Boris Johnson funder JCB aiding Israel’s crimes

This video shows Israeli occupation forces using a JCB digger to demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank’s Masafer Yatta area in September.

JCB is a British-based construction equipment manufacturer that helped fund the leadership campaign of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The video is part of the evidence in a case against JCB that aims to stop the company aiding and abetting Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.

According to the human rights group B’Tselem, 18 people, including eight children, were left homeless by the Israeli attack seen in the video.

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, the British charity bringing the case, says it has gathered “credible, clear and compelling video, photographic and written contemporaneous evidence” of the prolific use of JCB equipment in numerous Israeli demolitions and forced displacements of Palestinians, and in the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land – a war crime.

The group is filing the complaint with the OECD’s National Contact Point in the UK.

The OECD is a multilateral economic body that establishes international norms and standards.

The National Contact Point is a government body that handles grievances against companies that violate OECD guidelines for responsible business conduct.

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights is asking the body to find JCB in breach of its human rights obligations. It argues that by selling its products to Israel, JCB knowingly facilitates human rights violations.

The group says that JCB has not looked for ways “to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their business operations and products by virtue of the use of its machinery by Israeli authorities and private contractors, that it is linked to via a supply chain.”

The lawyers’ group is asking that JCB immediately suspend sales of equipment to Israel and establish a human rights policy as well as a mechanism to enforce it.

So far this year, Israeli occupation forces have demolished 585 structures in the West Bank, displacing nearly 900 people, according to data compiled by the UN humanitarian agency OCHA.

In the last decade, Israel has demolished more than 6,000 structures, forcibly displacing nearly 10,000 Palestinians and affecting more than 100,000 in other ways.

As recently as July, the UK government confirmed that Israeli demolitions in the occupied West Bank are “in all but the most exceptional of cases, contrary to international humanitarian law.”

Yet the British government – like the rest of the European Union – has taken no action to hold Israel accountable.

Notably, JCB donated to the Conservative Party leadership campaign of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson has promoted JCB’s products on the campaign trail for this week’s general election:

Johnson is running for re-election on a record of anti-Palestinian policies and promises.

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights says it is bringing the complaint now in part to draw attention to Khan al-Ahmar, a village near Jerusalem that faces Israeli demolition.

Israel’s high court last year gave its final blessing for the destruction of the homes of Khan al-Ahmar’s 200 residents but the demolition has been postponed under international pressure.

Israel said in June that it would go ahead with demolition some time after mid-December.

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.