (0 calories) or effervescent fruit juices. You could probably even gas up your kale juice if you wanted to, which is beyond my imagining. According to the company’s nutrition information page, its flavors have about a third the calories of comparable sodas like Coke and Sprite. So if Americans are really losing their taste for the really sweet stuff, SodaStream should already be well-positioned as a possible alternative, not a victim of these changing preferences.

Not mentioned in either the company’s release or any news report I’ve seen: the global boycott of Israeli products. SodaStream is especially vulnerable, compared to a company based in Israel itself, because its major factory is in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. SodaStream has factories in Israel proper and elsewhere in the world, but its presence in the Occupied Territories make it particularly vulnerable to a boycott, a risk the company acknowledged in its most recent annual report.

Earlier in the year, Scarlett Johansson was relieved of her role as her role as an “ambassador” for Oxfam, because the charity believed “that businesses that operate in settlements further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support.” That move attracted global attention. It may be that Johansson’s star power did more to publicize the boycott than it did the company’s products.

So is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel costing a real-world company real money? SodaStream isn’t talking; a query to the firm’s publicist has gone unanswered, which is unusual behavior for a publicist who wants to talk. But it’s looking like the answer may well be yes.

http://lbo-news.com/2014/10/07/sodastream-is-bds-hitting-it-where-it-hurts/

Palestinian students call for Barclays boycott over Elbit investment

Thu, 09/10/2014 - 3:50pm

The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI), a group of Palestinian students in Gaza dedicated to the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign of Israel and the global justice movement for Palestinian justice and liberty, respectfully call on students around the world to stop banking with Barclays until Barclays divests from and ceases trading in shares in Elbit Systems, the major Israeli military company and drone manufacturer.

As Palestinians we suffer immeasurably from drone attacks. In 2012 and 2013, drones have killed more of us in Gaza than any other aircraft. As Palestinian Human Rights organisation Al-Mezan point out, drones are so deadly because “they are in the sky all the time, and they (the Israeli air force) don’t have to plan the attack properly beforehand.” Al Mezan found that, “When Israeli forces started to use drones, the number of people killed increased.”

Ayah Bashir, a Gaza-based BDS activist, said: “during the latest Israeli massacre in Gaza, we knew of the ground invasion even before the formal announcement. We heard the sounds of the drones getting louder in a crazy way, as if they were on steroids. In fact, their sound and volume became an indicator for us as to what is coming. Their buzzing sounds were piercing our ears creating cancers in our heads. They were hovering day and night without stopping and we wished they would cease for minutes so that we could sleep. It was funny that my sister and I tried helplessly using earplugs that never helped. At night and when Gaza sank into darkness without electricity, they were both the source of light illuminating the sky and death. They were in such incredibly large numbers that we used to joke saying that Israel is ordering one drone for each person in Gaza.”

“I used to contemplate these drones during the days of the attack. Sometimes, when I can’t stand being trapped inside the house, I would go to the roof and watch them while my father would demand that I come down because they always target us recalling the story of the three children from the Shuhaibar family in the Sabra neighbourhood of Gaza City who were killed while they were just playing on their roof.”

“I often dwell on the persisting and disturbing memories of the drones and think of what an airplane represents in any other place. There, they are a means of transport that facilitate people’s lives. Here, in Gaza, they are a constant source of danger as they may kill you if they identify you as a threat, so much easier and quicker than you could ever imagine.”

Despite Elbit drones being used to commit war crimes in Gaza, Barclays bank is currently the listed as the owner of 50,217 shares in Elbit worth more than $3m.

Barclays has tried to absolve itself of any responsibility by saying its shares in Elbit are held on behalf of clients and to “hedge exposure”. Yet Barclays is profiting from holding shares in Elbit on behalf of its clients and the practise of “hedging” is a form of financial investment. By trading and holding shares in Elbit Systems, Barclays is deeply complicit in the war crimes carried out in Gaza using Elbit’s equipment.

Since Barclays refuse to end this unethical practice investing and dealing in shares in Elbit despite the fact that their drones kill us, our children, our parents, our brothers, sisters and friends, we ask for students to close their student Barclays account and tell Barclays why.

We know that boycotts by students are very effective. During the South African apartheid era, Barclays owned a South African subsidiary bank that made loans to the apartheid government and purchased millions in South African defence bonds. In solidarity with those being oppressed, British students closed their Barclays student accounts and encouraged others to do so. This caused Barclays share of the student market to drop from 27% to 15%. Encouraged by the students’ action, local councils, teachers associations and charities followed suit until Barclays permanently closed its South African subsidiary, having lost millions of pounds in closed bank accounts.

We welcome the decision by the UK National Union of Students to adopt BDS and the wave of divestment campaigns that has swept across North America in the past year.

We are certain that a similar campaign by student activists to switch bank accounts away from Barclays will pressure Barclays to stop investing and trading in Elbit Systems.

Signed by:

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine

Why is the United Nations doing business with G4S, notorious prison supplier?

