Rights and Accountability 4 December 2012
Ikea publicly claims its Israeli store delivers to anyone regardless of race, religion or nationality. But new evidence shows that Ikea’s claim is false.
At my request, Iyad Misk, a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian living in the West Bank, called Ikea to ask about home delivery to the Palestinian village of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem.
In a 3 December email I was told the phone call was transferred to the store’s delivery company Moviley Dror. The company’s representative “Sholy” said that while delivery to the checkpoint near Bethlehem would be possible, Moviley Dror would not enter the Palestinian Authority areas because they are dangerous, Sholy claimed.
Sholy clarified that Moviley Dror would not pass the checkpoint, even if the area is classified as Area C under the Oslo accords (part of the village of Beit Sahour is in Area C). This covers over 60 percent of the West Bank, under full Israeli military control.
Around 150,000 Palestinians live in Area C, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In total, over 650,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied West Bank, including 300,000 in East Jerusalem, reported British newspaper The Guardian in July. It is obvious that the settlers represent a substantial market for Ikea.
Apartheid practices by Ikea delivery
The same day, I asked Who Profits (a research project from the Tel Aviv-based Coalition of Women for Peace) to also contact Ikea by phone and see what happened when they were asked to deliver to an Israeli settlement, also in the West Bank.
Who Profits said an email to me that it had asked Ikea about home delivery to the settlement of Beitar Ilit — in order to get to Beitar Ilit you also have to pass through checkpoints. Like the other settlements in the West Bank, Beitar Ilit is in Area C.
The call was also transferred to Moviley Dror. Asked if Moviley Dror delivers Ikea products to Beitar Ilit, the response was “yes.” Moviley Dror’s answer shows that Ikea passes through checkpoints to deliver its products to Israeli settlers in the West Bank but not to indigenous Palestinians in the West Bank.
Settlements illegal under international law
Following Israel’s announcement of the construction of 3,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank Friday, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Denmark and Spain summoned Israeli ambassadors to protest the decision, reports British newspaper The Guardian. In a press statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his grave concern and disappointment about Israel’s plan, reiterating that settlements are illegal under international law.
Despite international law’s clear position on the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, for years Ikea has been providing home delivery from its stores in Israeli to settler homes. Moreover, Ikea spokesperson Ulrika Englesson Sandman said in an email to me on 28 November that Ikea “does not want to exclude any individual or group of individuals from being an IKEA customer.”
In the past, the local transport company could not “deliver to areas controlled by Palestinian authorities.” The local transport company has “arranged for that home delivery of Ikea products can take place to people living in the areas controlled by Palestinian Authorities,” claimed Englesson Sandman.
She appears not to be living up to this commitment.
Dr. Jeff Handmaker, senior lecturer in law, human rights and development at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, confirmed in an email to me on 4 December 2012 that “the new information which has emerged confirms that Ikea and its delivery subcontractor are complicit in violations of international humanitarian law and human rights by actively supporting the transfer of Israelis to illegal settlements and reinforcing the closure of Palestinian areas”.
Moreover, “IKEA is complicit with Israeli apartheid by blatantly discriminating in favor of the Jewish-only settlers of the West Bank, ignoring the oppression of the majority Palestinian population who are unable to even shop in IKEA’s store, let alone have products delivered to them.”
- Israeli settlement enterprise
- Beit Sahour
- Dror transport
- Jeff Handmaker
- Beitar Ilit
- Who Profits
- Area C
- Moviley Dror
Et tu, Ikea ?
Permalink Carol Scheller replied on
I'm sorry to be adding Ikea to the list of stores I will not buy from until Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories ends.
Surely a Company like Ikea
Permalink pam hill replied on
Surely a Company like Ikea shouldnt be in politics and the aim is for them to be completely neutral surely ie so they deliver to EVERY area they serve, not simply to Isrealy settlements. Not shopping at ikea until the Isrealies do the right thing isnt helping Palestinians but getting ikea to do deliveries to everyone is more in their control and therefore acheiveable surely?
Can complicity in Israel's unlawful acts be seen as "neutral"?
Permalink Adri Nieuwhof replied on
Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal. The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids Israel - the occupier - to deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied West Bank.
By providing a delivery services to illegal settlements, Ikea is fully complicit with Israel’s unlawful acts. Morevoer, it contributes to creating a situation of normalcy in relation to the illegal settlements.
Ikea’s deliveries not only violate international law, but also Ikea’s code of conduct (“IWAY Standard” [PDF]). Ikea recognizes the fundamental principles of human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its code of conduct. It also says it adheres to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact 2000 - a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to operating in an ecologically and socially responsible manner. The first two principles state that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence, and make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Ikea is not practising “politics” when it lives up to its own principles. Serving the settlers is a choice to engage in Isael’s unlawful acts. How “neutral” is that?
Ikea, here we come after you.
Permalink ajamu chaminuka replied on
Ikea, here we come after you. For starters I will begin boycotting Ikea stores and will encourage others to do the same.
Shame on you Ikea for bieing
Permalink Help Gaza replied on
Shame on you Ikea for bieing discrimatative. Israel always get away with there crimes its time to bring them to justice
ikea practicing apartheid
Permalink jameala replied on
boycott ikea this cannot be allowed to happen only then will they change there policies.
Ikea is allowed to deliver to
Permalink Eugene replied on
Ikea is allowed to deliver to whomever it likes, and the company representative said he does not do it because it is too dangerous in some areas. Considering the amount of turmoil in the region, I don't think the claim is too far-fetched. Of course, you are all free to boycott, but most intelligent people will just think you are being foolish. It is funny to read stories about Ikea here, meanwhile not a single act of condemnation from this website concerning the acts of Hamas and Hezbollah against Israeli civilians!
Delivery to settlers
Permalink Adri Nieuwhof replied on
@Eugene Israeli settlers reside illegally in the occupied West Bank. Ikea should not want to be complicit in Israel’s unlawful settlement enterprise, because then it violates its code of conduct, the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (2000), UN Norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations (2003), OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2011), including guidance in respect of Weak Governance Zones, and the UN Global Compact (2000).
Ikea's policy re:delivery to Palestinians
Permalink Beverly Elkan replied on
In addition to commenting on this site, go to Ikea.com and scroll down to the icon for "How are we doing?" and send Ikea an e-mail telling them what you think. It's easy to do.
I sent an email to Ikea. I
Permalink kay replied on
I sent an email to Ikea. I wonder whether they'll respond or not, we'll see.