Two Corporate Watchers will be digging the corporate dirt in Palestine over the next few months. Corporate Watch has set up a new blog to track companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of and apartheid policies in Palestine. In addition to research blogs, the site also includes all Corporate Watch’s recent articles on Israel/Palestine.
Aims of our Palestine research
The Palestine solidarity movement has been growing steadily over the past few years, both in the UK and worldwide. Since 2004, the focus of this movement has been a Palestinian call, made by hundreds of Palestinian civil society organisations and all major Palestinian trade unions, for ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS). Campaigners around the world have engaged in diverse forms of solidarity action in response to this call. Corporate Watch’s research intends to strengthen and provide a resource for the growing BDS movement and the wider international Palestine solidarity movement.
1. Israeli companies: Since the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights in 1967, Israeli companies, hand in hand with the Israeli state, have exploited the Palestinian economy and workforce. Agricultural companies have set up farms on land expropriated from Palestinian communities and have crippled Palestinian agriculture, already decimated by the military occupation and closures and by flooding Palestinian markets with cheap Israeli goods. These companies have taken advantage of the EU-Israel Trade Agreement, despite restrictions on settlements benefitting from the agreement, to export large quantities of their produce to the European market. Israeli companies, often the same ones, have also benefitted from Israel’s apartheid policies against Syrian Arab residents of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.
2. International Corporations: Many international companies have taken the opportunity to profit from the suffering of the people of Palestine. Arms companies sell weapons to Israel in full knowledge of Israel’s ongoing war crimes; construction companies accept contracts for the building of illegal settlements; and multinationals open branches on illegal settlements. International supermarket chains sell settlement produce, often marketed as ‘organic’, on European supermarket shelves.
3. States: Several foreign governments plan to set up new industrial areas inside the West Bank on territories under Israeli military occupation. In the occupied Jordan Valley, for instance, the Japanese government plans to facilitate the setting up of industrial areas and ‘joint projects’ where Israeli and international companies will take advantage of the desperate Palestinian workforce. These projects will entail further entrenchment of the Israeli apartheid system through the development of settler roads linking the zone to 1948 Israel. The German, British and French governments have expressed interest in setting up similar industrial areas elsewhere in the West Bank. These zones will exploit Palestinian workers, whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the Israeli military occupation and who often have no choice but to work for settler companies for low wages and with no protection or right to unionise.
If you have any information on Israeli or international companies profiting from Israeli apartheid, or comments on our blog, please email Tom.