Sun, 05/10/2014 - 4:39pm

An Open Letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

In early September, I accompanied an Iraqi friend to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Amman, Jordan to help register him officially as a refugee. It was a bittersweet day: my friend had reached safety, but he was now registering as a stateless person. I trusted in the United Nations, particularly because of its solid stance against the occupation of Palestine and other human rights abuses, to protect the basic rights of my friend, a journalist, and his family: his young wife and their two delightful children.

Then I noticed something strange: there was a G4S logo on the gate attendant’s shirt. Because of my research on G4S for Friends of Sabeel—North America, I went on alert. I counted still more of the logos on the security cameras. With amazement, I began to realize that G4S was not only offering security for the United Nations office– G4S was also offering an usher-like service, moving people through lines, asking them to show IDs, and operating the entire interface between the UNHCR and the outside world.

G4S guards in Amman, Jordan at UNHCR location

Later, when I was walking to my home in another neighborhood of Amman, I saw two G4S security guards chatting in front of a nondescript building.

“What is this building?” I asked the guards. “UNDP” was the reply–the United Nations Development Program.

I soon asked a friend working in the United Nations what was going on, and was told that G4S does security at the Syrian refugee camps in Zaatari and Asraq, in Jordan, as well.

I’m shocked that the United Nations has contracts(pdf)with G4S services.

For those who don’t know, G4S is a British-based multinational security company notorious for supplying Israeli prisons with services and equipment, most notably prisons like Ofer that hold Palestinian children under military detention, often without charge and for lengthy periods.

It is a major contradiction– and frankly and embarrassment– that the United Nations, with its solid stance against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the generally commendable work the UN does, would contract with a company participating in violating the very protections the UN offers all people.

The terror and abuse suffered by Palestinian children in Israeli prisons has been well documented (pdf) by numerous organizations working for their protection. They do not receive the same rights as Israeli children. They may be held in solitary confinement, kicked, punched, stripped naked and forced to sign “confessions” for throwing stones at armored vehicles that are invading the children’s own land. They may be held without charge for long periods. They are political prisoners trained at a young age to fear the occupying power and to remain cowed by it.

Recently, G4S itself announced that it will end its Israeli prison contracts, mainly due to pressure from human rights groups.

But promises by multinational corporations are often empty ones. More importantly, the United Nations has a major contract with G4S now, this very moment. And now, this very moment, G4S also has a contract with Israel that makes it complicit in human rights violations against Palestinian children and their parents.

In order to sustain its reputation and moral authority, it is urgent that the United Nations cooperate with the international human rights movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine by agreeing not to renew any contracts with G4S.  Now, this very moment.

European investors continue to divest from Israeli apartheid

Fri, 03/10/2014 - 4:42pm

First the good news: the Palestinian-led campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel has made considerable progress.

Earlier this year, the Dutch pension fund PGGM announced that it had excluded five Israeli banks from its investment portfolio because they were financing Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank. Soon afterwards, it was reported that the Copenhagen-based Danske Bank had taken similar action against Hapoalim, a leading Israeli bank.

Other victories have received less publicity.

The Swedish fund KPA Pension, for example, has published an exclusion list on its website featuring a number of Israeli banks and telecommunications firms, the weapons manufacturer Elbit and Alstom, a French corporation that has been involved in building a light rail system linking up Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

KPA manages the pensions of more than a million people working in local government.

Sweden’s state pension fund AP7, meanwhile, has excluded the technology giant Hewlett-Packard because of its provision of surveillance technology to Israel, as well as Cemex, a Mexican company which has been quarrying in the West Bank in violation of international law.

Enabling war crimes

AP7 is not as clean as it would have us believe, however.

In August, the Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet complained that AP7 is continuing to invest in three Israeli banks. According to the paper, this was not compatible with the views of most Swedes, who wanted pension funds to respect ethical principles.

Similarly, the third largest Dutch pension fund ABP has a €51 million ($64 million) stake in three Israel banks: Leumi, Hapoalim and Mizrahi-Tefahot. All three of these banks finance settlements in the West Bank.

The construction of Israeli settlements breaches the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounts to war crimes.

ABP is under pressure to ditch these enablers of war crimes. Around 1.8 million people have signed a petition calling on it to do so.

Desmond Tutu, the South African archbishop, has written to ABP’s board contending that investing in Israeli institutions that lend to repressive and illegal projects “helps perpetuate the cycle of violence.”

“Respect the UN”

ABP could follow the example set by another Dutch pension fund, BPL. A listpublished by BPL for 2013 states that it has excluded the three aforementioned Israeli banks, along with Alstom and Veolia (the major player in the East Jerusalem tramway).

Gerard Roest, BPL’s chairman, told me that the decisions to exclude these firms were taken because the fund is guided by international standards on human rights. “The UN is a kind of world government and we should respect its decisions,” he said.

A UN fact finding mission on the Israeli occupation stated last year: “A number of banks provide mortgage loans for home buyers and special loans for building projects in settlements. They also provide financial services to businesses in settlements and, in some cases, are physically present there.”

Richard Falk, a former UN special rapporteur for the West Bank and Gaza, has warnedthat “financial institutions and real estate companies may be held criminally accountable for their involvement with illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.”

