Research undertaken by United Civilians for Peace, a Dutch NGO-platform dedicated to promoting justice and peace in Palestine and Israel, has revealed that Dutch company Lima Holding BV, in Spijkenisse, is involved in the construction of the illegal Wall that Israel is building in the occupied West Bank.
Lima Holding, which operates in Israel under the Riwal brand name, provides mobile cranes for putting into place the up to 9-metres high concrete elements that make up the Wall. The exact scope and nature of the company’s involvement in the construction of the Wall is yet to be determined.
The company’s role in the construction of the Wall became known after a report by Dutch television’s Netwerk, which showed one of Lima Holding’s cranes building the Wall and carrying the Riwal logo. A Dutch journalist of RTV Rijnmond recognised the Riwal brand name as belonging to a company in Dordrecht, a city near Rotterdam. In Dordrecht, Riwal is the main sponsor of soccer club FC Dordrecht.
The journalist of RTV Rijnmond did an item about the issue, for which he approached the Dutch company. In a statement, the company admitted its involvement in the building of the Wall and argued that the related activities were accepted and executed purely as a “commercial order”.
Following the item of RTV Rijnmond, Bert Koenders, foreign affairs spokesperson of the Dutch Labour party, asked Ben Bot, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, parliamentary questions. In one of his answers, Bot claimed that Lima Holding was in fact an Israeli company and that the Dutch Riwal company was not directly involved in the construction of the Wall. Remarkably, the Minister based this answer exclusively on information provided by the Dutch company.
To clarify the ownership of the company participating in the construction of the Wall, United Civilians for Peace approached research firm Profundo. With little effort, Profundo proved that Lima Holding is 100 per cent owned by two Dutch holding companies: D.Schalekamp Beheer BV and MDN Holding BV. Dick Schalekamp owns D.Schalekamp Beheer, while Doron Livnat, an Israeli businessman living in the Netherlands, owns MDN Holding.
Moreover, Schalekamp and Livnat are two of the three owners of Schalekamp Beheer BV, the holding company that runs the Riwal Group’s activities in countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark and France.
On 16 September, the research by United Civilians for Peace was made public through an article in Het Financieele Dagblad (the Dutch version of The Financial Times). Bert Koenders announced he would seek further clarification from the Dutch government.
Martin Siepermann is the lobby & campaign coordinator of United Civilians for Peace.