Activists hang up on Motorola

In March of this year, the US Campaign to End the Israeli occupation launched its newest corporate accountability campaign: “Hang Up on Motorola.” Motorola Incorporated and its fully owned subsidiary Motorola Israel benefit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Present in Israel since 1964, Motorola supplies the Israeli army with equipment. The campaign was launched because the company failed to respond to the concerns of US activists. Therefore, the campaign demands that Motorola ends its production and sales of all products to Israel that support the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, now in its 41st year.

United Methodist Church

In June 2007 the New England United Methodist Church issued a report on companies, including Motorola, which were identified as supporting the Israeli occupation. On the basis of well-documented research, the United Methodist Church came to the conclusion that Motorola supports the Israeli occupation of Palestine in a significant way. The report states that “Motorola is engaged in a $93 million project to provide radar systems for enhancing security at illegal West Bank settlements deep inside Palestinian territory. Motorola also has a $90 million contract to provide the Israeli army with an advanced ‘Mountain Rose’ cell phone communications system. Its wholly owned subsidiary in Israel is contracted to develop encrypted wireless communications featuring vehicle-mounted antenna that will enable military use in the occupied territories and other remote areas. Motorola has operations in the Jordan Valley on occupied land.”

The company received the concerns of the church in writing, and was given a defined period to respond. The response was taken into account and on the basis of the available information the United Methodist Church blacklisted Motorola as a company profiting from the Israeli occupation and called upon individuals, churches and investment managers in the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church (NEUMC) to divest.

Motorola fuses ignite Israeli bombs

Motorola is involved in the destructive actions of the Israeli army in Gaza, the West Bank and during the 2006 invasion of Lebanon. The information in the divestment report of NEUMC shows that Motorola supplies the Israeli army with different types of fuses for its highly explosive bombs, for example the 980 Low Altitude Proximity Fuse that is said to dramatically increase ammunition effectiveness against “soft and light targets.”

A second type, the 560 High Latitude Proximity Fuse is used for cluster and dispensing munitions that the Israeli army intensively used in Lebanon in 2006. Amnesty International urged the Israeli government on 29 January 2008 to hand over detailed maps and coordinates of the areas in south Lebanon into which its forces fired hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs. The cluster bombs are a serious threat to civilians, because the bombs that did not ignite alter the landscape into a minefield. To date, 40 persons have been killed and more than 250 injured by the cluster bombs dropped onto southern Lebanon during Israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006.

A third type of fuse, the 260A Impact Delay Fuse is designed to survive penetration into a hard target, like a concrete bunker. The fuse is used in so-called “general purpose” bombs.

Motorola’s response

While Motorola refused to react to the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the company might have felt that it might harm its image to ignore the Business and Human Rights Center. The Center asked the company to respond to the allegations by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation that Motorola practices in Israel are in breach of international human rights standards. The External Communications Department of the company responded that Motorola “has a comprehensive set of policies and procedures that address human rights, which are designed to ensure that its operations worldwide are conducted using the highest standards of integrity and ethical business conduct applied uniformly and consistently.” Motorola is currently reviewing its policies and Code of Business Conduct.

Motorola’s Code of Conduct states: “It would be wonderful if the right thing to do were always perfectly clear. If the ‘right thing’ is unclear or doing the right thing is difficult, remember our key beliefs. Does my action reflect Motorola’s key beliefs of integrity and respect? If you would not want your action to be reported in the media, it’s probably not the right thing to do.”

The Code of Conduct is clear, so we can be certain that Motorola willingly supplies the Israeli army with fuses for bombs and communication equipment, and willingly delivers radar detection equipment that is used to protect Israel’s illegal wall and Jewish-only settlements, both of which built on confiscated Palestinian land. Therefore, we can conclude that Motorola has no problem to link its name to Israel’s violations of international law.

Adri Nieuwhof is an independent consultant and human rights advocate.

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