Pension funds that keep on investing in Israel can be sure that they will come under pressure from people of conscience throughout the world. Support for war crimes will result in damage to their reputations.

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/adri-nieuwhof/investing-israeli-settlements-continues-cycle-violence-desmond-tutu

Kuwait authorities exclude Veolia from $750m contract

Mon, 29/09/2014 - 1:13pm

En français

Occupied Palestine, 29 September 2014 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) warmly welcomes the decision by the Kuwait City Municipality exclude the French company Veolia from a huge solid waste management contract, valued at $750 million, citing the BNC appeal to that affect. Basing its decision on Veolia’s complicity in Israeli projects that violate international law, the municipality also decided to exclude Veolia from “all future projects.”

According to reliable sources in Kuwait, following this humiliating defeat, Veolia was compelled to withdraw from a tender for a project to expand the “Um Al-Haiman” waste water treatment station after qualifying for it. The project is valued at about $1.5 billion.

Even before this total loss of contracts worth $2.25B, Veolia had already lost or had to pull out of tenders worth approximately $24 billion, mainly in the UK, Sweden, Ireland and the U.S.

Veolia has been forced to admit that the campaign against it is having a major impact and recently announced that it intends to sell off its Israeli  water, waste, and energy businesses, having already sold off its share in companies that operate bus lines through illegal Israeli settlements. The campaign against Veolia shall continue until it ends all aspects of its participation in Israeli violations of international law, including by withdrawing from the Jerusalem Light Rail and the Tovlan landfill, two infrastructure projects for illegal Israeli settlements.

The BNC appealed a few months ago to Kuwait’s Government and parliament to exclude Veolia because of its involvement in a number of Israeli projects that blatantly violate international law and the Palestinian human rights, including the “Jerusalem Light Rail” that connects the illegal settlements in and around occupied Jerusalem with the city.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Executive Committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had also called upon Kuwait’s Government “to boycott and exclude Veolia” because of “complicity with the Israeli occupation in violating international humanitarian law, especially in occupied Jerusalem.”

Zaid Shuaibi, the BNC’s Arab Affairs Coordinator stated that, “Following Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza, it is incumbent upon all of us to intensify our BDS campaigns to hold accountable by further isolating it in all fields.”

Shuaibi added, “Complicit international corporations, such as Veolia, G4S and HP, that enable Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid must pay a price for profiting from Israel’s occupation and human rights violations. They must be excluded from public and private contracts in the Arab world as well as in every country that upholds international law and supports the pursuit of freedom, justice and equality.”

This latest BDS victory against Veolia in Kuwait is seen by observers as “the tip of the BDS iceberg” in the Arab world.

Danish stores halts sales of cosmetics from illegal settlements

Fri, 26/09/2014 - 4:36pm

– Danish stores take lotions from Israeli settlements off the shelves and retract orders. = – – – Minister advises against trade with settlements.

Until recently the skin care product AHAVA was available in the stores of Magasin and Salling, however, the products are now dropped based on the exposure made by DanWatch that AHAVA is produced in illegal settlements.

Matas, a health care store planning to sell AHAVA products from October this year, has also chosen to retract the order because of the DanWatch report.

AHAVA is still sold in cosmetics store Sephora.

The lotions, containing minerals and mud from the Dead Sea, are produced in the settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, located on the Israeli occupied West Bank.

The Danish minister of Trade and Development Cooperation, Mogens Jensen strongly advise businesses from engaging with Israeli settlements.

“The government has on several occasions publicly reminded that it advises against Danish citizens and businesses engaging in arrangements which could benefit Israeli settlements. This I appropriately remind of again”, Mogens Jensen states to Danish TV2.dk.

Warning from the EU

In July, the EU warned European businesses against the risks linked to having economical and financial activities in settlements, as well as the risk of a damaged reputation.

The Israeli occupation of Palestine and the associated Israeli settlements on the West Bank are illegal under international law, such as the 4th Geneva Convention.

It is not illegal to trade with businesses producing goods in occupied areas, but it is ethically wrong, states associated Professor on business ethics at Aarhus University, Erik Kloppenborg Madsen.

“In business ethics, it is an inadequate argument to say that it is not in itself illegal to trade goods from settlements. The trading with Israeli settlements is unethical because one indirectly supports activities, which are assessed as illegal by the international community”, he states.

Production in settlement

The stores purchase AHAVA products through a Danish importer, Trademade Cosmetics, who confirms to DanWatch that the production of the beauty products occurs in Mitzpe Shalem on the West Bank.

Mitzpe Shalem is located in the Jordan Valley close to the Dead Sea in the eastern part of the Israeli occupied West Bank.

However more and more Danish companies increasingly debate trading with products from settlements, Erik Kloppenborg Madsen tells:

“There is a clear tendency towards businesses and investors avoiding trading with or investing in products from settlements due to ethical concerns. Particularly the last few years, more companies and investors have become clearer in terms of the problem.”
COOP and Dansk Supermarked have earlier stated that they do not sell products, which have been produced in settlements on the Israeli occupied West Bank.

http://www.danwatch.dk/en/articles/danish-stores-halts-sales-cosmetics-illegal-settlements/513