Links to JfJfP website postings and other important writings on G4S follow the background note below.
Here’s the latest news:Protests force G4S to give up West Bank contracts 21 April 2013
JfJfP background note (previously posted on the website as part of the protest at the G4S AGM on 7th June 2012):
Jews for Justice for Palestinians has a policy of support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against settlement products and companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. We have been actively involved in recent years in campaigns against companies in this category such as Ahava and Veolia, where we have made a solid input. Following evidence given by Who Profits (Coalition of Women for Peace) to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, in London in November 2010, which identified G4s, a British-Danish company, as profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, we decided to initiate work on this particular company.
The charge sheet against G4S is as follows:
- G4S provides security equipment and services to incarceration facilities holding Palestinian political prisoners inside Israel and in the occupied West Bank.
- G4S provides security services to businesses in the illegal Jewish Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
- G4S provides equipment and maintenance services to Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank.
- G4S has provided security systems for the Israeli Police headquarters in the occupied West Bank.
Jfjfp set up a small informal group, in which other interested parties were represented. We made some early headway in identifying that G4S was providing security services to the buildings of the European Parliament. This contract was due for renewal and we were able to join with MEPs in what would ultimately prove to be a successful campaign against the renewal of the contract. The publication of the outcome of the bid, rejecting G4s, came in April 2012, a few days before Palestine Prisoners Day on 17th April.
On Palestine Prisoners Day this year, representatives of Palestine Civil Society made the following call:
Emphasizing imprisonment as a critical component of Israel’s system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid practiced against the Palestinian people, we call for intensifying the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to target corporations profiting directly from the Israeli prison system. In particular, we call for action to be taken to hold to account G4S, the world’s largest international security corporation, which helps to maintain and profit from Israel’s prison system for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.
It is right that the prisoner issue has come to the fore, because that is where the behaviour of any oppressive regime is most evident. It is through the use of imprisonment that these regimes try to strangle the development of a political leadership that would challenge their hegemony. Israel is no different. Israel uses a British colonial instrument, administrative detention – internment on the basis of secret evidence without trial or release date – to keep Palestinian political prisoners behind bars, for years if necessary, in an attempt to break their will. It also uses solitary confinement and severely limits family visits. The prisoners are held in Israeli jails, in violation of article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, which forbids the transfer of those who are occupied to the territory of the Occupying Power. There is also compelling evidence of torture. Recently 1600 prisoners went on hunger strike which only ended months later when some of their demands were met. Children too are victims – kidnapped late at night, bound, blindfolded and brought before military courts prior to imprisonment. This is contrary to the UN convention on the rights of the child.
G4S supplies systems to many of the prisons which hold both adult and child prisoners, as well as security series in the occupied territories. It is also a company with tentacles throughout the public realm; the British Government and local authorities have contracted out housing for asylum seekers, prisons, welfare to work areas, large parts of the criminal justice system, security and transport in the health service and local authorities to G4S. All manner of private companies use G4S and they will be approached to consider alternative suppliers. This is despite the history of the UK Border Agency which had outsourced deportation to this company. Following the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker, while being restrained by G4S employees, the contract was withdrawn. But other contracts with G4S remain in place.
We are now part of a much large grouping of activists both here and abroad campaigning against this complicit company. This is involving us in the scrutiny of both government and local authority contracts for evidence of G4S involvement, in order to draw their attention to the role of G4S in Israel’s occupation and to encourage them to consider whether G4S is a fit company to provide services to the public. We shall also look carefully at companies with an ethical investment policy who invest in G4S, in order to encourage them to divest.
Links to JfJfP website postings and other important writings on G4S
6th January 2013: Security firm G4S confirms involvement in Israel’s occupation
2nd July 2012: Activists occupy the roof over G4S heads
28th June2012: G4S boasts of doing great business in Middle East
16th March 2011: Boycotting the occupation bites again
21 April 2013: Protests force G4S to give up West Bank contracts