High street companies accused of complicity in Israeli war crimes

A Palestinian carries a sack of flour on his shoulder as he receives food supplies from the United Nations in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip July 4, 2006. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)

High street names such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Connex and Caterpillar are implicated in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, according to a new report on corporate complicity in the Occupation of Palestine from campaigns group War on Want.

The report, Profiting from the Occupation, details the extent of the humanitarian crisis currently facing Palestinians as a result of Israel’s intensified operations against them, and examines the role which companies have played in supporting the Occupation. The report finds that:

Train operator Connex is constructing a light rail system which will link illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem to the Israeli side of the city, slicing across occupied Palestinian territory and threatening any final agreement on the status of the city;

Supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose stock wines, snacks and other goods which are produced in illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank and Golan Heights but sold as ‘Made in Israel’;

Construction companies such as Caterpillar, Volvo and Daewoo supply bulldozers which are used by the Israeli army in the construction of its illegal Separation Wall, as well as in the demolition of Palestinian homes.

Israel’s actions have been identified as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as being in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Yet the UK has done nothing to bring Israel to account for its actions, or to stop British companies from supporting the Occupation.

Louise Richards, Chief Executive of War on Want, said: “Aiding and abetting a crime is itself a crime when it comes to individuals, but corporations are free to make money out of extreme violations of international law. Familiar high street companies are actively supporting Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, despite the terrible suffering this is causing. Companies must no longer be allowed to profit from the misery of the Palestinian people.”

War on Want will hold a public conference to launch the report on Sunday 9 July 2006, which will be addressed by Palestinian presidential candidate and MP Mustafa Barghouti, Nobel peace prize nominee Jeff Halper and Elizabeth Corrie, cousin of murdered US peace activist Rachel Corrie. Full details of the conference are at www.waronwant.org/events.

War on Want’s Report, Profiting from the Occupation: Corporate Complicity in Israel’s Occupation of Palestine is available on-line at www.waronwant.org or from the office on ++ 44 207 549 0555. The report will be launched at a conference on Sunday 9 July in London. War on Want is a UK-based international development charity supporting grassroots organisations across the Third World and campaigning against the root causes of global poverty, including the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.

Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Boycotts and Divestment News
  • Profiting from the Occupation: The corporate interests fuelling conflict in Palestine, Nick Dearden, War on Want (6 July 2006)
  • War on Want